Boeing executives gave a media briefing in Tokyo on March 15 regarding the 787 Dreamliner and the investigations into the problems with the lithium ion batteries. The National Transportation Safety Board is taking issue with that briefing and the company's discussion of the NTSB investigation into the January 7 fire involving the plane and additional problems related to the battery and electrical systems in the Dreamliner. The NTSB is concerned that Boeing provided its own, unauthorized analysis of the ongoing NTSB investigation. An attorney for the NTSB made it clear that the organization expected Boeing to inform investigators of the content of its remarks before making them during an investigation still under way.
Last week served as a grim reminder of the dangers faced by teen drivers. Three car crashes claimed the lives of 15 teenagers, including four Chicago-area teens whose vehicle went into a creek on Tuesday morning. The Illinois car accident was joined by a fatal wreck in Ohio and another in Texas, each involving young drivers and multiple teen passengers. Following the report from the National Safety Council indicating that teen highway deaths rose sharply last year, this latest round of tragedies may increase calls for stricter standards for new drivers.
The National Transportation Safety Board has issued recommendations to address the problems that led to two railroad accidents last year. The accidents occurred in Michigan and Illinois last year. The accident in Illinois, which occurred in February of last year, killed a woman who was driving when she collided with the train. According to the NTSB, both accidents were caused by railroad workers failing to follow required safety precautions.
A new study has demonstrated that pregnant women who are involved in an accident while wearing their seat belts are better off than women who failed to buckle up. This study confirmed the findings of several prior studies showing that a pregnant woman and her baby are more likely to survive a car accident if the woman is wearing a seat belt. Some pregnant women are concerned that a seat belt or air bag could harm their baby in the event of an accident.
A tired driver is more likely to make a mistake that leads to an accident. A tired doctor is more likely to harm a patient through medical malpractice. Unfortunately, as a nation, we are not getting enough sleep. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, drowsy driving is the cause of 40,000 injuries every year, as well as more than 1,500 driving fatalities. Improved sleep habits and a better understanding of sleep deficiencies could have a tremendous impact on the safety of U.S. roads.
March 4 through March 10 is National Patient Safety Awareness Week. The initiative is led by the National Patient Safety Foundation and focuses on an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. According to the Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study, conducted by HealthGrades Inc., there were more than 200,000 potentially preventable deaths suffered by Medicare patients last year. This theme of this year's Patient Safety Awareness Week is "Be Aware for Safe Care." The theme highlights the importance of educating patients and helping them be engaged in the care they receive. Patient engagement is an important factor in the quality of care received and in the outcome of the course of treatment.
Last year, a proposal to ban the use of hand-held cell phones by drivers failed to gain traction in the Senate. A new proposal passed the House last week and the Senate will again be asked to consider banning drivers from using hand-held cell phones while behind the wheel. Cell phones have been targeted by safety advocates seeking ways to reduce distracted driving accidents. While the majority of states have banned texting and driving, a complete ban of hand-held devices by drivers would acknowledge that cell phones use is not conducive to safe driving. The ban would allow the use of hand-held devices in the event of an emergency. It would also allow the use of cell phones through hands-free devices.