Posted on June 21st, 2012 No comments
Recently, another tragedy involving an infant left in a hot car struck Louisville. Eight month old Lincoln Lindsay succumbed to the heat and died after being left in a car for hours when his father went to work. Police are ruling it an accident. Apparently, Lincoln’s dad forgot the child was strapped in his car seat when he went to work. Read about how leaving your child in a hot car can result in tragedy like Lincoln’s.
It’s easy to question how a parent can leave a child in a hot car all day long. Unfortunately, it’s an all too common occurrence. Experts say its common for parents to leave a child behind in cars. Numbers from Forget Me Not USA, an Oklahoma-based organization that raises awareness about the problem, said 532 children have died after being left in hot cars since 1998.
Kentucky had 18 hot car deaths from 1998 to 2011, according to the group’s website. It’s easy for a parent, who doesn’t normally have the child, to forget the child is in the car, or simply go about their daily routine without an awareness that the child has been left. Unfortunately, for children, especially infants who don’t talk or who may fall asleep in the car, the result is too often the tragic death of the child.
Fortunately, there is now an app for that. The First Years brand from TOMY International will send an alert if the child is not properly strapped in the car seat, the car seat is not properly installed, or if the child has been left in the car. Read about how the app is designed to prevent leaving your child in a hot car that can result in tragedy.
Remember during hot days to check the back seat of your car, especially, if you have young children or infant. If you don’t typically drive the child to daycare or some other caregiver, remember to be diligent especially on hot days. You don’t want to live with the tragedy that just befell Lincoln’s parents. Leaving your child in a hot car can result in tragedy, so be extra cautious when transporting your child during hot months.
Posted on June 6th, 2012 No comments
In a follow up to our earlier posted video on tougher licensing restrictions comes a CNBC article on laws needed to reduce the risks of death or serious injury to teen drivers. According to the article:
The statistics are sobering.
A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says states could substantially cut the number of deadly car crashes involving teen drivers if they put more restrictions on licensing teens.
Some examples from the IIHS:
-Delaying the age of licensing drivers by a year to 16 or 17 would cut fatal accidents 13 percent
-Not allowing teens to drive at night could lead to 20 percent drop in deadly crashes with teen drivers.
-Banning teenagers from driving with other teens in the car would reduce fatal car collisions by 21 percent.
The common theme in all these suggestions is limiting potential distractions for teens or potentially deadly scenarios until they have more experience behind the wheel.
“The longer parents wait for their teens to get their permit, the longer licensure is delayed, the lower the crash rates,” says Ann McCartt with the Insurance Institute.
The problem is that not all states are pushing tighter licensing restrictions. For example, in South Dakota the minimum age to get a driver’s license is 14 years, 3 months. There are probably some 14 year olds who can handle driving a car, but a lot more who lack the maturity needed behind the wheel.
When I look back at some of the stupid stuff I pulled while driving as a 16 year old, I shudder the memories. My guess is that most people (including lawmakers) feel the same way. It’s time they step up and realize they have the chance to dramatically cut teen driving accidents by passing tougher laws.
Posted on May 29th, 2012 No comments
MSNBC Business has a great article on the most dangerous states for car wreck fatalities. According to MSNBC:
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more Americans aged 5–34 die from motor vehicle crashes than from any other single cause. Despite this disturbing fact, a study released this week shows that states where fatalities caused by car accidents are very high are also states that are doing the least to prevent those accidents.
A CDC report identified the estimated lifetime costs incurred by the states as the result of auto fatalities in a single year, including medical expenses and lost economic productivity. These two costs exceeded $170 billion in the U.S. in 2005, the most recent year data are available.
With such high costs and, more importantly, loss of life, the question is whether there is anything states can do to prevent car accidents. The Trust for America’s Health found that nothing works better to prevent traffic deaths than seat belt use. According to a report released by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, six of the 10 states with the lowest seat belt usage rates also had the highest average auto fatality rates between 2007 and 2009.
The Trust for America’s Health report also identified four key policies labeled by the CDC as useful in improving traffic safety. The four include having a primary seat belt law (which allows police to stop and ticket unbuckled drivers without any other cause), a mandatory ignition interlock for all convicted drunken drivers, a mandatory motorcycle helmet law and requiring booster seats for children 8 years old and younger.
The top three offenders? Mississippi, Montana, and Alabama. You can read the rest of the article here.
Posted on April 18th, 2012 No comments
A professor from Cornell Law School has reviewed the empirical research related to tort reform and not surprisingly he found that the scare tactics of tort reform proponents are false. He also found that there was no runaway jury system awarding out of control verdicts. thepoptort.com has a great review of his findings. Guess what? Tort reform proponents are lying to you. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The US Chamber of Commerce isn’t a government agency and its sole purpose is to make money for its members, who aren’t people injured by negligence. Click on the link to read the full article here
Posted on January 11th, 2012 No comments
A new report from the National Transportation and Safety Board recommends that all states ban the use of cell phones while driving. This includes hands-free use of cell phones, through blue tooth devices.
“According to NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration], more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving. No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.”
While the agency does not have the power to enforce such a ban, it’s recommendations carry a huge amount of weight. Whether states are willing to enforce such a ban in today’s “anti-regulation climate” remains to be seen.
Other experts question whether the governments own studies support the claims the agency makes. Only recently, we reported on a study that called into question those statistics, believing they had been “overstated.” You can read about that report, here.
Furthermore, while an overwhelming amount of people tend to support such bans as “texting and driving”, the recommendation includes all cell phone use, including the use of hands free devices. Questions remain whether such a broad prohibition is as popular or even effective.
Would the ban of cell phone use while driving have the desired effect of preventing such distractions? It’s doubtful. Even though an overwhelming percent of Americans are in favor of “texting and driving” bans, almost half of adults and more than half of teenagers admit to reading or sending a text while driving. Making the behavior a violation of the law is no more likely to have an effect.
There is no doubt that “texting and driving” is a dangerous distraction that can lead to accidents. However, that doesn’t mean that the use of a cell phone, especially with a hands-free device, in all situations is an equally dangerous distraction. There simply is not a lot of information on just how distracting cell phone use is when compared to other distractions that are considered acceptable risks in operating a motor vehicle.
In fact, at least one study has concluded that its not the use of cell phones that cause accidents, but distracted drivers in general. CNet reported on a study back in 2010 that found distractions, not cell phones per se, were the cause of most car crashes. Experts noted that while cell phone use had exploded over the past several years, there has been no increase in the number of accidents. You can read the entire article, here.
Posted on December 13th, 2011 No comments
A new analysis of previous studies regarding crash risk due to cell phone use may have overestimated the risk a new report shows.
“In the new report, Richard A. Young of Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit finds that two influential studies on the subject might have overestimated the risk. The problem has to do with the studies’ methods. Both studies — a 1997 study from Canada, and one done in Australia in 2005 — were “case-crossover” studies. The researchers recruited people who had been in a crash, and then used their billing records to compare their cellphone use around the time of the crash with their cell use during the same time period the week before (called a “control window”).
But the issue with that is that people may not have been driving during that entire control window. Such “part-time” driving would necessarily cut the odds of having a crash (and possibly reduce people’s cell use) during the control window — and make it seem like cellphone use is a bigger crash risk than it is.
If that information were applied to the two earlier studies, Young estimates, the crash risk tied to cellphone use would have been statistically insignificant. That’s far lower than the studies’ original conclusions: that cellphone use while driving raises the risk of crashing four-fold.
But that doesn’t mean you should feel free to chat and text away at the wheel, according to Fernando Wilson, an assistant professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. A number of other studies, using designs other than case-crossover, have suggested that cellphone use — and particularly texting — is hazardous on the road, Wilson told Reuters Health.
“In wider policy, I don’t think this study is going to change the conversation about distracted driving,” Wilson said. “Most of the conventional thinking is that we need to do something to reduce it.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 450,000 Americans were injured in crashes linked to distracted driving in 2009. Another 5,500 were killed.”
You can read the entire article here.
Posted on December 5th, 2011 No comments
Subaru of America is recalling three of its car models and Honda Motor Corp. is recalling some models of motorcycles due to faulty brakes.
In some motorcycle model years from 2001-2012, a defect in the secondary master brake cylinder causes a drag that can lead to a crash or fire. Honda has reported 26 complaints. No indication on whether any injury crashes resulted. Read the MSN article here.
Posted on November 17th, 2011 No comments
New report shows that Hybrid cars on average are 25% safer than comparable gas powered cars. Weight appears to be the biggest factor, since Hybrids typically weigh more. Read the entire article, here.
Posted on November 9th, 2011 No comments
Problems continue for Toyota. Toyota recently announced the recall of 550,000 cars for steering defects. While no injuries have been associated with the defect, Toyota has received reports as far back as 2007. The defect makes it harder to steer.
Read the full article regarding the defect recall here
Posted on November 2nd, 2011 No comments
US News just reported on findings by the American Journal of Public Health that revealed that women who wore seatbelts were more likely then men who wore seatbelts to be injured in car wrecks. The report only looked at cars from 1998 to 2008, so newer cars may not provide the same results.
According to the report women were 47% m0re likely to be injured then men. However, men were still more likely to die in a crash. The reason? Experts believe that women’s smaller size makes them more vulnerable due to their seating position and interaction with the safety restraints.
While newer safety technology may or may not reduce these findings, the fact remains that both men and women will continue to be injured in car wrecks. The fact that cars are safer, doesn’t eliminate all injuries. That’s because the dynamics of car wrecks still involve an intolerable amount of stress to the human body. The human body simply is not designed to undergo impacts such as those in car wrecks.
Cars are a relatively recent industrial phenomenon. The fact that cars have drastically improved in both design and safety does not remove the fact that a collision causes significant stress and force to the human body. While seatbelts, headrests, and airbags have reduced the chance of the human body impacting hard stationary object in cars, they have not reduced the force at which the human body travels before it hits the restraint.
Safety features are a good thing and they continue to reduce the likelihood that someone in a car wreck will be seriously injured or killed. However, that does not necessarily mean that they prevent all injuries. Don’t be surprised if studies continue to show that injuries and deaths continue to occur in car wrecks no matter what safety features are involved. Unfortunately, for women who are generally smaller then men, their size and muscle build may make them more likely to be injured in a car wreck, even while wearing a seatbelt.