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Chattanooga Tennessee Legal Blog

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.

The role of a home in post-divorce retirement assets

Whether or not to keep the home in a divorce may be a difficult decision for some people in Tennessee to make, especially since there are advantages and disadvantages to either choice. A study by the Center for Retirement Research found that on average, divorced women who remained single tended to have similar assets for retirement as never-married women despite the fact that people who divorce have a 5 percent higher chance of spending all their assets during retirement on average. The difference for women seems to be whether they get the home as an asset in a divorce.

However, financial advisers often counsel women to give up the home in a divorce, and there are good reasons for this advice. It is usually related to the cost of upkeep above and beyond the mortgage. These expenses may include repairs, property taxes, landscaping, maintenance and more. One financial expert says that it does not make sense for a person to keep the house unless it is possible to do so for five years or more. Keeping it for less time in order to increase the sense of family stability is generally a mistake.

FMCSA releases 2016 truck fatality data

The vast majority of fatal truck accidents in Tennessee and around the country are caused by passenger vehicle drivers or obstacles in the roadway according to the latest Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The federal safety agency's figures reveal that 73 percent of the fatal truck and bus accidents that took place in 2016 were caused by vehicles, people or animals that were either in the truck or bus's lane or strayed into it.

According to the FMCSA report, 4,074 trucks were involved in accidents that claimed 4,317 lives in 2016. Truck and bus accident fatalities fell by 34 percent between 2005 and 2009, but they have since risen by a sobering 28 percent. While the number of large trucks involved in deadly crashes rose by 3 percent in 2016 according to the FMCSA figures, the fatal accident rate per 100 million miles traveled remained the same.

Divorce and paying for college

Tennessee parents who are getting a divorce should be aware of how the process can impact them financially. If they have financial plans in place to send their children to college, they should give particular consideration to how the divorce may affect those plans. It will take careful strategizing to make sure that they are able to contribute financially to their children's college education after a divorce.

During and after a divorce, parents may be working with less money than they are used to, which can affect any existing plans for addressing college expenses. College costs, which have been increasing by almost three percent annually and include fees, tuition and room and board, averaged at $46,950 during the 2017 - 2018 school year at a private, four-year college. For a public, four-year school in the state in which a child resides, the cost was $20,770.

Should you file a lawsuit after a drunk driving accident?

Tennessee readers know drunk driving is an irresponsible and completely preventable type of negligent and reckless driving. There is no excuse for getting behind the wheel while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. Drunk driving can greatly increase the chance of a serious car accident.

If you suffered because of a drunk driving accident, you may know you have grounds to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. You have the right to pursue legal recourse for your injuries and financial losses, as well as hold the liable driver accountable for your pain and suffering. 

The importance of prenups

When couples in Tennessee get engaged, they do so with the intention of being married for life. Unfortunately, things don't always work out, and a marriage may end in divorce. This is always a difficult time, but the process of unraveling marital finances can be even more complex when one or both spouses come from a wealthy family.

At the time of a divorce, both partners and their attorneys will have to consider a number of factors when determining things like division of assets and support payments. If one partner has significant assets, he or she may be expected to pay ongoing spousal support or, in some cases, may not be able to receive a favorable divorce settlement.

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