April 2012 Archives

April 19, 2012

NHTSA Proposal for Override Brake Systems Implementation

brake pedals.jpgOn April 12, 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a 98 page proposal to upgrade the current safety standards of vehicles by implementing brake-override systems in all vehicles. The proposal is aimed at preventing runaway car crashes. Federal safety administrators propose that all new cars and trucks have brake-throttle override systems. This means that a vehicles brake system would work even if the gas pedal is stuck while the driver is trying to brake (ie: sticky pedals or pedal entrapment issues), therefore; minimizing the risk of driers losing control of their vehicles in emergency situations. A perfect example of this problem is the Toyota's unintentional acceleration problems from 2009 and 2010, where Toyota vehicles were accelerating and the drivers could do nothing to stop the vehicle and therefore crashes occurred and people were injured. As a result of the acceleration problem of certain Toyota vehicles, a recall of over 10 million vehicles went into effect. The NHTSA brake-override proposal would stop that from happening ever again.

If passed, the proposed rule would go into effect September 1, 2014, but would exclude vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds. One of the important issues is that if this rule goes into effect, it would cost little to implement, considering that most new vehicles have the software already. Toyota, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Group LLC already have the brake override systems in all their vehicles since 2011.

April 10, 2012

Women Drivers More Dangerous Behind the Wheel

In research obtained by scientists at the University of Michigan who analyzed 6.5 million automobile crashes between 1998 and 2007, it was determined that women are more likely to be involved in automobile accidents than men. In this study, it was found that women were involved in 68.1% of all crashes, even though men drive 60% of the time and women 40%.

The research also uncovered that women have a more difficult time at crossroads, T-junctions and slippery roads/surfaces. Women are most often involved in accidents were their vehicles are hit on the left-hand side while attempting right hand turns and vice-versa. Height difference between men and woman is also considered a factor. The peripheral vision while driving is different for women when compared to men, because of their height and in turn their sitting position in the driver seat of their vehicle.

According to Lead researcher at the University of Michigan, Dr. Michael Sivak, "There are three dominant driver-related factors, including the probability of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, one's own driving skills and the driving skills of the other driver involved."

Women are taking greater risks while driving now than they ever were. Women are now more distracted while driving, these distractions involve: drinking and driving, speeding, texting, etc. Therefore, the risk of being involved in a fatal automobile crash rises with the driver's blood alcohol levels. Women need to pay more attention when behind the wheel and realize that anything can happen, if one is not careful and attentive to ones surroundings. It is our own responsibility to stay as safe as possible and conduct ourselves in a safe manner when behind the wheel. One must remember that Driving is a Privilege and not a Right!

April 3, 2012

Harassment suit filed by Employees against Floyd Starnes, Kemp Mill Elementary School Principal in Montgomery County, Maryland and the Montgomery County Board of Education

In the spring of 2007, Mr. Floyd Starnes was hired to fill the Principal position at Kemp Mill Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland. Since then 6 school employees have filed a suit against him and the Montgomery County Board of Education in the Montgomery County Circuit Court for harassment.

Principal Floyd Starnes is being accused, by 6 current and former employees at Kemp Mill Elementary School, of not only inappropriate touching but verbal abuse and also for failure to report suspected child abuse cases and bullying.

The interesting issue is that this is not the first time this kind of complaint has been made against Principal Starnes. Montgomery County Education Association President, Doug Prouty, acknowledged that representatives have made various visits to the school since Principal Starnes was hired in 2007 but that no charges have been made against Principal Starnes.

A climate survey is taken yearly at all Montgomery County Public Schools in which teachers and other employees give their opinion on whether they would consider their school as having a positive work environment and since the hiring of Principal Starnes the survey results have dropped. Before Principal Starnes was hired, the results of the yearly climate survey were that all survey takers (100 percent of those surveyed) at Kemp Mill Elementary found the school to have an almost perfect and positive working environment and since his arrival it has dropped significantly to only 10 percent.

The Plaintiffs in this suit are seeking monetary damages and the immediate termination of employment of Principal Starnes.