Pay Attention: It’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Pay Attention: It’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, of the 537,475 crashes in the state during 2017, 100,687 – 19 percent – involved some type of driver distraction.

While people are generally aware of the dangers of texting while driving, many drivers do it anyway. And some drivers may not realize all the other ways in which they could be distracted. To help raise awareness about these issues, the National Safety Council ramps-up outreach campaigns each April, during Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

How Employers Can Help

The NSC promotes the concept that employers can play an important role in reducing the rate of distracted driving. To support that message, it has published two case studies and other materials.

One case study describes Cummins’ Driver Safety program, which began in 2014.

The company’s new policy prohibited any employee “on the clock” …

Dusting off Your Motorcycle This Spring? Here’s a Safety Checklist
Dusting off Your Motorcycle This Spring? Here’s a Safety Checklist

If you’re one of the more than 400,000 licensed motorcyclists in Texas, warmer weather means hitting the open road on your favorite two-wheeled vehicle. But if your bike’s been sitting in a garage for a while, make sure you inspect it before taking that first spring ride.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends that riders complete an annual T-CLOCS inspection, which stands for tires/wheels/brakes, controls, lights/electrics, oil/fluids, chassis, and stands. Here’s what that entails:

Tires/wheels/brakes

  • Tires – Check the tread depth, and look for signs of wear, cracks, embedded objects, or bulges. Check the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure, and test your air pressure when the tires are cold. Inflate if necessary.
  • Wheels – Look for any bent, broken, loose, or missing spokes. Inspect the cast for cracks and dents and make sure rims are true (spin the wheel against a

After Repeatedly Ranking Low in Driving Studies, Texas Finally Comes out on Top
After Repeatedly Ranking Low in Driving Studies, Texas Finally Comes out on Top

According to financial advice website WalletHub, Texas ranks first on the list of best states for driving. That may come as a surprise to Texas rush-hour commuters or to anyone who’s seen the numerous studies in which the Lone Star state received poor marks for driving safety.

The WalletHub study, published in January, ranked states based on an analysis of “23 indicators of a positive commute,” and some factors were “weighted” to have a greater impact on the overall score.

Why Texas Ranked High

WalletHub’s scoring system assigned the greatest weight to two categories: average gas prices and average auto maintenance costs. Texas ranked No. 3 for lowest average gas prices, and No. 12 for lowest cost of ownership and maintenance. Texas ranked second in the category of  “access to vehicles & maintenance,” which includes factors like car dealerships …

Fatigue is Far Deadlier on Our Roads Than We Realized

A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsiness may be a factor in at least 10 percent of traffic crashes.

Most previous studies of drowsy driving have been based on crash characteristics that are commonly associated with drowsiness, such as lane departure or failure to brake before impact. Some studies have been based on results from driving simulators or from drivers’ self-reports of drowsy driving – methodologies that have substantial limitations. The AAA study, however, provides a reliable estimate of the number of crashes involving drowsy drivers.

Study Methodology

The AAA study recruited 3,593 drivers between 2010 and 2013 to participate in the study, equipping their vehicles with dashboard cameras and data collection equipment. Data scientists calculated PERCLOS – the percentage of time a driver’s eyes were closed in the final three minutes preceding …

Accidental Injuries Climb as Cause of Death in U.S.

In January, the National Safety Council announced that in 2016, 161,374 people died from accidental injuries. That was the first year in recorded history that accidental injury was the third leading cause of death.

The NSC analysis of fatality data found accident-related fatalities increased 10 percent in 2016, compared to the previous year. In the same time period, vehicle crash deaths increased 6.8 percent. Crashes killed 40,327 people, and unintentional opioid overdoses claimed 37,814 lives.

Fatal accidents are usually preventable. But inattention, judgment errors, and outright negligence continue to cause fatal accidents year after year. In the press release about its analysis, NSC president and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said, “Our complacency results in 442 deaths each day.”

Traffic Crash Fatality Trends

Overall, U.S. motorists are safer now than they were years ago. In 1996, the crash fatality rate was …

Safety Tips for ‘March Madness’ in San Antonio

The NCAA men’s basketball playoffs – otherwise known as March Madness – will end in San Antonio this year, with the four-day Final Four event. The city anticipates around 93,000 visitors will attend the events and games between March 30 and April 2.

All of the events that weekend will be downtown, so traffic congestion is likely to be heavy. If you’re planning to attend Final Four events, keep the following safety tips in mind.

Use alternative transportation

If you plan on drinking alcohol, or if you’d rather not deal with the hassle of finding a parking spot, there are plenty of alternatives to driving. For $5, adults can buy a round-trip bus ticket from Madla Station, Blossom Athletic Center, or Crossroads Park & Ride (discounted tickets are available for students with a valid ID, children, and seniors). There’s also …

Many Products Still Contain Asbestos

Roofing shingles, vinyl floor tiles, and cement board are three products commonly used in home construction. These products have something else in common – they may contain asbestos.

Asbestos is a natural mineral fiber that’s resilient and fire-resistant. Companies that make construction materials may add asbestos to their products to make them more resilient. Asbestos, when encased in a product, is usually harmless. But people who work with or near asbestos have a risk of developing asbestos-related cancer.

In manufacturing operations, on construction sites, and in automotive shops, materials that contain asbestos might be sawed, sanded, ground, or cut, causing tiny asbestos fibers to become airborne. People in the area may inhale those fibers without knowing it, and most cases of asbestos-related cancer occur decades after initial exposure.

Regulatory History

The Environmental Protection Agency issued its first asbestos ban in …

Will Inexperienced Truck Drivers Be Taking the Wheel?

The average commercial truck driver is 55 years old, which means seasoned drivers are aging-out of the profession. And trucking companies are having a hard time recruiting new drivers – at the end of 2017, the United States was about 50,000 drivers short of what companies needed to transport their goods.

Texas is facing its own trucker shortage. Oil production in the Permian Basin shale formation has rebounded, following a price collapse in 2014. But there aren’t enough truckers to move that oil where it needs to go. According to Bloomberg news, many former drivers of oil trucks lost their jobs when the oil market crashed in 2014, and they’re reluctant to return to those positions.

Drivers of oil and gas trucks have traditionally earned much more than entry-level long-haul truckers who transport ordinary freight, because transporting oil requires …

These Medications May Affect Your Driving

It’s cold and flu season, which means many Americans are heading to the store to stock-up on over-the-counter medicines. OTC medicines can help minimize symptoms of illness, but they can seriously interfere with your ability to drive.

Before you take any medication, read the label carefully. Some medications are known to cause marked drowsiness, and even those that aren’t associated with drowsiness could interact poorly with prescription medications.

Cold and Allergy Medicines That Cause Drowsiness

Antihistamines are widely used to treat symptoms of colds and allergies. But some of these medicines can be dangerous for drivers. When purchasing OTC antihistamines, consider the following:

  • Diphenhydramine – This active ingredient in Benadryl helps relieve symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose, and watery eyes. But diphenhydramine is also the active ingredient in some OTC sleep medications, so taking it before driving

Macbook
The Rise of Digital Spying in Divorce

When marriages turn sour, some people turn to digital surveillance to monitor their spouse’s behavior. According to an NPR report, some family law attorneys say that digital spying has become so common, it’s changing how they handle divorce cases.

People are using GPS monitors, software, and other devices to monitor not only the physical location of their current or ex spouse, but also their online activity. One partner may be trying to gather evidence that could help them prevail in a divorce. But in at least one case, a woman’s ex-husband was using a GPS device to track her movements long after they had split. Prosecutors couldn’t charge the ex-husband with a crime, as he and his wife had joint ownership of the car.

Lack of Clarity

Employers may legally use digital surveillance to track employees’ online activity, and …