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September 2012 Archives

A Link Between Antidepressants And Car Accidents

It is common knowledge that alcohol causes drivers to suffer an elevated risk of accidents. Many studies have likewise connected things like illegal drug abuse and cell phones to dangerous driving. A new study has shown a link between legal antidepressants, including Prozac and Seroxat, and motor vehicle accidents. According to research from the University of Taiwan, the use of antidepressants and certain other psychotropic medications can increase a person's chances of getting into a car accident by as much as 70 percent.

Transparency Key To Health Care Quality Improvements

According to the Institute of Medicine, medical mistakes cost the U.S. health care system between $17 and $29 billion a year. It estimates that medical errors kill nearly 2,000 people per week. New technology and, potentially, new attitudes among rising doctors could greatly reduce medical malpractice and make the health care system safer for everyone, according to surgeon Marty Makary. According to Dr. Makary, secrecy among medical professionals and hospitals must be overcome before the industry can improve its dismal record of safety.

Chronic Illness In Children Increases Chance Of Medical Error

A new study has analyzed medical errors affecting children who have been hospitalized. The medical error rate for children who suffer a chronic health condition was significantly higher than that for children who do not. The result of the study was expected, as chronic health conditions are likely to force a child to remain hospitalized for longer periods and may complicate the treatment of the child. Still, it is important for parents of children with chronic health conditions to understand that the risk of a medical mistake is elevated.

Distracted Driving In Fatal Crashes And Injury Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a study of all the motor vehicle crashes that occurred in 2010. According to that study, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 10 percent of fatal crashes. In addition, distracted driving was cited as a factor in 18 percent of the total crashes where someone suffered an injury. The study further broke down the numbers for cars, light trucks and large trucks. In crashes involving all vehicle types, cell phone use was a prevalent factor.

Federal Aviation Administration Asks For Extra Checks On Boeing 737s

A federal agency is asking U.S. air carriers to enhance and increase inspections of Boeing 737 aircraft in their fleets. The Federal Aviation Administration is concerned about undetected cracks in the fuselage or bulkhead that could cause dangerous decompressions. The problem first drew the attention of the FAA in 2009, after a Boeing 737 operated by Southwest Airlines experienced cabin decompression at 30,000 feet. The pilots of that aircraft were able to complete an emergency landing and no one onboard was injured.

Illinois May Have Toughest Older-Driver Laws

Older age requirements for driver's licenses are now in place in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The fatal auto accident rate begins to rise for drivers when they hit their 70s, jumps when they hit 80, and surpasses the crash rate for teen drivers after age 85. Illinois responds to the issue of aging drivers by requiring drivers older than 75 to take a road test when having their licenses renewed. When drivers turn 81, they get licenses that must be renewed every two years, instead of every four years. At 87, drivers must have their licenses renewed every year.

Turbulence A Hazard For Passengers And Crew

An associate professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University referred to turbulence as "the last of the unanticipated threats," regarding air travel. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 63 people have been seriously injured by turbulence in flights over the United States since 2007. Many of those injured are flight attendants and other crew members who were unbuckled at the time of injury.

Driver In Fatal Construction Accident Charged

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois ranks among the top five states total number of roadway work zone fatal occupational injuries. Road construction accidents where motorists strike construction workers are not rare. They accounted for 7.9 percent of all construction deaths from 2003 to 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, more than 100 construction workers are killed per year in roadway work zone accidents.

Pickup Collides With School Bus In La Salle County

Thirty-nine students were taken to area hospitals after a pickup truck disobeyed a stop sign and struck a school bus in Marseilles, Illinois. The bus accident happened just after 8 a.m. Monday morning, approximately two miles from Milton Pope School where the children attend. The accident is currently under investigation by La Salle County officials.

School Bus Safety And Safe Driving Practices

September is a time for new drivers to learn to interact with school buses and for all drivers to familiarize themselves with the law concerning school buses and safe driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 19 school-age children die in school transportation-related traffic accidents every year. Most of the victims are between the ages of 5 and 7 and are actually outside the bus at the time of the accident. Accidents of this type are so common that the Illinois State Board of Education refers to the area around the bus as the "death zone." The problem comes from other motorists who fail to stop for the flashing red lights and stop arm of the bus, as required by Illinois law.

Magnets In Toys Pose Serious Risk To Children

Magnets on toys, clothes and other household items pose a serious risk to children who might swallow them. Products with magnets have been the subject of numerous recalls largely based on the possibility that children will ingest the magnets. The Consumer Products Safety Commission reports roughly 200 such cases since 2008. Once swallowed, the magnets clump together and can tear through intestines and cause significant damage, even death, in the young victims.

New Safety Recommendations Concerning Large Plane Taxiing

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended the installation of anti-ground collision aids on large airplanes. Three ground collision accidents involving large planes hitting other aircraft during taxiing are currently under investigation by the NTSB. The recommendations, which were made to the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency, involved on-board external-mounted cameras which would allow pilots to see the wingtips of the plane while taxiing. Currently, pilots of larger planes would have to open a window in the cockpit and extend their heads outside the plane to view the wingtips.

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