Recent analysis indicates cell phone distracted driving crashes vastly under-reported
Source: National Safety Council
Today, the National Safety Council released findings from a recent analysis of national statistics on fatal motor vehicle crashes, in a report entitled, “Crashes Involving Cell Phones: Challenges of Collecting and Reporting Reliable Crash Data,” funded in part by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. The report reviewed 180 fatal crashes from 2009 to 2011, where evidence indicated driver cell phone use. Of these fatal crashes, in 2011 only 52% were coded in the national data as involving cell phone use.
Even when drivers admitted cell phone use during a fatal crash, the Council’s analysis found that in about one-half of these cases, the crash was not coded in Federal data (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatal Analysis Reporting System). In addition, there are an unknown number of cases in which cell phone use involvement in crashes is impossible to determine. One example would be a driver reading an email or text message on a phone who dies in a crash without any witnesses.
The report also brings up large differences in cell phone distraction fatal crashes reported by states. For instance, in 2011, Tennessee reported 93 fatal crashes that involved cell phone use, but New York, a state with a much larger population, reported only one. Texas reported 40, but its neighboring state Louisiana reported none.
Source: U.S. Postal Service
As a prelude to National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the Postal Service released its dog attack city rankings today and urged pet owners to help reduce the incidence of dog bites to letter carriers.
“If our letter carriers deem your loose dog to be a threat, you’ll be asked to pick up your mail at the Post Office until it’s safe to deliver,” said Ken Snavely, acting postmaster of Los Angeles, where 69 postal employees were attacked last year, placing the City of Angels as the most vicious for dog attacks. Nationwide, 5,879 postal employees were attacked.
Snavely noted that in situations where a dog roams the neighborhood, delivery to the owner’s neighbors could be curtailed as well. Additionally, when letter carriers come to a customer’s door, pet owners are asked to place dogs in a separate room and close the door, as many canines have been known to jump through screen and glass doors.
Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. Nearly 5,900 letter carriers were attacked last year, but that pales in comparison to the 4.7 million Americans annually bitten by dogs — more than half of whom are children — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Postal Service, the medical community, veterinarians and the insurance industry are working together to educate the public that dog bites are avoidable by declaring May 19-25 as National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
Safety of antidepressants in adults aged under 65: protocol for a cohort study using a large primary care database.
Source: BMC Psychiatry
Antidepressants are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in primary care in England and their use is increasing. This is largely due to longer durations of treatment of depression. Observational studies have shown some differences in adverse outcomes associated with different antidepressant drugs but relatively little is known about their relative safety particularly with long term use. The primary aim of this study is to determine the relative and absolute risks of pre-defined adverse events comparing different classes of antidepressant drugs in adults aged under 65 years and diagnosed with depression.
The study will identify a cohort of patients with a first recorded diagnosis of depression between 1/1/2000 and 31/07/2011, and made between the ages of 20 to 64 years using a large primary care database (QResearch). Patients will be followed up until 1/08/2012. Details of all prescriptions for antidepressants in patients in the cohort will be extracted, including the date of each prescription, the type of antidepressant drug, the dose and total quantity prescribed. Prospectively recorded data will be used to ascertain information on adverse outcomes that occurred during follow-up and after entry into the cohort. These are: all-cause mortality, suicide, attempted suicide/self-harm, sudden death, antidepressant overdose/poisoning, myocardial infarction, stroke/transient ischaemic attack, cardiac arrhythmia, epilepsy/seizures, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, falls, fractures, adverse drug reactions and motor vehicle crashes. Cox proportional hazard models will be used to estimate the association of the outcomes with class of antidepressant drug adjusting for potential confounding variables. The analyses will also examine associations by duration and dose and with the most frequently prescribed individual antidepressant drugs. Self-controlled case series analyses will be used to estimate the relative incidence of the outcomes of interest for defined time periods of antidepressant use.
The results of this study will help to establish the relative safety and balance of risks for different antidepressant drugs in people aged under 65.
Safety Report on Eliminating Impaired Driving
Source: National Transportation Safety Board
On May 14, 2013, the 25th anniversary of our nation’s deadliest drunk-driving crash, which killed 24 children and three adults in Carrollton, Ky., the NTSB’s five-member board voted unanimously to issue bold recommendations to help the United States reach zero and eliminate alcohol-impaired driving.
Bold steps are needed: On average, every hour, one person dies in a crash involving a drunk driver and 20 more people are injured, including three with debilitating injuries. That adds up quickly to yearly totals of nearly 10,000 deaths, 27,000 lives forever altered and another 146,000 injured.
The safety report and recommendations culminate a year-long effort by the NTSB to thoroughly examine this problem and develop a set of targeted interventions. The recommendations include:
- Reduce state BAC limits from 0.08 to 0.05 or lower
- Increase use of high-visibility enforcement
- Develop and deploy in-vehicle detection technology
- Require ignition interlocks for all offenders
- Improve use of administrative license actions
- Target and address repeat offenders
- Reinforce use and effectiveness of DWI courts
Helmet legislation and admissions to hospital for cycling related head injuries in Canadian provinces and territories: interrupted time series analysis
Source: British Medical Journal
To investigate the association between helmet legislation and admissions to hospital for cycling related head injuries among young people and adults in Canada.
Interrupted time series analysis using data from the National Trauma Registry Minimum Data Set.
Canadian provinces and territories; between 1994 and 2003, six of 10 provinces implemented helmet legislation.
All admissions (n=66 716) to acute care hospitals in Canada owing to cycling related injury between 1994 and 2008.
Main outcome measure
Rate of admissions to hospital for cycling related head injuries before and after the implementation of provincial helmet legislation.
Between 1994 and 2008, 66 716 hospital admissions were for cycling related injuries in Canada. Between 1994 and 2003, the rate of head injuries among young people decreased by 54.0% (95% confidence interval 48.2% to 59.8%) in provinces with helmet legislation compared with 33.1% (23.3% to 42.9%) in provinces and territories without legislation. Among adults, the rate of head injuries decreased by 26.0% (16.0% to 36.3%) in provinces with legislation but remained constant in provinces and territories without legislation. After taking baseline trends into consideration, however, we were unable to detect an independent effect of legislation on the rate of hospital admissions for cycling related head injuries.
Reductions in the rates of admissions to hospital for cycling related head injuries were greater in provinces with helmet legislation, but injury rates were already decreasing before the implementation of legislation and the rate of decline was not appreciably altered on introduction of legislation. While helmets reduce the risk of head injuries and we encourage their use, in the Canadian context of existing safety campaigns, improvements to the cycling infrastructure, and the passive uptake of helmets, the incremental contribution of provincial helmet legislation to reduce hospital admissions for head injuries seems to have been minimal.
See: Benefit of Cycle Helmet Laws to Reduce Head Injuries Still Uncertain (Science Daily)
Source: Environmental Health Perspectives
Metal content in lip products has been an issue of concern.
We measured lead and eight other metals in a convenience sample of 32 lip products used by young Asian women in Oakland, California, USA, and assessed potential health risks related to estimated intakes of these metals.
We analyzed lip products by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry and used previous estimates of lip product usage rates to determine daily oral intakes. We derived acceptable daily intakes (ADIs) based on information used to determine public health goals for exposure, and compared ADIs with estimated intakes to assess potential risks.
Most of the tested lip products contained high concentrations of titanium and aluminum. All examined products had detectable manganese. Lead was detected in 24 products (75%) with an average concentration of 0.36 ppm ± 0.39, including one sample with 1.32 ppm. When used at the estimated average daily rate, estimated intakes were >20% of ADIs derived for aluminum, cadmium, chromium and manganese. In addition, average daily use of 10 products tested would result in chromium intake exceeding our estimated ADI for chromium. For high rates of product use (above the 95th percentile) the percentages of samples with estimated metal intakes exceeding ADIs were 3% for aluminum, 68% for chromium, and 22% for manganese. Estimated intakes of lead were < 20% of ADIs for average and high use.
Cosmetics safety should be assessed not only by the presence of hazardous contents, but also by comparing estimated exposures with health based standards. In addition to lead, metals such as aluminum, cadmium, chromium and manganese require further investigation.
New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Security Force Assistance: More Detailed Planning and Improved Access to Information Needed to Guide Efforts of Advisor Teams in Afghanistan. GAO-13-381, April 30.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654290.pdf
2. National Preparedness: Efforts to Address the Medical Needs of Children in a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear Incident. GAO-13-438, April 30.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654265.pd
New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Toxic Substances: EPA Has Increased Efforts to Assess and Control Chemicals but Could Strengthen Its Approach. GAO-13-249, March 22.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653277.pdf
2. State and Local Governments’ Fiscal Outlook: April 2013 Update. GAO-13-546SP, April 29.
Fatal Injuries in Offshore Oil and Gas Operations — United States, 2003–2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)
During 2003–2010, the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry (onshore and offshore, combined) had a collective fatality rate seven times higher than for all U.S. workers (27.1 versus 3.8 deaths per 100,000 workers). The 11 lives lost in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion provide a reminder of the hazards involved in offshore drilling. To identify risk factors to offshore oil and gas extraction workers, CDC analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), a comprehensive database of fatal work injuries, for the period 2003–2010. This report describes the results of that analysis, which found that 128 fatalities in activities related to offshore oil and gas operations occurred during this period. Transportation events were the leading cause (65 [51%]); the majority of these involved aircraft (49 [75%]). Nearly one fourth (31 [24%]) of the fatalities occurred among workers whose occupations were classified as “transportation and material moving.” To reduce fatalities in offshore oil and gas operations, employers should ensure that the most stringent applicable transportation safety guidelines are followed.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
The IIF program released two data products on April 25, 2013.
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) released its final fatal occupational injury data for 2011, which include detailed data on fatal injuries involving contractors being reported for the first time. A summary of final fatal data from 2011 can be accessed here. More information on the contractor data now available in CFOI can be found here.
The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII)-Case and Demographics released the first ever report on the details of case circumstances and worker characteristics for cases involving days of job transfer or restriction (DJTR) in six selected industry sub-sectors. The report and additional tables and charts on cases involving job transfer or restriction can be found here.
Voice-To-Text Apps Offer No Driving Safety Benefit; As With Manual Texting, Reaction Times Double
Source: Texas Transportation Institute
Texting drivers may believe they’re being more careful when they use the voice-to-text method, but new research findings suggest that those applications offer no real safety advantage over manual texting.
The study was sponsored by the Southwest Region University Transportation Center and conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). SWUTC is a part of the University Transportation Centers Program, which is a federally-funded program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration.
The study is the first of its kind, as it is based on the performance of 43 research participants driving an actual vehicle on a closed course. Other research efforts have evaluated manual versus voice-activated tasks using devices installed in a vehicle, but the TTI analysis is the first to compare voice-to-text and manual texting on a handheld device in an actual driving environment.
Drivers first navigated the course without any use of cell phones. Each driver then traveled the course three more times performing a series of texting exercises – once using each of two voice-to-text applications (Siri® for the iPhone and Vlingo® for Android), and once texting manually. Researchers then measured the time it took each driver to complete the tasks, and also noted how long it took for the drivers to respond to a light which came on at random intervals during the exercises.
Major findings from the study included:
- Driver response times were significantly delayed no matter which texting method was used. In each case, drivers took about twice as long to react as they did when they weren’t texting. With slower reaction times, drivers are less able to take action in response to sudden roadway hazards, such as a swerving vehicle or a pedestrian in the street.
- The amount of time that drivers spent looking at the roadway ahead was significantly less when they were texting, no matter which texting method was used.
- For most tasks, manual texting required slightly less time than the voice-to-text method, but driver performance was roughly the same with both.
- Drivers felt less safe when they were texting, but felt safer when using a voice-to-text application than when texting manually, even though driving performance suffered equally with both methods.
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association
In early 2013, GHSA asked its member state highway safety offices to provide their preliminary motorcyclist fatality counts for 2012, as they had done the prior three years. All 50 states and the District of Columbia supplied data. Some states suggested why their numbers had increased or decreased.
Based upon the preliminary data provided, GHSA projects that the number of motorcyclist traffic fatalities in the United States increased about 9 percent from 2011 to 2012.
The report points out that the economy is expected to contribute to more motorcyclist fatalities. With people having more disposable income, more motorcycles will be purchased. At the same time, with the relative high price of gasoline, more people will choose motorcycles to save fuel costs.
It also recommends several proven countermeasures that can help cut the number of motorcycle fatalities on our nation’s roadways.
Source: University of Nebraska Public Policy Center
This document represents the joint work efforts to date of a work group from the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals in partnership with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center. (©Association of Threat Assessment Professionals; CRC Press, A Taylor Francis Group; University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.) The definition of those terms without a specific source reference is based on the common usage in the field of threat management.
Using Public Surveillance Systems for Crime Control and Prevention: A Practical Guide for Law Enforcement and Their Municipal Partners
Source: Urban Institute
Municipalities across the country are in a constant search for effective public safety interventions that will curb crime and improve the livability and economic well-being of their communities. This is particularly true among law enforcement agencies that embrace a community policing philosophy, which has become a key component of policing efforts in most mid- and large-sized law enforcement agencies across the United States. While many believe that the adoption of community policing has led to more efficient and effective policing strategies, law enforcement agencies continue to grapple with limited resources and are therefore interested in employing new, cost-effective tools that can enhance their community policing efforts. Among the latest wave of public safety tools is the use of public surveillance systems, often referred to as Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV). While public surveillance systems are widely employed in the business sector to improve security, until recently the use of cameras to monitor public spaces has been much less common in the United States, in part due to concerns about privacy and civil liberties. Community policing, which embodies a combination of proactive crime prevention and community engagement with more traditional policing functions, may benefit from this technology because public surveillance can enhance problem solving strategies, aid in arrests and investigations, and ultimately increase offenders’ perceptions that they will be both caught and prosecuted. Public surveillance systems might also yield a secondary impact, serving to increase legitimate users’ perceptions of safety and thus their presence in public areas, which in turn may increase guardianship, improve police-community partnerships, and reduce crime.
The potential contributions to policing and public safety of public surveillance systems perhaps explain why their use has expanded in recent years. Unfortunately, these investments of scarce public safety resources are being made in the absence of research documenting the decisions behind camera investment and use and the lessons learned by cities that have employed this technology.
This guidebook aims to fill that gap, detailing the results of an in-depth qualitative data collection effort to examine and synthesize the experiences of three large urban cities that have invested in public surveillance systems in recent years. It serves as a companion document to an evaluation of the impact of public surveillance cameras in three cities that found that cameras can have a significant and cost-effective impact on crime.10 While cameras hold promise as an effective crime prevention tool, however, it is important to note that their impact is not a given, and varies considerably based on where cameras are located and the degree to which they are monitored and integrated into other law enforcement activities. This report is therefore designed to guide city administrators, law enforcement agencies, and their municipal partners in making decisions regarding their public surveillance systems in a manner that will yield the greatest intended impact. The guidebook answers many of the important questions that arise when implementing or expanding a public surveillance system. It details the various aspects of a system that are integral in realizing a cost-beneficial impact on crime, including budgetary considerations, camera types and locations, how best to monitor cameras, and the role that video footage plays in investigations and prosecutions. This publication also highlights the most prominent lessons learned in an effort to guide both city administrators and jurisdictions that are currently investing in cameras for public safety purposes, as well as inform those that are contemplating doing so.
Consumption of analgesics before a marathon and the incidence of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and renal problems: a cohort study
Objectives To prevent pain inhibiting their performance, many athletes ingest over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics before competing. We aimed at defining the use of analgesics and the relation between OTC analgesic use/dose and adverse events (AEs) during and after the race, a relation that has not been investigated to date.
Design Prospective (non-interventional) cohort study, using an online questionnaire.
Setting The Bonn marathon 2010.
Participants 3913 of 7048 participants in the Bonn marathon 2010 returned their questionnaires.
Primary and secondary outcomes Intensity of analgesic consumption before sports; incidence of AEs in the cohort of analgesic users as compared to non-users.
Results There was no significant difference between the premature race withdrawal rate in the analgesics cohort and the cohort who did not take analgesics (‘controls’). However, race withdrawal because of gastrointestinal AEs was significantly more frequent in the analgesics cohort than in the control. Conversely, withdrawal because of muscle cramps was rare, but it was significantly more frequent in controls. The analgesics cohort had an almost 5 times higher incidence of AEs (overall risk difference of 13%). This incidence increased significantly with increasing analgesic dose. Nine respondents reported temporary hospital admittance: three for temporary kidney failure (post-ibuprofen ingestion), four with bleeds (post-aspirin ingestion) and two cardiac infarctions (post-aspirin ingestion). None of the control reported hospital admittance.
Conclusions The use of analgesics before participating in endurance sports may cause many potentially serious, unwanted AEs that increase with increasing analgesic dose. Analgesic use before endurance sports appears to pose an unrecognised medical problem as yet. If verifiable in other endurance sports, it requires the attention of physicians and regulatory authorities.
Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of Ginkgo Biloba Extract (CASRN 90045-36-6) in F344/N Rats and B6C3F1/N Mice
Source: National Institutes of Health (National Toxicology Program)
Under the conditions of these 2-year gavage studies, there was some evidence of carcinogenic activity of Ginkgo biloba extract in male F344/N rats based on increased incidences of thyroid gland follicular cell adenoma. The increased incidences of mononuclear cell leukemia and hepatocellular adenoma may have been related to Ginkgo biloba extract administration. There was some evidence of carcinogenic activity of Ginkgo biloba extract in female F344/N rats based on increased incidences of thyroid gland follicular cell neoplasms. Increased occurrence of respiratory epithelium adenomas in the nose may have been related to Ginkgo biloba extract administration. There was clear evidence of carcinogenic activity of Ginkgo biloba extract in male B6C3F1/N mice based on increased incidences of hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatoblastoma. The increased incidences of thyroid gland follicular cell adenoma were also related to Ginkgo biloba extract administration. There was clear evidence of carcinogenic activity of Ginkgo biloba extract in female B6C3F1/N mice based on increased incidences of hepatocellular adenoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and hepatoblastoma.
Administration of Ginkgo biloba extract resulted in increased incidences of nonneoplastic lesions in the liver, thyroid gland, and nose of male and female rats and mice and the forestomach of male and female mice. Increased severity of nephropathy in male rats was also due to administration of Ginkgo biloba extract.
New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Securities And Exchange Commission: Continued Management Attention Would Strengthen Internal Supervisory Controls. GAO-13-314, April 18.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653956.pdf
2. Defense Infrastructure: Improved Guidance Needed for Estimating Alternatively Financed Project Liabilities. GAO-13-337, April 18.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653911.pdf
3. 911 Services: Most States Used 911 Funds for Intended Purposes, but FCC Could Improve Its Reporting on States’ Use of Funds. GAO-13-376, April 18.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653930.pdf
4. Satellite Control: Long-Term Planning and Adoption of Commercial Practices Could Improve DOD’s Operation. GAO-13-315, April 18.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654010.pdf
5. Workplace Safety and Health: OSHA Can Better Respond to State-Run Programs Facing Challenges. GAO-13-320, April 16.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653800.pdf
6. Status of Funding, Equipment, and Training for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. GAO-13-367R, March 20.