The Illinois Secretary of State recently credited a sharp drop in teen driving deaths to changes made to the Graduated Driver Licensing program in 2008. In 2007, Illinois saw car accidents claim the lives of 144 teen drivers. In 2012, that number dropped to 58 deaths. The GDL program was strengthened to help young drivers acclimate to the demands of safe driving in a more controlled manner. It addressed known safety issues such as teens driving with other teen passengers, teens driving at night and distracted driving behaviors. The Secretary of State referred to the program as, "one of the best in the nation."
On Monday, a Metra train collided with a semi truck in Bartlett. The truck driver involved in the crash is now being charged by Metra police for two violations. The 41-year-old man is being cited for violating a highway-rail grade crossing and avoiding a traffic control device, according to a spokesperson for Metra. The crash caused substantial damage to the semi-trailer and the automobiles it was hauling. Fortunately, there were no fatalities associated with the wreck. The truck driver, who works for a Pennsylvania trucking company, has been issued a November 18 court date in Cook County Circuit Court.
Studies into the impact of sleep apnea on those who suffer the condition revealed a substantial connection to motor vehicle accidents. An Australian study demonstrated that the victims of sleep apnea have car accident rates roughly three times that of the general population. Sleep apnea is far from the only cause of exhaustion among drivers, but it does serve to demonstrate the point that a tired driver is an unsafe driver. The study analyzed more than 2,600 hundred people who were believed to suffer from "sleep disordered breathing." This condition has come to be referred to as sleep apnea by many.
October 20-26 is National Teen Driver Safety Week. In conjunction with the safety initiatives of the week, the National Safety Council has released a list of things for parents to be aware of in helping keep their teen drivers safe. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. Fatalities among teens in car crashes have dropped in recent years, but the problem remains widespread. The NSC is hoping to help parents understand the role they play in helping young drivers learn safe driving practices.
Illinois is among the large majority of states to have enacted a ban against texting and driving. Legislation forbidding the practice is one means of combating the number of serious car accidents involving this form of distracted driving. It is not enough to stop the practice, however. It is important to gain the public's acceptance that texting and driving is dangerous and to view the conduct as a significant threat to safety. A recent study appearing in the International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management suggests that there is a lot of work to be done to get people to change their behavior.
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent federal body with a number of safety-related responsibilities. It is charged with investigating all civil aviation accidents, as well as significant accidents in railroad, marine and highway transportation situations. It also conducts safety studies, puts forth safety recommendations and assists the victims of transportation accidents and their families. During the partial government shutdown, the majority of NTSB employees have been furloughed. As a result, a number of investigations are currently on hold. The head of the NTSB has asked the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to take the necessary steps to allow the group to resume its safety mission.
Most people realize that there is a possibility they will not get a good result when going to a hospital. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to identify when the bad result was caused by preventable medical error. Doctors and hospital staff are not always forthcoming about mistakes that cause a patient harm. According to recent research from Johns Hopkins University, some errors are almost never reported to the affected patient.
Going to a hospital with one medical problem and acquiring one or more problems while there is hardly an unusual occurrence. Hospital acquired infections are a common problem in certain health care facilities. Some of the most common pathogens are antibiotic resistant and have been known to cause serious medical problems, even death. One of the measures often employed to stop the spread of infections in a hospital is the use of sterile gloves and medical gowns by doctors. A recent study suggests that those measures are not effective in stopping the spread of all bacterial infections.
The recent estimate regarding fatal medical errors should serve as motivation for people interested in patient safety. There were roughly 34 million hospital admissions across the United States last year. Given the estimate provided by the Journal of Patient Safety of 210,000 to 440,000 deaths caused by medical errors, that translates to a 0.6-1.3 percent fatality rate for those being admitted. Dr. Nina Radcliff, a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists believes that the safety gains in another industry could serve as a model for improving medical safety. She believes that an approach adopted by the airline industry could help reduce the number of preventable deaths in the medical field.