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Chattanooga Tennessee Legal Blog

Traffic deaths down in 2017 despite jump in fatal truck accidents

Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians had a somewhat safer year on the roads of Tennessee according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. After worrisome increases in traffic deaths nationwide in 2015 and 2016, fatalities went down by almost 2 percent in 2017. Drops in deadly passenger car, motorcycle or pedestrian accidents contributed to the improvement, but the number of deadly truck accidents actually went up, and urban areas have surpassed rural areas in traffic deaths.

Data collected by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 2017 showed a 5.8 percent increase in deaths arising from wrecks that involved SUVs or tractor-trailers. Deadly accidents involving large trucks that were not necessarily commercial vehicles jumped a significant 18.7 percent in 2017.

Gray divorce can lead to health issues

Many Tennessee estranged couples know that divorce can be extremely stressful for people of all ages. However, research suggests that ending a marriage can be especially hard on people at or over the age of 50, causing a number of physical and psychological issues.

Divorce among older Americans has doubled over the last three decades, with people between the ages of 50 and 64 being the most likely to part ways. Experts say there are many reasons behind this phenomenon, including an increased life expectancy for U.S. adults, financial autonomy for women and society's changing expectations of marriage.

Drivers' ed supplements and how they affect teen behavior

Tennessee residents with teenage children who have just learned to drive may be interested to know about a certain Baylor University study. Researchers focused on the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program, a supplemental drivers' education program, and its effect on teens' risk awareness and driving behavior.

Twenty-one teens participated in the program, some of them because a school administrator or court referred them to it for disciplinary action. The majority said in a questionnaire that they had called or texted behind the wheel between six and nine times in the previous 30 days.

Attorneys say prenups are on the rise

Millennials in Tennessee may be seeking prenuptial agreements in higher numbers than couples from previous generations. In the past, prenups were mostly associated with celebrities and other wealthy people, but in more recent years, that has changed. A survey by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers found that almost two-thirds of attorneys reported an increase in prenups over the last three years, and about half said more millennials were seeking them.

Prenuptial agreements can be a difficult subject to raise. However, it can be a way for couples to talk about finances and ensure that they are in agreement. Couples with a high net worth may have complex finances to deal with, but even couples with less money may benefit from a prenup. One significant issue for millennials is debt. Student loan debt in particular is a problem for some millennials, and a prenup can help ensure that neither has to take on the debts of the other.

How do I know if I should end my marriage?

For some couples, marriage seems to be a breeze. They may finish each other's thoughts or anticipate each other in a way that shows they are compatible and that they communicate well. Perhaps you are not so fortunate. Whether you have been married for decades or are relatively new at it, you may be growing weary of the situation, especially if the hard times outweigh the joy.

You may know couples who have remained together and worked out their differences, some couples who struggled unhappily all their lives, and others who cut their losses and filed for divorce. Which one will you be? How will you know when it is no longer reasonable to remain in your marriage?

Teen drivers more dangerous after getting their license

Tennessee residents with teen children know how important it is to supervise them before they go on to obtain their license. Parental supervision during the permit phase can have its limitations, though, according to a study from the National Institutes for Health. Researchers took 90 teen and 131 parent participants and analyzed driving performance from the time the teens obtained their learner's permit to one year after they received their license.

The point of the study was to measure the risk for crashes and near-misses with other vehicles. It turns out that this risk went up eight times from the last three months of having a permit to the first three months of having a license, despite the fact that unsafe behaviors like sharp turning and harsh braking went down.

Building a good co-parenting relationship after divorce

After parents in Tennessee get divorced, it can be difficult to figure out how they can build strong co-parenting relationships with their ex-spouses. It is possible for people to have good working relationships with their ex-spouses by keeping a number of different things in mind as they work proactively together.

Parents should start by making certain that everything that they do is focused on what is in their children's best interest. It is common for divorced parents to have trouble understanding how important it is to their children to have their other parent present in their lives. If the other parent is not reliable, it is better for a parent to allow the child to discover this on his or her own.

Divorce can be a period of major financial changes

There are a range of sudden financial changes that accompany divorce. Often, people in Tennessee find it more difficult to move past the financial aspects of the end of a marriage than the practical or even the emotional aspects. In fact, divorce is often the occasion for financial surprises that can change a person's perception of the financial health of the marriage or his or her plans for the future. One study interviewed 1,785 divorcing or divorced women and found that nearly half experienced major financial surprises.

For women who had been stay-at-home mothers or wives, returning to the workforce after divorce often came with its own financial shocks. Many experienced career setbacks as a result of years away from the job or were unable to garner the salaries they expected. In other cases, working women experienced a cut to their paychecks as a result of needing to obtain healthcare as a single person. For people who received spousal support after their divorces, transitioning away from reliance on these funds could be particularly challenging, especially as many reported that the payments ended more quickly than they anticipated.

Is driving drowsy really as dangerous as drunk driving?

Sleep deprivation seems to be a chronic, yet normal, state for many people these days. Getting a good night's sleep feels like a luxury to many people. Between family and work obligations, it can feel as though you will never catch up. In fact, you may have become so used to not getting enough sleep that you don't even realize just how tired you are.

If this sounds familiar, you aren't alone. What most people don't realize is that taking that sleep deficit behind the wheel creates a hazard for everyone on the road. In fact, some sources say that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Study analyzes effect of infotainment systems on driving

Tennessee drivers are likely aware that distracted driving is becoming more and more prevalent. From 2014 to 2017, the number of fatalities on America's roads went up by 10 percent, and distracted driving may be partly to blame for it. It should be kept in mind that public health officials have not definitively established that link.

AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety has just released a study, though, showing that built-in infotainment systems are especially distracting. Researchers from the University of Utah conducted an experiment where 64 participants drove in five different vehicles with infotainment systems. They were asked at certain points to use the systems, and at other points they were asked to run either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay: Interfaces that run off a smartphone.

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