May 2011 Archives

May 31, 2011

Maryland Drivers Ranked Among the Worst Drivers in the U.S.

GMAC Insurance published the results of an annual National Driver's Test in May 2011 which ranked the state of Maryland 49th out of 51 states with the worst knowledge of the rules of the road. Maryland scored 73.3%. Hawaii was behind with 73% and the District of Columbia was ranked the worst. The state with the best results, of 82.9% was Kansas.

Maryland's test results for 2011 came as a surprise, seeing that the state ranked 20th in 2010 and 41st in the 2009 results. The 29 place plunge in this year results were only beaten by Alaska, which went from 10th to 40th place.

The GMAC Insurance Annual National Driver's Test polls 5130 drivers aged 16-65 nationwide. The test consists of 20 questions taken from each state's driver's license exam. The average results nationwide for 2011 improved from 76.2% to 77.9%.

The Chief Marketing Officer for GMAC, Mr. Scott Eckman, stated that drivers are forgetting some of the more basic rules of the road. Driver's are most commonly forgetting the distance a driver must keep between their vehicle and the one in front and also how to respond when a traffic light turns yellow just a vehicle reaches the intersection. The rule is to continue through the intersection, rather than braking abruptly. Only 15% of people answered the later question correctly.

May 17, 2011

To Prevent Hospital Infections the FDA is Proposing New Guidelines For Cleaning Medical Devices

Endoscopes.bmpThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing new guidelines for the cleaning of reusable medical equipment, which if not done properly, can cause infections at hospitals and other medical facilities and doctors offices.

The new guidelines would require manufacturers to provide detailed instructions on how to clean any medical device that will be reused on multiple patients, properly. The guidelines would also provide cleaning instructions of those devices for health care professionals.

These guidelines are being implemented because when these instruments are not cleaned and/or sterilized properly, they could carry bodily fluids and other materials from one patient to the next and therefore; cause infections. These infections can be life threatening and should be avoided, and with these new guidelines, they could potentially be avoided.

A report released by the FDA, from January 2007 to May 2010, they received 80 reports of inadequate cleaning of endoscopes and 28 reports of hospital acquired infections that were most likely spread by endoscopes. Endoscopes are small cameras that are inserted into the body. They are most commonly used in colonoscopy procedures, but can also be used on ears, nose and throat procedures.

The FDA has a public workshop scheduled for June 8 and 9th of this year, to discuss the draft guidelines with manufacturers, health care providers and other government agencies, after which, the FDA would draft a final guidance. Guidance are recommended procedures that are recognized as federal standards.

May 9, 2011

Cameras Being Placed on Maryland School Buses

School Bus.jpg
In a study conducted by the Maryland State Department of Education, in February 2011, there were 7,028 violations recorded during one single day, for drivers who illegally passed stopped school buses with flashing lights. The study was conducted on 65% of Maryland's bus drivers. 4,000 of these violators were oncoming drivers, who failed to stop. 2,665 drivers passed the buses from behind on the driver's side and 366 drivers passed the buses on the passenger side.

Violating the law in Maryland, currently has a fine of up to $1,000 and three points on your driving record, if a police officer stops you, after failing to stop at least 20 feet from the school bus that has the flashing red lights operating.

Therefore, a new legislation is being passed in Maryland, where cameras would be placed on the buses by county police and the department of education to catch these violators. The violators would be fined $250. No points would be added to ones driving record and it would not be considered a moving violation, but the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) could refuse to register or suspend the registration of vehicles in cases where the fines we unpaid.

May 2, 2011

Corrosion Risk Recall for the Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 in D.C. and Maryland

nissan-pathfinder-2002_1611.jpgA vehicles recall is in affect for Infiniti QX4 model vehicles manufactured between 1997 and 2003 and Nissan Pathfinders model vehicles manufactured between 1996 through 2004, sold in various states in the Northeast part of the United States, including the District of Columbia and Maryland. About 196,000 of these vehicles are being recalled due to potential steering problems as a result of corrosion from cold weather and the use of road salt to clear snow and ice from the roads. These are called "salt belt" states, which also include: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

A mix of water, salt and snow collected in the upper strut housing of these vehicles is causing corrosion and the corrosion is causing the strut housing to crack and separate from the inner hood ledge assembly. This is causing difficult in steering and the steering column could ultimately break, causing an inability to steer or control your vehicle. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating this problem since October of 2010 and has determined that 162,658 Nissan Pathfinders and 33,333 Infiniti QX4s are to be recalled.

Nissan Dealerships in the "salt belt" states will inspect and repair vehicles at no cost to the vehicle owner. Notifications will also be mailed to the owners no later than May 16, 2011. Nissan owners can call (800)647-7261 with any further questions or concerns.