In March, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration released its Drowsy Driving Research and Program Plan, which outlines several initiatives intended to address the problem of drowsy driving.
Drowsiness is estimated to be a factor in 2 to 20 percent of annual traffic fatalities and about 72,000 crashes per year. But the actual number of drowsy-driving crashes and fatalities may be higher, because at present there’s no standardized method police departments use to identify drowsy drivers and cite drowsiness in their crash reports. The NHTSA aims to develop such standards, to better understand the impact of drowsiness, and to educate the public about the dangers of drowsy driving.
How Tiredness Affects People
Busy people sometimes skimp on sleep in order to get more done. But over time, the effects of too little sleep can interfere with one’s ability to function. …
Every year, thousands of college students head south for spring break, lured by beautiful beaches and exciting nightlife. This year, South Padre Island anticipates an even greater presence of spring break revelers than in previous years, due in part to the fact that other beachfront destinations are banning or restricting alcohol use. South Padre still allows alcohol consumption on the beach, day or night.
In the weeklong reprieve from classes, some students take celebrating a bit too far. Many students have been injured or arrested as a direct result of alcohol consumption, so whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, you may need to keep an eye out for out-of-control revelers around spring break.
Activities and Injuries
There’s plenty to do along South Padre’s 34-mile seashore, but many of these activities – snorkeling, parasailing, and riding a Jet …
While no gear can offer 100 percent protection, athletes are expected to wear all kinds of special equipment intended to improve safety. There are shin guards for soccer players, shoulder pads for football players, gloves for baseball players. Yet, protection of the eye, one of the most important and most vulnerable body parts, is often overlooked.…
Looking at crash statistics can reveal a lot about the most important traffic safety issues in Texas. And when statistics indicate a certain factor is to blame for a growing number of deadly crashes, existing laws may need to be strengthened, or new laws developed, to reverse the trend.
Historically, it often takes years of serious and fatal accidents before legislators create laws intended to improve safety. For example, it wasn’t until 1968 that automakers were required to install seat belts in all new cars, and Texas didn’t have a primary seat belt law until the 1980s. Those laws came about because government officials recognized the important role seat belts play in saving lives.
So what do Texas statistics tell us now? Read on to learn more.
Texas Department of Transportation data from 2014, the most recent …
They were making headlines in 2015 as one of the most popular Christmas gifts, but now hoverboards are in the news for a different reason: accidents and fires.
These two-wheeled motorized devices are touted as a fun way to get around, with the ability to move fluidly in any direction. But they can easily fly out from underneath a user, as seen in boxer Mike Tyson’s YouTube video of his hoverboard mishap.
Falling backwards is associated with tailbone, wrist, and head injuries. A Texas man was hospitalized in intensive care after falling backwards off a hoverboard and fracturing his skull. A neurosurgeon at The Neuromedical Center in Baton Rouge, LA, treated two children and one adult for serious hoverboard-related head injuries in one weekend. And the former mayor of Coral Springs, FL, shattered his wrist in a fall from …
According to the American Burn Association, in 2015, 486,000 people received medical treatment for burns. Each year, about 40,000 people with burn injuries require hospitalization, with 30,000 people requiring treatment in specialty burn centers. Health and safety officials hope to reduce the number of burn injuries in the United States, and that’s why each February the first week of the month marks Burn Awareness Week.
Fire is the most obvious cause of burns, but many serious burns occur at home due to other causes.
A person who comes into contact with boiling water, hot cooking grease, or steam may suffer a scald burn. These injuries most often occur at home and are a serious threat to small children.
Liquid and steam burns accounted for about 34 percent of all patient admissions to burn treatment centers in 2013. Many …
Austin Independent School District announced it would begin outfitting its school buses with stop arm cameras. The cameras are intended to catch drivers who illegally pass school buses – when a bus’s stop arm is extended, a passing car will trigger the camera, which records snapshots of the vehicle and its license plate.
This technology isn’t cheap. Dallas County Schools has been the subject of criticism for spending millions more than it anticipated to outfit buses with stop arm cameras. When NBC 5 News questioned DCS President Larry Duncan in 2014 about the financial projections, he said, “One, you’re focusing on money. We have provided the student safety increase we — that we were after — and that’s the most important thing.”
The Scope of the Problem
According to Texas Transportation Code Sec. 545.066, when a school bus has …
In September, 13 bicycle manufacturers recalled more than 1.3 million bicycles in the U.S. for a problem that could cause the bike to stop unexpectedly. On certain bicycle models with disc brakes, the quick-release lever could become entangled with the brake rotor and increase the risk of a crash. It was a problem first identified by Trek, the company that recalled about 900,000 of its bikes in April.
This recall seems remarkably similar to the Takata automotive airbag recall, which began with Honda recalling a few thousand vehicles seven years ago, but as of late November had grown to include more than 23 million vehicles and a dozen automakers.
Both the Takata recall and the bicycle recall involved third-party parts sold to manufacturers, raising questions about who is ultimately to blame when a serious mechanical failure occurs. So far, only …
In Texas and many other states, the law requires drivers on multi-lane highways to use the left lane only for passing. The intent of the “Texas Slowpoke Law” is to reduce the risk of vehicle crashes and ensure the smooth flow of traffic. But it’s not uncommon to see motorists tooling along in the left lane on highways.
The Texas Department of Public Safety dedicated a day in 2013 to enforcing the left-lane law, mainly to raise awareness of its existence. State troopers issued warnings or tickets to motorists who were staying in the left lane instead of using the left lane to pass.
Texas DPS Sgt. Gordon Schneider told the Houston Chronicle that “a rash of road-rage incidents” had been attributed to people who were driving well below the speed limit while in the passing lane.
Austin Traffic Fatalities Report Reveals Contributing Factors
On Oct. 14, the Austin Police Department issued a news release about the 82nd traffic fatality of 2015. It was the 74th fatal crash since Jan. 1 – nearly double the number of fatal crashes measured in the same period last year.
Police want to understand why fatal crashes have increased in 2015, so they’re taking a closer look at contributing factors. APD’s recent Traffic Fatalities Brief reveals some insights about the 76 fatalities that occurred between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31.
Methodology and Commonalities
The APD report studied characteristics of each person found to be at fault for a fatal crash, regardless of whether that person survived, along with incident characteristics for three types of fatalities: pedestrian, motorcycle and motor vehicle.
In all three types of fatal crashes, the person …