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October 2011 Archives

New Ad Campaign Targets Texting by At-Risk Drivers

A group of states' attorneys general have teamed up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council on a campaign to increase public awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. The campaign targets drivers in the 16-24 years old range, a group associated with a high rate of car accidents, as well as a propensity to text and drive. The goal is not to increase legislation and penalties surrounding distracted driving, but rather to explain to younger drivers the risks they are taking. The Ad Council hopes to reach up to 8 million of these at-risk drivers with the message, "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks."

The Hypocrisy of Tort Reform Advocates

Caterpillar is a well-known maker of industrial equipment, including construction vehicles, mining equipment, engines and more. As a board member of the Institute for Legal Reform, they are a leader in the movement to restrict the ability of individuals to sue after suffering a personal injury at the hands of a negligent corporation. This movement, under the misleading name "tort reform," is not aimed at reducing frivolous lawsuits. Its goal is to protect corporations from being held accountable for the consequences of their actions. The evidence of this is clear; recently, Caterpillar sued Disney for depicting bulldozers as overly villainous in the video release of George of the Jungle 2.

Aviation Safety on the Decline

The Government Accountability Office released a report last week outlining a significant increase in the number of mistakes by air traffic controllers over the last three years. In addition, the report shows an increase in the incidents of runway incursions at airports using control towers. Many aviation accidents occur on the runway, including the deadliest aviation accident in history in which 583 people were killed when two 747's collided on the ground. The Federal Aviation Administration has identified runway incursions as a significant issue and has had a program designed to reduce this problem since 2007.

Veterans' Propensity for Fatal Car Accidents

Many young men suffer from a feeling of invincibility that leads to poor choices behind the wheel. The problem may be exacerbated for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans are substantially more likely than non-veterans to be involved in a fatal car accident. Government leaders are attempting to address this serious problem which has life and death implications for veterans and for everyone who shares the roads with them.

Truck Fatally Strikes Woman in Wheelchair

A Tuesday afternoon truck accident claimed the life of a 60 year-old Chicago woman. The fatal truck accident is still under investigation and no criminal charges are pending at this time. The woman was crossing at a crosswalk in her motorized wheelchair when she was hit by a cement truck. The driver of that truck, a Glenwood resident, failed to stop at the stop sign in the intersection.

Medical Malpractice and Airline Safety

A senior health care official with the Obama administration believes that the medical field has something to learn from the aviation industry in terms of safety. By focusing on safety and efficiency, he believes that medical malpractice can be drastically reduced while simultaneously controlling the spiraling costs of health care.

Birthday Helicopter Tour Ends in Tragedy

Just moments after takeoff, a helicopter pilot realized there was a problem. The aircraft's engine stalled and the vehicle spun out of control, eventually crashing into a nearby river. The pilot escaped the craft, as well as three of the four passengers onboard. One passenger, a woman celebrating her 40th birthday was not so lucky. She remained trapped in the helicopter and was unable to escape after it hit the water.

Chicago May Ban Cell Phone Use While Biking

The Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee has proposed a city ordinance that would allow police officers to ticket people who talk or text on a cell phone while bicycling. The ordinance would require riders to use a hands-free device to use a cell phone while the bike is in motion. The measure is meant to reduce the number of collisions with motor vehicles and pedestrians.

Worker Killed in Construction Zone Accident

A 28 year-old contract worker was hit and killed by a truck in a Will County construction zone this weekend. The driver of the semi tractor truck was issued a citation in connection with the fatal construction accident. Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding this tragic accident.

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