Edwards & Kautz
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Paducah Legal Issues Blog

How car manufacturers are combating distracted driving

Kentucky residents may be interested in learning about the potential ramifications for automobile manufacturers if they add features to their vehicles to minimize distracted driving. Automobile manufacturers are exploring the use of software and artificial intelligence to address some of the issues connected to driving while distracted. These issues can include visual distractions that cause a driver to take their eyes off the road, manual distractions that lead to a driver taking their hands off of the wheel, and cognitive distractions that can interrupt a driver's focus.

The software that manufacturers are creating is designed to use real-time information gathered by cameras and other sensors to predict a driver's behavior. The automobile may be able to alert the driver about the potentially dangerous behavior they are engaging in and provide them with safety navigational commands. AI and visual AI are making it easier for automobile manufacturers to create an environment where they can identify new dangers caused by distracted driving and then provide the driver with specific alerts for that danger with the goal of reducing car accidents.

Some dementia caused by old TBIs, not Alzheimer's

Every year, millions of people in Kentucky and across the U.S. incur a traumatic brain injury. What some may not know is that TBIs are very often a factor in the later development of dementia. Sadly, many TBI-related dementia patients are misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer's disease. An estimated 40% of dementia cases are due to conditions other than Alzheimer's, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

For a long time, there was no clear way to tell apart TBI-related dementias and Alzheimer's, but a new study from UCLA may have discovered one. It's known that MRI scans can uncover subtle abnormalities in patients with Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders. Researchers, theorizing that MRIs may detect similar abnormalities in TBIs, had 40 TBI patients with memory loss undergo the scan.

The impact of unconscious bias in the courtroom

Kentucky residents may wonder if unconscious bias in the courtroom could affect judges. This was a question that arose when a protester reacting to a 'straight pride" parade led to a female defense lawyer being arrested for talking in court.

The parade was organized by individuals who feel that straight people represent an oppressed majority. There was some link between the speakers and far-right organizations. At the parade, there were more counter-protesters than protesters. The event was heavily monitored by law enforcement, and approximately three dozen individuals were arrested.

Not everyone who fails a breath test has been drinking

Police departments in Kentucky and around the country use breath-testing equipment to determine whether or not drivers are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. These devices use breath samples to determine an individual's blood alcohol concentration, but they do not always paint a complete picture. There are a number of medical conditions that can influence a person's BAC, and there is one that can lead to significantly elevated blood alcohol levels even when not a drop of alcohol has been consumed.

The condition is known as auto-brewery syndrome. Little is known about ABS, but doctors have determined that it manifests itself when carbohydrates are fermented by fungal or bacterial activity in the alimentary canal to produce alcohol. The causes of ABS are not fully understood, but the onset of the condition has been linked to antibiotic use. It is believed that antibiotics disrupt gut bacteria and create conditions in the digestive tract that allow ABS to thrive.

Workplace safety helps workers and companies

Food workers in Kentucky and throughout the country may face a variety of hazards in the workplace. These hazards can include being cut by knives, falling or being exposed to toxic chemicals. Those who work in other industries may also face some or all of these hazards on the job. However, the fact that keeping people safe is challenging is generally not an excuse to allow workers to get hurt.

Companies that have quality safety records tend to be proactive when it comes to preventing their employees from getting hurt. They generally have systems in place that identify hazards and reduce the probability that workers are exposed to them. Furthermore, companies that have quality safety records generally have owners and managers who believe that keeping people safe matters. For instance, they usually have no problem with workers who report hazards or who report accidents that have taken place.

Seeking guidance on ways to help keep an impaired driver at bay

While a collision can be dangerous under virtually any scenario, incidents involving the presence of impairment may run a greater risk of placing your health in jeopardy. Unfortunately, you cannot force other drivers to approach the concept of driving while impaired with the same level of caution as you.

As you likely place a high priority on protecting your well-being, you might be wondering about the steps you can take to reduce the odds of encountering such a potentially hazardous scenario. While predicting when and where you will cross paths with such negligence could prove nearly impossible, preparing for it might not be.

Risk for heart attack, stroke goes up with pesticide exposure

Kentucky residents should know that there is a link between pesticide exposure and certain medical conditions. From 1965 to 1999, the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program observed the incidence of heart attack and stroke among nearly 8,000 Japanese-American men on the island of Oahu. A new study has taken the data from this and combined it with OSHA data on the level of pesticides that the men were exposed to in order to determine a connection.

Men who were exposed to high pesticide levels were 45% more likely to suffer heart attack or stroke with the first 10 years of pesticide exposure being the riskiest. After that, the effects of the pesticides tapered off. After 34 years, researchers could not find any connection between pesticide exposure and the risk for heart attack and stroke, but this may be because aging became a more prominent factor.

An increasing number of Americans are getting busted

Kentucky residents may be interested in learning about the long-term effects that the increased arrest rate in the United States has on people's lives. It's estimated that a person who gets arrested at least once by the time they are 26 years old is going to make around $5,000 less per year than their counterpart who has never been arrested. If a person has been arrested multiple times by the age of 26, they will make around $8,000 less than someone who was not arrested by that age. This means that over the course of their life, a person who gets arrested by can lose between $180,000 and $275,000.

The challenges increase if a person is convicted of a crime. Their employment options are limited for a number of reasons. If a person spends time behind bars, they are not going to have the work experience or the work skills needed to attract the attention of some employers. Many employers opt to hire people who have clean records. Occupational licensing requirements, which are needed for around 25% of all jobs, require that a person have a clean record before they can apply.

Miners, gas workers at risk of hearing loss

Miners and oil and gas workers in Kentucky may be at a higher risk for hearing loss, especially if they are exposed to dangerous levels of noise. In some sectors of these industries, workers had up to a 30% chance of hearing loss while around one-quarter of other workers had some damage to their ability to hear. Exposure to dangerous noise levels as defined by OSHA regulations is common in the mining industry as well as in oil and gas extraction. Experts say that around 61% of all workers in these industries experience high noise levels; this risk can be exacerbated by the presence of chemicals also linked to a greater likelihood of hearing difficulties.

Among miners, around 24% of workers exposed to noise also had some level of hearing loss. This kind of workplace injury can develop over time due to continued occupational exposure to high noise levels. While workers in gravel and sand mining had the highest risk of hearing damage, with 36% suffering, other miners also faced serious problems. Around 31% of workers exposed to dangerous noise in uranium mining lost at least some of their hearing as did 28% of bituminous coal miners and 27% of iron ore miners. Even workers in support positions had a substantially higher risk of hearing damage.

Questioning jailhouse informants

When individuals living in Kentucky deal with the criminal justice system, they may mistakenly expect that their right to due process will protect them from being convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Poor police work, corrupt legal systems and badly handled evidence can result in an unjust conviction of an innocent person. One area of particular concern in recent years has been the use of so-called jailhouse informants, individuals who meet a suspect in jail or prison and then claim that the suspect confessed to a crime.

The use of these informants has long been criticized by criminal justice reform advocates because jailhouse informants may often have a powerful motive to fabricate their testimony. In some cases, jailhouse informants may be recruited by law enforcement agencies and be promised benefits for their testimony. These benefits might include shortened sentences, being moved to a less restrictive corrections facility or dropped charges. The Innocence Project, a public advocacy group that has used DNA evidence to exonerate many prisoners, notes that one in five of their exonerations involved jailhouse informant testimony.

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Edwards & Kautz

Edwards & Kautz
222 Walter Jetton Blvd
Paducah, KY 42003

Phone: 270-908-4914
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