August 2010 Archives

August 30, 2010

Drunk Driving On the Rise in MD, DC and VA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is spending over 13 Million on ads and teaming up with about 11,000 police agencies for Labor Day Weekend. It is reported by the government that there are about 17 million drunk drivers a year in the United States, much of which have deadly results.

David Strickland, Administrator for the NHTSA said, "We have got to go more to close the gap between believing that drunk driving is a threat and actively doing something about it."

The message in Virginia is clear: "Drunk Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest."
A government survey conducted in 2010 shows that 1 in 5 people admit driving just two hours after drinking, while a quarter of drunk drivers report drinking at least 3 times a week. The survey also shows that 1 in 10 people knowingly get into a vehicle with a drunk driver.

The Director of the Maryland Highway Safety Office, Mr. Vernon Betkey, said, "If we eliminated drunk driving on our highways, and also had 100 percent seatbelt usage, we would cut the amount of fatalities we have by one half."

August 23, 2010

Safety Belts Installed in Motorcoach Buses Traveling Between D.C. and N.Y.

Motorcoah Buses.jpgThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced today that they have proposed a rule that would require motorcoach buses to have lap/shoulder belts installed while traveling between Washington, D.C. and New York, in order to lessen the risk of riders being through about in the event of a crash.

Motorcoach buses are defined as; "intercity, tour, or commuter buses having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds that seats at least 16 passengers and has at least two rows of forward-facing seats behind the driver." according to Ray LaHood, Transportation Secretary of the NHTSA.

The rule would not include urban transit buses and large school buses. The NHTSA says that fewer crashes resulting in the ejection or fatality of passengers occurs less on urban buses. Small school buses (less than 10,000 pounds) will be required to have lap/shoulder belts beginning on January of 2011.

According to NHTSA officials, up to eight lives would be saved and 114 to 794 injuries prevented each year if the installment of lap/shoulder belts was implemented on motorcoach buses. Federal data shows that 19 motorcoach passengers are killed each year. The installation of the belts would reduce the risk to passengers by 77%. The NHTSA is committed to saving lives and making sure that travelers reach their destinations safely.
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This proposed rule is open for public comment for the next 90 days and would go into effect three years after the rule is passed.

August 11, 2010

Child Booster Seat Law In Maryland

Child Booster Seat.gifEffective June 30, 2008, the state of Maryland, put into effect a New Child Booster Seat Law, which requires all children in Maryland to ride in an approved child booster seat until the age of 8, reach a height of 4'9", or weigh over 65 pounds. This new law also requires that children between the ages of 8-16 be secured in seat belts. Also no child under the age of 16 is allowed to ride in the back of pickup trucks.

Booster seats are intended to provide a platform that lifts the child up off the vehicle seat in order to improve the fit of the child in the adult safety belt.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. The use of child booster seats for children ages 4-7 reduces the risk of injury from a car accident by 59% compared to using a seat belt without a booster seat.

Each year, an average of 500 children ages 4-7 die and thousands more are injured as a result of automobile accidents. According to the Partners for Child Passenger Safety, booster seats can substantially reduce the risk of death and injury to children through the age of 7. The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency's National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats states that only 25 % of children were properly secured in a booster seat.
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Here are some helpful ways to determine when a child is ready to move from a child booster seat to a regular seat, according to the Safety Belt Safe and Safe USA.:

- the child, seating flush against the back of the seat, can bend his/her knees over the seat edge comfortably;
- the should belt rests between the neck and shoulder when seated;
- the lap belt is across his/her lap, not riding up on the abdomen or down on his/her thighs, when seated;
- the child is mature enough to remain in the correct position for the duration of the ride.

The fine for violating the law is $25 in the state of Maryland. 17 states, including Maryland and the District of Columbia have implemented the new booster seat law.