Properly installing and using child car seats is an important safety step. The national Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that car accident fatalities can be reduced by 71 percent among infants and 54 percent among toddlers when child seats are used properly. Despite the safety gains made possible by car seats and other safety technology, car wrecks are still the top cause of death among children in the United States.
The National Transportation Safety Board has released its list of the 10 areas in which it will be focusing its advocacy in 2014. The list includes the areas the NTSB most wants to address to reduce transportation accidents. Three of the areas of focus which are likely to involve changes by the general public are: eliminating distraction in transportation, eliminating substance-impaired driving, and strengthening occupant protection in transportation. Each of these areas has the potential to save thousands of lives by preventing car accidents or improving a person's chances of escaping an accident without serious injury.
A pain reliever many people consider harmless can cause liver failure and even death if taken in excess. To reduce the number of dangerous overdoses of acetaminophen, the Food and Drug Administration has recommended that doctors put an end to prescriptions for certain combination drugs. A combination drug is a pain medication that combines acetaminophen with an opioid. Popular pain relievers such as Percocet, Vicodin and codeine are often mixed with acetaminophen to improve their pain-relieving effect. Unfortunately, many patients are unaware of the presence of acetaminophen in these drugs and are augmenting them with over the counter drugs such as Tylenol. The results can be deadly.
The winter driving season contains many hazards for drivers. Driving too fast and tailgating are behaviors that frequently lead to car accidents when bad weather strikes. Another concerning behavior is on display many mornings during colder months: drivers who do not fully clear their windshields of ice before getting out on the roads. The failure to properly clear ice and snow can contribute to deadly car accidents.
The new ban on the use of hand-held cell phones by Illinois drivers has raised several interesting questions about the dangers of distracted driving. A new study has confirmed many of the dangers of distracted driving while producing a single surprising result: Talking on a cell phone while driving may not greatly affect the risk of crashing. The study did not address the issue that many critics use to attack the new ban - that of hands-free versus hand held devices. It simply demonstrated that the activities take your eyes off the road are dangerous, particularly for younger drivers.
January 1, 2014 marked the first day of the Illinois ban on hand-held cell phone use by drivers. The ban is intended to combat car accidents caused by distracted driving. The law has been criticized by some for arbitrarily separating hand-held cell phone use from the use of hands-free devices. Some studies have indicated that there is little difference in terms of the level of distraction between hands-free technology and hand-held technology. State police plan on issuing fines, starting at $75, to drivers who are caught using hand-held devices behind the wheel.