Pregnant drivers and passengers face additional risks in a car or truck collision in Hollywood or their communities. There is of course the risk to the unborn child. In addition, the very safety systems designed to protect passengers can pose a risk. Airbags, for example, can place additional pressure over the abdomen while seat belts can cut into the stomach area, causing additional injury to a pregnant passenger. A new study, however, suggests that the risk of collisions itself may be higher for pregnant drivers.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reported that women in their second trimester of pregnancy had a higher rate of car accidents. According to researchers from the University of Toronto, female drivers who were in their second trimester of pregnancy were 42 percent more likely to need emergency room treatment for car accident-related injuries when compared with the same women before pregnancy.
Before pregnancy, the women had an average collision rate of 4.55 accidents per 1,000 individuals per year. According to researchers this is almost double the average crash rate of the population as a whole, although this may be due to the younger age of the women. By the second trimester of pregnancy, however, researchers found that the women had a car accident rate of 6.47 collisions per 1,000 individuals per year. Young men in the same age range had an even higher rate of accidents.
The study’s authors suggested that part of the reason for the increase in accident risk may be because about half of pregnant women report absentmindedness while pregnant, and this may contribute to distracted driving as well as accidents. Researchers also noted that women who are pregnant may be affected by stress, morning sickness, and fatigue, which can also affect driving.
Critics of the study noted that the study’s authors did not consider how often women were driving during the second trimester. If women were driving more often as they took care of doctor’s appointments and various errands in preparation for the birth, this could help explain the seeming increase in numbers. Researchers did note that following birth, car crash rates dropped for these women again. Since new mothers may be more fatigued due to taking care of an infant, it seems unlikely that these drivers would somehow be safer drivers than women who are in their second trimester.
Some critics of the study also noted that women who are pregnant are more likely to visit the ER after even a fender bender to check that the baby is fine, and this could explain the seeming jump in ER trips. Women who are not pregnant, in other words, may not see a need for a visit to an emergency room unless they were seriously injured.
Despite these criticisms, the fact is that all drivers should use extra caution on the road. Women who are expecting a baby may be especially vulnerable in a traffic collision in Hollywood or their community as a car accident could affect the health of their unborn child. Doctors recommend that avoiding a car crash in Hollywood and other communities begins with some basics, such as:
•Obeying traffic laws
•Driving only when well-rested and alert
•Avoiding multitasking when driving
•Wearing a seatbelt
If you have been injured in a car accident in South Florida, feel free to contact Flaxman Law Group at any time to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney.