Big Risks for Big Rigs: Why Are Fatal Large Truck Crashes Increasing?
Big Risks for Big Rigs: Why Are Fatal Large Truck Crashes Increasing?

Every day, tractor-trailers share the roads with cars, pickups, and SUVs. But what some tractor-trailers don’t share is the advanced safety technology that helps the passenger vehicles stay accident-free.

According to Consumer Reports, research shows that safety features currently available in passenger cars, such as a forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB), are reducing crashes as they become more available.

Now, experts are wondering if those features could help curb a disturbing trend: the increase in deaths in crashes involving large trucks.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37,461 people died on the road in 2016, the last year for which statistics are available – an increase of 5.6 percent from 2015. Of those fatalities, more than 4,300 occurred in accidents involving large trucks in 2016, up 5.4 percent from the year before. In …

Opioids and Marijuana Are Now on Par with Alcohol in Levels of Driver Impairment
Opioids and Marijuana Are Now on Par with Alcohol in Levels of Driver Impairment

Drugged driving is on the rise, and it puts drivers, passengers, and others who share the road at risk.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, pot and opioids cause nearly as many driver deaths as does alcohol. In their recently released report, Drug Impaired Driving: Marijuana and Opioids Raise Critical Issues for States, the GHSA cited a recent study that showed that in 2016, 44 percent of drivers killed in crashes tested positive for drugs, up from 28 percent a decade earlier. And among those who tested positive for drugs, 38 percent tested positive for marijuana, 16 percent had opioids in their system, and 4 percent tested positive for both marijuana and opioids.

While drunk driving still threatens American roadway safety, the number of drunk drivers killed in crashes dropped slightly over 10 years, falling from 41 percent …

Risks of Working the Night Shift
Risks of Working the Night Shift

Do you work the late shift? Alternative shift workers face several hazards. If your work hours occur when most people are asleep and you sleep when most people are awake, you might suffer from the effects Shift Work Disorder, which is characterized by disturbances in sleep patterns, including insomnia, non-restorative sleep, and excessive sleepiness.

People who suffer from SWD (sometimes called Shift Work Sleep Disorder) might feel fatigued at work, especially if they are working extended work hours, which is common in shift work. Other symptoms include impaired cognitive abilities, anxiousness and irritability, unintentionally falling asleep on the job, reduced job performance, and increased incidence of on-the-job injuries.

Who is at Risk?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of the workforce works shifts other than the standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift. These alternative shift …

What Precautions Do (And Don't) Prevent Senior Falls?
What Precautions Do (And Don’t) Prevent Senior Falls?

While a fall at any age can result in severe injury, those over the age of 65 are more likely to fall and are particularly susceptible to catastrophic injuries. In fact, falls are the leading cause of death among older adults. And for those fortunate enough to survive their fall, serious injuries are commonly experienced, including traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, fractured hips, and spinal cord injuries.

Some of the statistics about older adult falls are startling. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Each year, one out of four Americans aged 65 or over falls.
  • Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall.
  • Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal

Your Vehicle's Inside Temperature Can Quickly Become Deadly 
Your Vehicle’s Inside Temperature Can Quickly Become Deadly 

Sadly, it is not uncommon these days to hear stories on the news about children who have passed away as a result of accidentally being left inside a hot car by a parent or caretaker. In fact, an average of 37 children pass away each year as a result of pediatric vehicular heatstroke (PVH). And while these incidents are certainly more common during the hot summer months, they can occur in warmer areas of the country (such as here in Texas) any time of year.

By having a better understanding of just how quickly temperatures can become deadly inside a car and by following some simple yet effective precautions, parents and caretakers can keep children safer and avoid becoming a devastating statistic.

How Quickly Can a Car Interior Reach Dangerous Temperatures?

What many people don’t realize is just how quickly …

Dirty Pool Water Puts Swimmers at Risk
Dirty Pool Water Puts Swimmers at Risk

Many of the hazards posed by swimming pools are well known, such as drowning and other submersion injuries. However, some safety risks associated with pools are less obvious. For example, there are health hazards associated with dirty or inadequately maintained pool water.

If the water in a pool is not properly treated with chemicals, it can lead to swimmers’ contracting Recreational Water Illnesses. RWIs encompass a wide array of infections that can affect almost any part of the human body, including the skin, ears and eyes, as well as gastrointestinal and respiratory systems.

RWIs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are caused by chemicals and germs found in swimming water. They are contracted by being in contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, and interactive fountains. They can even be …

Washing Machine
Washing Machine Explosion Raises Safety Concerns

Doing laundry is an uneventful, if not mundane, household chore for most Americans. Or at least that’s what one Irving family thought when Faisal Nuree’s wife put a mattress pad in her washing machine. Just minutes later she heard a loud boom.

It turns out their washing machine had exploded with such force that it pushed away from the wall and the top had blown off, becoming a potentially deadly projectile.

Doing a simple load of laundry shouldn’t be dangerous.

Only after the incident did the Nuree family learn that their washer was one of 2.8 million Samsung washing machines recalled. Nuree said he didn’t know his washer was unsafe and never received notice of the recall from the manufacturer.

And the Nuree family isn’t the only one to have their Samsung top-loading washing machine explode. There has been a …

This Mobile App Could Test Driver Impairment
This Mobile App Could Test Driver Impairment

When the police ask you to take a Breathalyzer test, it’s usually already too late. The damage — sometimes property damage, sometimes injury or loss of life — has already been done. But what if there were a way you could tell if you were impaired before you got behind the wheel? Well, there’s an app for that.

DRUID is one of a recent (and ever-growing) crop of phone-based applications that allow drivers to measure their level of impairment before they turn the key.

How It Works

DRUID, which was specifically formulated to measure impairment from marijuana, asks users to complete a series of cognitive and physical tasks while sober to establish a baseline performance score. Reaction time, decision making, hand-eye coordination, balance and time estimation are measured while the user’s attention is divided.

This score is then compared to …

Studies Suggest Texas Is Asleep at the Wheel
Studies Suggest Texas Is Asleep at the Wheel

Those open stretches of rural Texas road may contribute to the alarming rate of drowsy driving crashes in our state. A report from NBC revealed that in Texas the number of drowsy driving fatalities in rural areas is 6.8 times higher than in urban areas.

Another study by the mattress company Amerisleep and Sleep Junkie, a mattress review website, revealed that in 2016, one in every five drowsy driving fatalities occurred in Texas. Looking at data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, researchers saw that Texas drowsy driving fatalities were four times higher than California drowsy driving fatalities, even though California has 10 million more residents.

Understanding Drowsy Driving

Many people who don’t get enough sleep think they can overcome drowsiness by drinking coffee. But while coffee my briefly increase alertness, …

Safety Concerns About Austin’s Dockless Scooter System
Safety Concerns About Austin’s Dockless Scooter System

In April, two California companies launched dockless scooter systems in Austin. The City Council limited the two companies – LimeBike and Bird – to 500 scooters each, until the city determines the feasibility of dockless scooter systems.

In theory, riders use a scooter and leave it next to a bike rack or some other out-of-the-way area; but by mid-April, the city had impounded 55 scooters that were blocking sidewalks, roads, or public areas. By mid-May, the city was scrambling to regulate scooters and published 10 pages of rules and six pages of licensing requirements.

Scooter Laws in Texas

The Austin Department of Transportation’s new rules address several safety concerns. The rules apply to scooters and bikeshare bicycles.

Companies operating either of those devices in Austin are now required to:

  • By Aug. 1, outfit all units with technology that tells the