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Baltimore Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Robots being developed that can perform soft tissue surgery

Maryland residents may aware of how the field of robotics is moving from repetitive task machines to artificial intelligence. While robots have long been used in manufacturing and other industries, they are now being combined with complex computer software to make life-and-death decisions. Today, artificial intelligence is being used to develop driverless cars and surgical tools.

Robots have already been used to help surgeons perform complicated procedures such as extracting hard-to-reach tumors and taking pictures of the inside of a patient's body. All of the current uses for robotic technology in medicine aid the physician without replacing the need for a human being. However, researchers say that they have now developed an autonomous robot that can perform soft tissue surgery by itself.

Driver-free vehicles will redefine insurance market

The advent of driverless cars on the roads of Maryland and other states will probably not completely eradicate traffic collisions. It could, however, change the way insurance and safety industries work to protect motorists and passengers. Some accidents, such as those caused by programming errors or software, may raise unique questions of who ought to be held accountable. New forms of insurance fraud could even place some of the responsibility for accidents on hackers who intentionally cause wrecks in order to win payouts.

Many of the dangers of self-driving vehicles remain unknown, which could make it harder to predict the technology's safety ramifications. Volvo says that by the year 2020, nobody will get hurt or die while riding in one of its vehicles, and Tesla claims it can already reduce accident incidents by 50 percent with its Autopilot system.

2 accidents in April with autonomous cars

Maryland motorists who are following the development of self-driving cars may be interested to learn that Google recorded two accidents in April. In both cases, they were minor and not the fault of the autonomous vehicles, and they did not result in any injuries.

In California, manufacturers of autonomous vehicles are required to report all accidents regarding their cars, although a similar requirement for cars with human drivers does not exist. In one accident, one of the Lexus vehicles was hit while it was not in motion, and a side mirror was damaged. In the other, a prototype was hit from behind while yielding to traffic by a car traveling under 10 mph.

Reduction in fatal accidents for Maryland truck drivers in 2014

Maryland motorists may be pleased to hear that the number of commercial trucks involved in fatal accidents dropped by 5 percent in 2014 from the preceding year. However, statistics complied by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that non-fatal injury truck accidents rose by 21 percent. According to the FMCSA, 20 percent of police-reported accidents involving trucks in that year resulted in one or more non-fatal injuries.

In response to the data, the American Trucking Associations has called for speed limiters on trucks carrying heavy loads. The ATA has long advocated for a 65 mph speed limit nationwide, and it has called on the Department of Transportation to create a formal rule limiting maximum truck speeds.

Crash on Maryland 31 proves fatal

Law enforcement officers with the Westminster Police Department are investigating a fatal wreck on Maryland 31. The accident, which claimed the life of a 74-year-old Westminster woman, took place on April 27 near Uniontown Road.

Sources report the accident involved three vehicles. A 31-year-old man driving a 2002 Saturn was reportedly heading northbound on Maryland 31 when he allegedly failed to slow for stopped traffic at a red light. Police say he then collided with a stopped Toyota Corolla being driven by a Westminster man. According to officers, the force of that collision caused the Saturn to then veer off into oncoming traffic, where his car then struck the 74-year-old woman's 2016 Dodge head-on.

Texting and driving is not the only cause of a distracted driver

Using a cellphone without a hands-free device and texting and driving are two activities that are often associated with accidents attributed to the negligence of a distracted driver. Along with many other states, Maryland has prohibited those practices. However, according to the National Safety Council, using a hands-free device may be just as dangerous.

Buying a car with the latest hands-free technology built into the vehicle might seem like a safe alternative to driving while holding a cellphone. A majority of motorists appear to believe it to be a safe way to talk on a cellphone, according to the NSC, but the real factor contributing to a distracted driver might be the conversation and not the phone.

Cancer diagnoses hampered by potential inaccuracies

Maryland patients may benefit from new technology that seeks to make up for inaccuracies in diagnostic processes. Although one in seven males suffer from prostate cancer, current techniques for diagnosing the disease commonly fail to catch it in time for effective treatment due to its lack of early symptoms. Annual prostate cancer screenings, often referred to as PSA tests, have also been known to result in false negatives in patients who actually have cancer.

Statistics say that prostate cancer claimed the lives of more than 27,000 men in the United States in 2015. To improve prognoses for suspected cancer sufferers, multiple startup firms have invested in diagnostic technologies known as liquid biopsies. Instead of using invasive tissue samples to hunt for cancer markers, these tools rely on the fact that cancer cells often release small quantities into the bloodstream.

Car crash injures 12 in Maryland

At least 12 people were injured in an accident involving multiple vehicles in Montgomery County on April 3. Four of the injured were children.

According to authorities, the incident took place on the northbound side of Interstate 270, between Routes 121 and 109 in the evening hours. The accident, which involved at least five vehicles, left one person trapped in a car and who had to be extricated by rescue workers. One woman suffered serious injuries. Seven other people, including the four children, were taken to various hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Large truck accident statistics

When a large truck is involved in a traffic collision in Maryland, occupants in other vehicles are much likelier to be killed than are people involved in passenger car accidents. Because of the inherent dangers of large trucks, the federal government has stringent regulations in place to reduce the risk of accidents. Despite those rules, far too many accidents involving large trucks happen every year.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4,168 large commercial vehicles, which includes buses, were involved in crashes that proved to be fatal in 2013. This was an increase of 3 percent over 2012.

Woman sues hospital over wrong site surgery

Many Maryland patients have been the unfortunate recipients of wrong-site surgeries and other types of surgical errors over the years. A recent case in New England has focused attention on this important issue.

A woman went into a hospital for the removal of a cancer-stricken rib in May 2015. At some point after she was put under anesthetic and prepared for surgery the medical personnel treating her became confused or misdirected in some fashion, and they removed the wrong rib. Although there is evidence that they realized their mistake quickly and tried to bring the woman back for further surgery immediately, the contention of the injured woman was that they were not forthcoming with information about what had occurred and lied to her in an attempt to conceal the error.

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