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July 21, 2014

Never Leave A Child Alone In A Hot Vehicle

Every summer children are left alone in hot cars. Over 600 U.S. children have died, as a result of being left alone in hot cars, since 1990. These deaths can be preventable because they happen when kids are left unattended in a hot car. At times, it's because the driver forgot the child was in the vehicle or when children get into unlocked cars without any adult knowing it happened. It is tragic and preventable and the danger comes within minutes of being in hot closed quarters.

In order to prevent these deaths, children should never be left alone in a hot car, even if the windows are down. No matter how brief it may be for, it should not be done, for the safety of the child. Vehicles can become like greenhouses and temperatures can rise rapidly in a very short period of time. Besides the temperature, children are at a higher rise for heat-related illnesses and injury than adults because their bodies make more heat relative to their size and their abilities to cool through sweating are not as developed as an adult.

For example, on a summer day, the temperature outside can be 70 degrees, but the temperature inside a car can increase by 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour, and 70% of this increase occurs in the first 30 minutes, according to Christopher Haines, DO, director of pediatric emergency medicine at St. Christopher's Hospital in Philadelphia. It is at these high temperatures that heat strokes can occur. The body can experience a heat stroke when temperatures pass 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperatures overwhelm the brain's temperature control, causing dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, loss of consciousness and death.

It is also recommended that parents and caregivers not let children play inside unattended vehicles. One is to make sure that car's doors and trunk are locked at all times, and also, keep the car keys out of reach of children. All these tips may help prevent children from getting accidentally locked in vehicles and save their lives.

One must do everything possible to keep children safe. It is these preventive methods that will help lower the chances of children dying from being left alone inside hot vehicles.

Therefore; if you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately and do whatever possible to get the child out of the vehicle.

February 3, 2014

State Highway Safety Laws in 2013

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety published a report titled, "2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws", in which the District of Columbia was ranked as the best for having the most basic traffic safety laws in the United States, while South Dakota was ranked the worst.

The 2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws is in its eleventh year of publication and it uses the following criteria:

- Grades all 50 states in the United States and the District of Columbia;
- Grades based on 15 basic traffic safety laws;
- Takes into consideration the progress in the last 25 years; and
- Considers the risks that put drivers and children at risk.

The purpose of the report is to advance state and federal highway and vehicle safety laws, programs and policies in the United States. It is published by a group of leading consumers, both health and safety organizations and insurance agents and companies whom when gathered together are known as the Advocates.

In the report, it states that the District of Columbia has 12 laws related to basic traffic safety laws. The report gives three different ratings to each state. They range from Green (Good), Yellow (Caution) and Red (Danger). This year was the first year that a safety law was included for enforcing seat belts to rear seating passengers. In order for any state to receive a green rating it had to have included a law enforcing all vehicle passenger safety. Also, a state had to have 11 to 15 laws including both primary enforcement seat belt laws, nine or more laws including both primary enforcement seat belt laws and an all-rider helmet law.

States with a rating of Red have less than seven laws on the books and do not include front and rear seat passenger seat belt laws, therefore; they are deemed dangerous states for drivers and passengers.

There where however six new state laws enacted in 2013. They were the following:
- Primary Enforcement of Seat Belts
- All-rider motorcycle Helmet Use
- Booster Seats
- Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) for teen drivers
- Impaired Driving
- All-Driver Text Messaging Restrictions

October 25, 2012

No Correlation between Car Accidents and Size of Cities

Frequency of Car Accidents is completely unrelated to the size of the city in which you live in. A recent report released by the automobile insurance Allstate, which was conducted in various major cities has come to show that the size of the city does not directly influence the likelihood of an automobile crash. The report is titled "Allstate America's Best Drivers Report". The report states that the District of Columbia and Baltimore, Maryland have the shortest time between accidents, while Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Boise, Idaho and Fort Collins, Colorado have the longest periods between accidents. Therefore; Allstate considers Sioux Falls drivers the "safest drivers" in the United States.

Living in a larger city does not necessarily mean you are at a higher risk of being involved in an automobile accident. Car accidents are a major health hazard, regardless of where you live, because they are the leading cause of death for persons between 5-24 years of age. In 2009, 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers ended up in emergency rooms as a result of automobile crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2011, the U.S. saw the fewest number of automobile fatalities since 1949, but that still meant that 32,000 people were killed.

Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. It is up to the driver to stay alert, follow driving laws, not drink and drive, wear their safety belts and not text or talk on a handheld device while driving.

September 18, 2012

Maryland Law Requires Police Officers on Duty to Wear Their Seat Belts to Save Their Lives

Maryland police officers are dying in motor vehicle accidents more than by any other reason in the last few years. As a matter of fact, according to Larry Harmel, the executive director of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, nine out of the last 11 Maryland Police officers that died in the line of duty were killed as a result of automobile accidents.
Police Cruiser.jpg
Just last month, Officer Adrian Morris was killed while in a high speed chase on I-95. Officer Morris was swerving to avoid hitting other cars when he lost control of his vehicle, flipped several times and was ejected from his vehicle and died. Officer Morris was not wearing his seat belt at the time.

According to the National Highway Safety Office, more than four out of 10 officers, between 1980 and 2008, were killed in the time of duty as a result of car crashes, and these officers were not wearing their seat belts at the time of their accidents.

Maryland and the District of Columbia make it mandatory for all police officers to wear seat belts while inside their cruisers/vehicles. Virginia, however, is one of the 10 states that exempt officers from seat belt laws while in the line of duty.

Therefore, all Police officers in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia are being urged to buckle up in order to avoid preventable deaths.

August 7, 2012

Automobile Fatalities on the Rise in Virginia

In the first three months of 2012 traffic deaths in the state of Virginia have jumped by 13.5 percent, compared to last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). So far this year, there have been 403 reported automobile accident related fatalities. The reason for the higher number of deaths this year is because a lot of the automobile accidents involved multiple fatalities per accident.

The number of traffic deaths nationwide has also increased. According the to the NHTSA there have been an estimated 7,630 automobile related deaths in the first three months of 2012, making it the second largest year-to-year quarterly increase in fatalities since the NHTSA started recording traffic fatalities in the mid 1970's.

The fact that we had a mild winter also has something to do with the increase in motor vehicle accident fatalities. That is because the milder the weather the more people go outdoors and drive. Severe weather keeps people off the roads, but milder weather conditions make people want to travel more.
Auto Crash.jpg
According to the Federal Highway Administration, vehicle miles traveled in January, February and March of 2012 increased by about 9.7 billion miles, 1.4 percent more than 2011. That means that the more miles traveled, the higher the risk of being involved in an automobile accident, therefore; drivers need to be more careful and practice safer driving, which include, but at not limited to, making sure one is buckled up, giving oneself plenty of time to get to your destination and never drive while impaired by alcohol, drugs and/or when tired.

July 17, 2012

Recall: Old Navy Toddler Aqua Socks for Girls

Old Navy Toddler aqua socks for girls are being recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for slip and fall hazard. It was determined by the CPSC that these Old Navy socks have less traction when used on wet or smooth surfaces.

The recall is being issued for all socks with style number 896452. The style number can be found in a small tag inside the sock. The socks were priced between $12 and $15. They were sold in Toddler sizes 5-11 and in colors pink and purple.

More than 30,000 units were sold in the US in the first 6 months of 2012.

People who have purchased the Old Navy Toddler Aqua Sock for girls should immediately stop using them and return them to any Old Navy store for a full refund.

For more information, contact Old Navy at (866)580-9930 or by e-mail at custserv@oldnavy.com

June 12, 2012

LATCH System Regulation Updates

Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system regulations will change for child safety seats, according to the safety guidelines established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The change in guidelines will take place in 2014. The LATCH system is designed to hold up to 65 pounds (child and car seat weight combined). The new rule is called the FMVXX 213 and will go into effect on February 27, 2014. The rule will require car seats with internal harnesses to have a label indicating the maximum child weight for using lower LATCH anchors to secure the car seat in a motor vehicle. The new label would specify a maximum child weight between 45 to 53 pounds for using lower LATCH systems.

June 5, 2012

Dangerous Vehicles on the Road

Car Crash.jpg
The following vehicles have been determined to be the most dangerous vehicles on the road, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):

1) Dodge Ram 1500; score 2/5; bad ratings: side collisions and rollover

2) Colorado Crew Cab; score 3/5; bad ratings: side collisions, rollover & rear end
collisions

3) Mazda CX-7; score 4/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

4) Mazda CX-9; score 4/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

5) Nissan Pathfinder; score 3/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

6) Jeep Wrangler; score 3/5; bad ratings: side collisions and rear end collisions

7) Suzuki SX4; score 2/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions


These vehicles were deemed the most dangerous based on 4 rating categories of the IIHS tests. The categories were: (1) a front crash test where a vehicle travels at 40 mph and hits a barrier head on; (2) a side-impact crash test where an SUV type vehicle strikes the driver side of the testing vehicle at a speed of 30 mph; (3) rollover crash testing where the vehicle is hit by metal plates on the corners to determine force capacity before the vehicle rolls over; and (4) a rear-end crash test where seats and seat belts are tested for protection against whiplash and other head and neck injuries.

Consumer Reports and crash safety ratings performed by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the JD Power's Initial Quality reports were also used to analyze the vehicles performance.

May 3, 2012

The Higher Your Body Mass Index the Less Likely a Driver Is To Buckle Up

Obese SeatBelts.jpgIn a study conducted at the University of Buffalo, using data from the National Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it was determined that 67 percent of normal weight drivers wear seatbelts while obese drivers do not.

Drivers considered to be overweight or obese are determined by their Body Mass Index (BMI). A person who has a BMI of 25 or more is considered obese by the World Health Organization, a person with a BMI of 30-35 is slightly obese, a BMI of 35-40 is moderately obese and a BMI of over 40 is considered morbidly obese. Considering that one-third of the US population is overweight and one-third is considered obese, this is of a great concern.

Obese drivers may find it more difficult to buckle up a standard seatbelt and therefore do not wear a seatbelt as often as normal weight drivers, so that means that the heavier the driver, the less likelihood that seatbelts were used.

Not buckling up is very dangerous because it delivers more force to the body much more quickly while also increasing the chances of being thrown about the car. Therefore, morbidly obese drivers have a 56 percent higher chance of death as a result of an automobile crash than normal weight drivers.

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.

March 12, 2012

Should Smoking Be Banned in Vehicles with Children Under the Age of 8 in Maryland?

Cigarette.jpgVarious studies have linked secondhand smoke to asthma and other chronic illnesses in children, therefore; the Maryland Senate opened discussions in late February 2012, in which a Ban on smoking inside vehicles with child passengers would be put into legislation. If passed, the new bill would fine drivers and passengers up to $50 if they are caught smoking in a vehicle with a passenger 8 years old or younger, but it would not be considered a moving violation and would not add points to a persons' driving record.

The bill would reduce the number of long-term illnesses caused by and associated with secondhand smoke and it would also lower the state's medical costs.

Studies have shown that secondhand smoking is more harmful in cars than in other areas and locations. The toxicity levels have sometimes reached 10 times greater than those deemed acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Children exposed to smoke are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome than babies who are not exposed to smoke. These babies have also been shown to have weaker lungs and increased risk of other health problems because they have been exposed to smoke. Also, children exposed to secondhand smoke experience more severe and frequent asthma attacks and are at a higher risk for ear infections then those not exposed to secondhand smoke.

Over 4,000 different chemicals have been identified in secondhand smoke and over 40 of these chemicals have shown to cause cancer, therefore; children exposed to secondhand smoke are being poisoned and have no choice in the matter. It is up to the parent and/or guardian to keep children safe and healthy and therefore; bills like this one should be passed.

January 30, 2012

Teen Automobile Related Fatalities on the Rise in Virginia

eating while driving.jpgBetween January 1, 2012 and January 24, 2012 there have been 11 teen automobile related fatalities in Virginia. At the same time period in 2011 there were only three. This is a huge increase that could be avoided if certain precautions were taken. The most common factors in the fatal automobile crashes are speed, distractions, alcohol, no use of seat belts and cell phone use.

Virginia safety organizations are urging teen drivers, as well as their parents, to take precautions to prevent further tragedies. Some of the precautions suggested are:
Teens:
- Obey posted speed limits;
- Do not Text, Talk or use handheld devices while driving;
- Do not drive distracted by changing radio stations, eating or by having too many passengers in the vehicle;
- Commit to driving safely;
- Always wear your seat belt.

Parents:
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of speeding and driving distracted;
- Set clear rules for driving and let them know that it is a privilege and not a right. They need to earn the privilege and that there are consequences to their actions;
- Set curfews, passenger limitations and make clear the punishment if these rules are broken.

Schools and Safety Organizations:
- Discuss the increase in teen fatalities, so that they are aware;
- Educate students on safe driving practices through interactive methods. Use visual displays, videos, guest speakers and programs;
- Post seat belt reminders and no cell phone use signs all over school property and all parking areas.

For more safety tips and information, visit the following websites: www.yovaso.net and www.blueridgecrashteams.org

December 16, 2011

Automobile Related Fatalities Decreased in Maryland in 2010

774604_car_accident_1.jpgThe number of automobile accident related fatalities decreased by about 10 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2009 to 2010. In 2009, there were 549 automobile accident related fatalities and in 2010 there were only 493. The reason there was a decrease is because there are better air bags and anti-rollover technology in newer vehicles, drivers are using their seatbelts properly and more often and there has been an improvement in safe-driving campaigns in the state of Maryland, according to the AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Another factor for the decrease is that Maryland police officers and other law enforcement officers have been cracking down more on drunk drivers. Repeat offenders have had to install start up kits/breathalyzer machines in their vehicles that do not allow the vehicle to start/turn on if there is alcohol in their system.

Also, speed limits are followed more by drivers because of red light and speed cameras all over the state of Maryland. Therefore, drivers are respecting the speed limit in certain areas more. Another factor is that in the state of Maryland it is prohibited to use a handheld device while driving. Be it for talking on the phone, texting, viewing messages or communicating through media outlets while driving.

When you consider all these factors, one can better understand how there has been a 10 percent decrease in automobile accident related fatalities in Maryland. One can only hope that there has been a bigger decrease in 2011.

November 16, 2011

Women Have Greater Risks for Injury During Car Crashes

The University of Virginia researchers used information gathered by the National Highway Safety Administration on over 45,000 crash victims in a ten year span, to show that women have a higher risk of injury during car crashes in the United States. Their study was published in late October of this year. The study showed that on average, women are up to 5 and a half inches shorter then men, weight about 35 pounds less then men and drive sedans (more then SUV's). With these factors in mind it was determined that 47% of the over 45,000 crash victims were women who suffered severe injuries.

The researchers determined that men have more neck strength and are more muscular over all then women. Also, men sit differently in vehicles and therefore; their heads fit better against the head restraints in vehicle then women. Car safety devices, they determined, are designed largely for men, therefore women are at higher risk for injuries.

In the meantime, researchers at the University of Virginia are instructing women to continue to use seat belts properly and maintain proper seating posture.

June 9, 2011

Odometer Fraud

Odometer.jpgThe Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations (OFI) was established in 1984 and consists of four regional offices, staffed with a criminal investigator and an administrative support staff. Their mission is to reduce the cost of vehicle ownership by stopping odometer fraud.

When purchasing a used vehicle one must consider the safety of the vehicle. Things such as safety belts, air bags, brakes and the like, but one must also consider the vehicle's odometer. A vehicle's odometer is used to determine the wear and tear of the vehicle and if this has been altered or tampered with then it can affect your safety. Some sellers tamper with odometers, and therefore you buy a vehicle thinking it is much newer and safer then it really is.

The OFI is responsible for making sure that odometers are not tampered with or rolled back. The organization works hard at tracking down crime rings that continuously purchase high-mileage vehicles, alter their odometers, and resell them.

Therefore, when purchasing a used vehicle make sure and compare the odometer mileage with maintenance and inspection records. You should also consider the wear and tear of the vehicle with the mileage of the vehicle. Most dealerships can also provide you with a CARFAX report when purchasing a vehicle, and you can review the report for the vehicles history and prior ownership.