March 25th, 2015
An inflatable shaped like an elephant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Inflatable bouncers are very popular at birthday parties, summer carnivals, Halloween carnivals, and other child-oriented events. Although they are popular, they are the cause of dozens of injuries every day. Researchers did a study of emergency room visits involving inflatable bounce house injuries. Results showed the following:
- The average age of the children injured in inflatable bouncers is 7 years old.
- The most common types of injuries are fractures and sprains to arms and legs.
- Approximately 20% of the injuries involve the head and neck.
- Most of the injuries occur when the children fall inside the bouncers, as opposed to outside of them. A larger child than the one injured is often a factor in causing the injury.
- Only about 3.4% of all inflatable bouncer injuries result in hospitalization.
The reason for a huge increase in bounce house injuries is an easy one to identify. Although moonwalks, inflatable obstacle courses, and bouncy houses have been very popular for decades, today they are available for sale on store shelves. Parents can save money by buying their own rather than renting them. Without professional operators, however, bounce house injuries are far more likely. Instructions need to be carefully followed, to prevent injuries to children.
The Child Injury Prevention Alliance is an organization that has addressed inflatable bouncers and offers best practices that are designed to keep children safe.
See Part 1 to learn more about the trend in which children are injured in bounce houses. In the continuing series, learn tips for injury prevention, proper use of bouncers, how to correctly set bouncers up outside, and how to correctly set up bouncers inside so that injuries can be avoided.
March 19th, 2015
An inflatable castle type of moonwalk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In October of 2014, two toddlers were injured in a bounce house accident. Both of the children were hospitalized, and one suffered critical injuries. This incident is just a graphic example of an alarming trend. Between 1995 and 2010, there has been a 15-fold increase in bounce-house injuries. Research revealed that, on average, 31 children per day were admitted to emergency departments for injuries sustained in some type of inflatable bouncer.
In the incident that occurred in October, a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old entered a bouncy house that had not been tethered to the ground properly. While they were inside, the wind picked up the bounce house and carried it over a 10-foot fence while the children were trapped inside. The 2-year-old was transported by medical hospital to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where he was listed as being in critical condition. The 3-year-old was also taken to a hospital, where he was reported to be in stable condition.
In May of last year two 6-year-old boys were playing in an inflatable bounce house in New York when they were suddenly tossed into the sky an estimated 15 feet in the air. One boy landed on asphalt and the other on a parked car. That same week in Colorado, two children were inside a bounce house when strong winds blew the inflatable house across the field with the two children trapped inside.
What is especially alarming is that these types of incidents are not isolated, and they aren’t freak accidents. Learn more about the trend in which children are injured in bounce houses in this ongoing series.
March 11th, 2015
A woman is loaded into an air ambulance that landed on Ski Hill Rd. after a head-on crash near Lifford Rd. on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. She was flown to Toronto’s Sunnybrook hospital with serious, life-threatening injuries. Another woman was also airlifted to the same hospital with serious injuries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A 22-year-old mother and her two sons, ages 5 and 2, were killed Saturday just minutes after she picked them up from her grandfather’s house in Alvarado, Texas. The woman’s 13-year-old sister was also in the car, where everyone had been wearing seatbelts; the teen survived the crash and was transported to a nearby hospital. According to authorities, a man was driving a pickup truck on the wrong side of Highway 67 and crashed into the woman’s car head-on. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of the truck driver was three times the legal limit, at 0.24, when the fatal crash occurred.
Alcohol consumption is the cause of approximately 30 traffic fatalities in the United States every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This also comes to one drunk driving fatality every 51 minutes. The only good news, as regards drunk driving fatalities, is that there has been a decline in the number of deaths in recent years. In 1991, 15,827 people in the U.S. died in drunk driving related crashes. By 2013, the number reflects a trending decline, at 10,076 deaths.
According to statistics provided by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, in Texas alone in 2012, there were 1,296 traffic fatalities associated with drivers who were alcohol-impaired. Sadly, many of the deaths which occurred were caused by repeat offenders. Among drunk drivers who caused traffic deaths in 2012 and had a BAC of 15+, 66.7% of them were repeat offenders. Among drunk drivers who had a BAC of between .08 and .14%, 33.3% of them were repeat offenders.
Learn more about the hazards of drunk driving in this continuing series.
March 4th, 2015
These pictures show some of the hardware which comprise the Landsat 7 satellite. Tractor and the forward end of the Transporter as it is being backed into the shelter behind building 27. 07-October-1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A woman was killed in a traffic accident in Wood County, Texas, on the morning of Wednesday, February 25. According to Trooper Jean Dark with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), on Highway 11 at about 9:20, a westbound 18-wheeler was rounding a curve and crossed over the centerline, slamming head-on into the vehicle 42-year-old Velma Dismukes was driving. Dismukes was pronounced dead at the scene of the semi-truck crash. The driver of the big rig was not injured.
The danger involved with getting in a collision with an 18-wheeler is much greater than when colliding with an average-sized car or truck. Semi-trucks can weigh 25 times more than a passenger car, which greatly increases the chances of being killed or suffering serious injuries as a result of a collision.
In one study of crashes involving 18-wheelers, more than half of the accidents were supposedly caused by the 18-wheeler driver. The associated factors in 18-wheeler accidents in which the big rig driver was assigned blame included:
- The driver admits to making a poor driving decision.
- The driver admits failure to correctly evaluate the situation.
- Weather conditions.
- Problems with the truck.
- Roadway problems.
- The truck driver was under the influence of illegal drugs.
- The 18-wheeler driver was traveling too fast for the road conditions.
- The semi-truck driver was unfamiliar with the roadway.
- The semi driver failed to adequately survey the situation.
- The 18-wheeler driver was fatigued.
- The brakes in the truck failed.
Ensuring that the truck won’t run out of gas and that the truck is properly maintained are among the responsibilities truck drivers have to lessen the amount of risk to other drivers on Texas roadways.
February 25th, 2015
Crash test between a 1996 Ford Explorer and 2000 Ford Focus photographed at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Vehicle Research Center. Category:Ford_Focus_NA_Gen._I Category:Ford_Explorer_(second_generation) Category:Crash tests (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At about 6:13 a.m. Sunday morning, a fatal car crash occurred in Austin, Texas, on West Parmer Lane and Lamplight Village Avenue. According to witnesses, a motorist lost control of his vehicle and rear-ended the car 37-year-old Jong Kim was driving. The driver and passenger of the car that struck Kim’s vehicle both fled the scene. When Austin-Travis County EMS arrived, they found the two wrecked vehicles and the deceased in his car. Police located and arrested the other motorist and the passenger after they were treated at University Medical Center Brackenridge for non-life-threatening injuries. The driver is charged both with fleeing the scene and failing to stop and render aid.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been very interested in making a case for standardizing Electronic Stability Control (ESC), pre-braking systems, sensors, and other collision avoidance technologies and is trying to require that these be standard for passenger vehicles and commercial trucks. The NHTSA released some statistics related to traffic accidents, including rear-end collisions in particular, as follows:
- 23% of all crashes in the U.S. are loss of control or run-off-the-road incidents.
- 28% of all traffic collisions are rear-end collisions.
- About 9% of all motor vehicle accidents are caused by bad lane changes.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), forward collision warning systems will prevent many fatalities. They provided the following statistics about forward collisions:
- There are 115 fatal collisions in large trucks every year.
- There are 897 fatal crashes in passenger vehicles annually.
- Approximately 247 fatal crashes could be prevented annually with lane departure warning systems.
- ESC, it is believed, will prevent about 439 traffic fatalities each year.
February 18th, 2015
2006-present Dodge Charger photographed in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Category:Dodge Charger SRT-8 (2006-2010) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Early this month on Highway 259 just north of Henderson, Texas, a 33-year-old Henderson man was killed in a crash near Highway 322. According to authorities, a motorist in a Dodge Ram was headed southbound on Highway 259 at a high rate of speed when he veered onto the center median, overturned, and struck a Dodge Charger in the northbound lane. The collision was front driver’s side to front driver’s side. The motorist in the Charger was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Ram was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated and released. The crash is under investigation.
The specific cause of this fatal collision has not been determined by officials, though speed was mentioned. According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most drivers are unaware that speeding is as serious as other traffic violations and that it puts people at great risk. Excessive speed carries the following consequences:
- Occupant protection equipment in vehicles is not as effective;
- There is a much greater chance that the driver will lose control of the vehicle;
- The severity of the crash itself is increased, and the result is that injuries are more disabling;
- More fuel is consumed and the cost of travel is higher;
- Once a driver perceives danger, the stopping distance is greater; and
- Speed-related crashes have unexpected psychological and economic implications.
The NHTSA considers the message about the dangers of speeding to be as important as reminders about wearing seatbelts for safety and the hazards of impaired driving.
February 11th, 2015
English: A sign that states “No Texting While Driving” in West University Place, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides information on their website about the dangers of texting while driving. The clear danger of the activity has become a rallying point for agencies focused on public safety. The FCC works with other government agencies as well as safety organizations and industry organizations to try to find ways to reduce occurrences of distracted driving.
The FCC provides the following suggestions for getting involved with efforts to discourage motorists from driving while distracted:
- Parents are urged to be good examples to their children, with regard to driving with attention focused on the road. When driving, do not text, talk on the phone, eat, drink, groom, or engage in any other activities that shift focus away from the road. If you need to make a phone call or answer a text, pull over to a safe location first.
- Clear, simple instructions should be given to teenagers so that they understand that wireless devices should never be used while driving. A great slogan to use is “On the road, off the phone,” according to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. Anything that pull eyes off of the road for even a few seconds could result in an accident, injuries, and death.
- Spread the message about the dangers of distracted driving. Mention the importance of driving without distraction at organization meetings, with family and friends, and with your children’s schools.
Across the country, texting while driving has been banned in 44 states. Many people in Texas are anxiously waiting to see whether the current Texas legislature will take action on a bill they are scheduled to consider which would ban texting and driving in the Lone Star State. Governor Greg Abbott has not said whether he would veto such legislation, as Former Gov. Rick Perry did, but he has indicated a desire to solve the problem without government involvement and without micromanaging the activities of mature drivers.
Learn more about the proposed legislation and distracted driving in Part 1 of this two-part series.
February 5th, 2015
Driver in a Mitsubishi Galant using a hand held mobile phone violating New York State law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is way up because drivers are involved more and more in mobile communications such as talking and texting on cell phones. In 2012, 18% of all fatal crashes were linked to driver distraction; in addition, there were 421,000 injuries associated with activities such as texting and driving. Among drivers ages 18 through 21, 11% who were involved in a traffic accident said they were receiving or sending text messages when they crashed. Texting while driving is widely recognized as a dangerous activity. It has been banned in 44 states, but Texas is not one of them. There is currently proposed legislation that will make texting illegal in Texas, as well.
On Tuesday of this week, an anti-texting bill was reintroduced. Some supporters of the bill are optimistic that Governor Greg Abbott will prove to be more receptive than former Governor Rick Perry was. In 2011, the Texas legislature passed a texting ban; but Perry vetoed the measure.
Forty cities in Texas have passed city ordinances which ban texting and driving, including Arlington and Denton. Some cities also ban the use of any hand-held device when driving.
According to Matt Hirsch, a spokesperson for Abbott during the campaign last year, Governor Abbott has expressed support for the current laws that are in place, including prohibiting the use of cell phones in school zones and by young drivers. He also expressed an aversion to government mandates which tend to micromanage adults and their driving habits.
Many advocates of a texting-while-driving ban are the loved ones of people who died in crashes that were believed to be caused by distracted driving associated with cell phone use.
Learn more about the proposed legislation and distracted driving in this ongoing series.
January 28th, 2015
Took this awesome pic of i-10 and i-45 right at the northern edge of downtown Houston. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At about 2 a.m. in Houston, Texas, yesterday, a 23-year-old man was driving in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class near South Rice on South Braeswood; and a passenger was in the car with him. According to authorities, the driver lost control, veered off of the road, struck several cans, and crashed into a tree. The Mercedes then burst into flames. The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, and the driver was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening. The driver has since been booked in the Harris County Jail without bail. He has been charged with the murder of the passenger. It’s likely that the formal charge is vehicular manslaughter.
In Texas, if a driver accidentally causes an accident which results in the death of a passenger in the vehicle, occupants of other cars, pedestrians, or bicyclists, he or she may be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
At least one of the following factors usually exists if a driver is charged with vehicular manslaughter:
- The driver was driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or
- The driver was driving recklessly or negligently or breaking some other traffic law.
More about negligent, careless, or reckless driving and what may constitute reckless driving follows:
- Reckless driving usually involves demonstration of a disregard for traffic laws.
- Driving 25 miles per hour or more over the speed limit posted is considered reckless.
- Trying to evade police officers is considered reckless.
- Racing another automobile on public streets is deemed careless.
- Passing another vehicle on a two-lane highway when there is limited visibility of oncoming traffic is another example of reckless driving.
January 21st, 2015
Deutsch: Verkehrsunfall mit zwei PKW. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Two young brothers, ages 6 and 11, were killed in a head-on crash last Thursday night at about 6:30 p.m. at the San Jacinto River on Beaumont Highway. Their mother suffered a broken leg and two broken arms in the collision. According to Harris County deputies, a 19-year-old driver was attempting to pass another automobile when he crashed head-on into the SUV the children and their mother were riding in. The devastating collision occurred near Crosby, Texas.
The accident is still under investigation, but at least one deputy suggested that the 19-year-old was driving carelessly when the fatal crash occurred. There are risks involved with passing other vehicles. It’s best to weigh priorities and be careful not to take unnecessary risks. Passing vehicles on narrow highways frequently results in collisions for various reasons, such as:
- The driver who is passing misjudges the speed of the on-coming vehicle.
- The driver who is passing makes a wrong judgment about the amount of distance required to complete the maneuver.
- Motorists often pull out of intersections, not realizing a car is in the process of passing another vehicle.
- The driver who is passing fails to check to the rear and doesn’t realize a car from behind has begun trying to pass on the left.
Passing vehicles on Texas streets and highways is a complicated maneuver. A driver should never attempt to pass unless there is no doubt that there is plenty of time to safely pass. You can be confident it is the right time to pass when the following conditions exist:
- You can clearly see the oncoming lane, and no vehicles are approaching.
- There is no doubt in your mind that you can safely complete the maneuver.
- There are no double lines that indicate no passing is allowed.
- No intersections are ahead.
- No cars are currently behind you trying to pass.
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