The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recently released data on traffic fatalities brought some good news. Fatal crashes last year reached an all-time low since record-keeping of such accidents began in 1949. The decline was nearly countrywide, with all but a few states reporting improved safety numbers. Illinois was among the states showing improvements, with fatalities decreasing 26% since 2006 on state roadways. However, just as safety officials were heralding the good news, some surprising news emerged. Despite the long trend of incredible improvements, initial figures on the first quarter of 2012 showed traffic fatalities had increasing dramatically.
If there is one thing as common as the use of cell phones, it’s concerns about the safety of cell phones. We worry about the safety of our information on cell phones -- as they may get “smarter”, so do their hackers. Scientists even disagree about their effect on our health – maybe they cause cancer, maybe they don’t. But one thing we know for sure: cell phone use does and has led to an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities. This is why more and more states have enacted laws regarding cell use while operating a vehicle. Today, most are aware not only of the physical risks, but that we risk tickets, fines, and even jail time. There is little doubt that such a driver can also be held liable for any damages and injuries they cause. But in a recent surprising lawsuit, the question was raised, “Can the person on the other end of the line be held equally liable?”
Spring has a dual personality. As winter fades, the sun is shining more, the breezes are warmer, and April showers really do bring May flowers. But those same showers also reflect the darker side to spring – harsh and violent storms. Not only do rain and lightning storms increase in frequency as the warmer months approach, North America’s deadly tornado season spans from April to June. While avoiding injury from these storms can be as simple as staying indoors, for those whose jobs require working outside, staying safe can be a challenge. One study by the Bureau of Labor statistics noted that eleven job-types classified as “outdoor work” made up a third of the reported job-related fatalities. So as spring storm season revs up, workers should understand the variety of hazards they may face.
The recent crash of the Costa Concordia cruise ship stunned even veteran cruise travelers and boating enthusiasts. Disturbing pictures of the listing ship are often accompanied by the rhetorical tagline: “Too big to sink?” In fact, the ship’s mammoth size and relative newness made the crash all the more shocking. Launched in 2006, the Costa Concordia was able to comfortably carry over 4,000 passengers and crew, was in excellent shape, and outfitted with modern sailing and safety technology. Despite having, in theory, everything needed to keep her passengers safe, this mammoth ship was undone by the same flaw that often causes such accidents: human error.
Many of us are aware of the hazards in our workplace. Even for those who work in relatively low-risk environments, we all know injuries can and do happen. This is why workers’ compensation exists, to help workers who are injured while on the job. While most of us aren’t aware of the finer procedures and regulations surrounding the benefit, we are at least generally aware of its availability. What you may not know, however, is that workers’ compensation is not solely for helping injured workers. It may also provide benefits for survivors when a worker is killed on the job.
More than any other time of year, the holiday season brings with it a host of parties and gatherings. From small family get-togethers to mandatory work functions, from glitzy New Year’s galas to neighborhood cookie exchanges, most of us will be socializing a lot more. With these parties often comes not just a banquet of rich foods, but a bevy of drinks -- wine with dinner, a champagne toast, and that seemingly innocuous punch or eggnog that actually packs a wallop. But an unfortunate side effect of all this holiday cheer is that more people are driving under the influence. It is helpful, therefore, to be aware of some facts that may help you and your loved ones avoid a tragedy this holiday season.
A powerful explosion which destroyed a grain elevator at the Bartlett Grain Company in northeast Kansas also claimed six lives. The accident, which occurred on the evening of October 29, killed four Bartlett employees, Chad Roberts, 20, Ryan Federinko, 21, Curtis Field, 21, John Burke, 24, as well as two private grain inspectors, Travis Keil, 34 and Darrek Klahr. Also as a result of the explosion, two others received serious injuries which required their admittance to the University of Kansas Hospital’s burn unit. As officials prepare to investigate the exact cause of the explosion, a long history of injuries and fatalities for workers at grain elevators point to the danger seemingly inherent in the industry.
When you’ve been injured at work, many things occupy your mind. “Will I ever get better?” “How am I going to pay for my medical and personal bills?” “Will I get fired if I can’t work?” “Is my injury covered by workers’ compensation?” The number of issues which arise can be incredibly overwhelming, especially when you consider the complicated network of employment and workers compensation laws and procedures that surround such an injury. Therefore, workers often seek out the guidance of an attorney to ensure they are protected when such an injury occurs. When meeting with your attorney, it’s important to provide them with information vital to the case. By arriving at your first meeting with all the pertinent documents and facts surrounding your injury, you can help to both expedite and ensure the success of your case.
Most parents or caregivers would never allow a child to ride in a car without using safety restraints. Today, we are more aware that failing to use such devices is not only dangerous, but can be considered a criminal offense and/or child endangerment. As a result of this increased awareness, the rate of children injured in traffic accidents has fallen steadily. Unfortunately, an ongoing safety problem is the improper use of car seats. Despite caregivers’ best intentions, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that three out of four parents use child restraints incorrectly. All caregivers, therefore, can benefit from improving their knowledge of proper car seat use.
As the weather turns colder, people around the country are preparing for traditional fall and winter activities. While for many that means football and holidays, others are gearing up for the multiple hunting seasons this time of year brings. Hunters are planning their trips, upgrading their gear, buying their permits or licenses, all the while imagining bagging that twelve-point deer or thirty-pound wild turkey. But any experienced hunter will tell you that though hunting is fun and exciting, it should always be taken deadly seriously. While jokes abound about the politician who bagged his biggest contributor, or the group of hunters who took out an entire herd of wild beers, hunting safety is no laughing matter.