The newest iteration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report details the ever-increasing risks faced by pedestrians as they age. Hopefully, government officials can begin to understand these trends and install the types of safety mechanisms that can go a long way toward protecting persons on foot.
The research looked at the estimated 47,000 pedestrian fatalities which occurred between 2001 and 2010 across the country. Among those fatalities, persons over the age of 75 were killed at double the rate of persons younger than 34. The CDC worries that these heightened numbers of deaths will show no signs of slowing down as the population of the country ages.
The CDC also figures that the disparity in demographics might have to do with decreased vision, physical ability, and mental functions. The agency also notes that a vehicle strike on an older person is far more likely to result in a fatality compared with a younger individual. So even though younger persons take more walks, they’re more likely to bounce back when an accident does occur.
Those weren’t the only interesting trends. 75% of fatalities took place in a city setting, while men were more likely to be killed than their female counterparts. Researchers estimate that the latter fact can be attributed to men’s proclivity to put themselves into more dangerous situations.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a report detailing the work being done by the agency’s Office of Minority Health. The report comes as part of Minority Health Month, which will find the organization releasing similar informational materials up until the end of April.
The OMH came about in 2010 thanks to the Affordable Care Act. This branch of the FDA seeks to protect the health of those persons whose backgrounds make them susceptible to certain health conditions. The Director of the office explains that health problems can stem from a host of factors, including such things as genetics, non existent insurance, and an inability to gain access to the type of healthcare that many might take for granted.
To combat these issues and others, the OMH seeks to improve diversity both in clinical trials and on scientific advisory committees to the FDA. When a wider array of voices is leant to both of these areas of study, public health can be improved greatly. The OMH has also partnered with various universities in order to improve research into disparities that could contribute to health issues. This past December, a 4,500 person conference was held to get a sense of what can be done to address these disparities.
Hopefully, these efforts can continue to evolve and persons of every race and economic background can receive the healthcare they need and deserve.
It seems like every week there’s a new study that relates both the dangers of and the prevalence of distracted driving. Until drivers get the message, though, it’s up to authorities and safety advocates to keep pressing the point. Kicking this habit to the curb may take a lot of work, but it’s certainly worth it.
This latest survey from SurveyU and Bridgestone queried a number of drivers between the ages of 16 and 21. What they found suggests a frightening trend: younger drivers are aware of the dangers of texting and talking on a cellphone at the wheel thanks to a multitude of Public Service Announcements and laws, but this awareness doesn’t necessarily dissuade them from the activity.
75% of respondents said they don’t mind refraining from cellphone usage while driving. The rest admitted that they saw no problem with using their phones. More than a third admitted to daydreaming, and speeding was also common among respondents. About a third also admitted to texting, although many said they think their friends text at the wheel.
Young drivers most typically turned to dangerous distractions when quite literally left to their own (electronic) devices. 95% said that they have talked on their phones when they were the only ones in the car, and a number of the young drivers said that they texted or emailed at the wheel. Some even admitted to watching videos.
State Farm and the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital recently partnered for a study that sought to determine patterns of teen driving behavior. There’s good news and there’s bad news. On the plus side, 54% of the teens queried by the survey in 2011 explained that they wear seatbelts whenever they’re a passenger in a vehicle. And the number of teens who admitted riding as a passenger in a vehicle driven by a potentially intoxicated teen driver dropped between 2008 and 2011 by a total of 14%. However, some dangerous behaviors are still common practice. 33% of the teens questioned admitted to emailing or texting at the wheel, and the number of teens killed in fatal crashes involving a driver with at least some Blood Alcohol content increased by 3%.
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Recently, researchers and medical professionals with NYU Langone Medical Center attempted to get a better grasp of what types of circumstances typically lead cyclists and pedestrians to be involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery features the eye-opening results, the understanding of which could improve safety on the West Coast as well.
By studying over 1,400 pedestrian or cyclist patients who were injured in a crash over the course of two and a half years, researchers noticed certain trends. For one thing, the presence of a crosswalk and walk signal did not equate to safe conditions. A whopping 44% of the pedestrians injured received those injuries when they crossed the street in the crosswalk after the walk signal told them it was the right time to do so.
This suggests that attentiveness is perhaps the most important factor in avoiding an injury, something somewhat seconded by the fact that distraction in the form of electronic devices accounted for 8% of collisions.
Also eye-opening: under 33% of those cyclists analyzed had been utilizing a helmet when they were hit. This is despite the fact that such protective devices can go a long way toward protecting riders.
Taxis also proved to be a scourge. 25% of pedestrians were struck by such a vehicle, a number that jumped to 40% among cyclists.
A study carried out by an organization called the Erie Insurance Group claims that most distractions actually stem not from cellphones and the like, but from the motor vehicle operator simply being lost in their own thoughts while on the road. By analyzing traffic fatalities reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2010 and 2011, the insurance company was able to deduce that 62% of fatal vehicle crashes related to distraction could be attributed to the driver being focused more on their own thoughts than their driving environment. Cellphones, for their part, are purported to have accounted for 12% of fatal crashes. The study also compiled a list of other distractions that plague drivers: passenger conversations, pets, and eating and drinking.
Click here to learn more about the study.
Despite the widespread belief that texting and driving can be detrimental to one’s ability to safely navigate the roads, the phenomenon is still new enough that the effect texting bans actually have on traffic safety has not been fully studied. It could take years to fully determine how beneficial texting bans can be, but one such study into the issue arrives at some interesting results.
Economists from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee were responsible for the research, which sought to figure out what sorts of texting bans produced the best results following passage. There are multiple levels of what one could consider a “texting ban;” texting could be a secondary offense, a primary offense, or a state or city might decide to ban all handheld cellphone usage altogether.
These bans vary on a state by state basis. The aforementioned researchers compared fatality rates between 2007 and 2010 in those states which had some sort of ban in place. Their research shows a very limited correlation between texting bans and lower fatality rates. Secondary texting bans, in which a person must first be pulled over for some other offense, were shown to have little to no effect, while primary bans saw single vehicle fatal accidents in which only one person was inside at the time get cut down by 8%.
However, after a few months had set in and drivers seemingly grew accustomed to the new law, the rate climbed to pre-ban levels. When cellphone usage was banned totally, this reoccurrence was slower.
Yesterday, we spoke briefly about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study posted in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that showed Americans texted and used their cellphones behind the wheel at greater rates than citizens in much of Europe. When it came to talking on the phone in the past 30 days, a whopping 70% of Americans copped to engaging in the activity, whereas every other European country surveyed besides Portugal posted rates lower than 50%.
A New York Times piece attempts to get to the bottom of this phenomenon, and it features statements from the CDC’s principal deputy director. She worries that cellphone usage does not appear to be going down despite the passage of laws and the enactment of awareness campaigns across the entire country. She believes that our country’s increasing reliance on mobile devices has led to a reluctance to part with our phones even when not doing so could be hazardous.
It’s suggested that the difference between our country and Europe might come down to differences in the culture. Or, it could have to do with the way laws are passed in our country versus those in Europe. In some of the nations studied, lawmakers at the national level have passed laws against cellphone behavior, whereas in America, the issue has been left up to the discretion of each state.
The CDC spokesperson would like to see more done to combat the issue.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drivers in the United States are more likely to text or talk on their cellphones than are those in much of Western Europe. Vehicle operators were asked their driving habits over the month prior as part of the research, and in the United States, almost a third of respondents admitted that they had read or sent an email or a text in that time period. Although Portugal posted a similar percentage, only about 15% of drivers in Spain texted thusly. For phone calls, the results were even more disparate. 69% of American admitted talking on their phones, compared with 21% in the U.K. and 59% in Portugal, the highest percentage among European countries.
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A panoply of voices have chimed in on the advisability of a texting and driving ban in the state of Texas. A new report takes a look at the many sources of division, including opposing studies that have come to some very different conclusions.
The Texas Transportation Institute a few years ago attempted to gauge just how much attention is compromised when an individual is busy texting at the wheel. Drivers on a closed course were required to press a button whenever they noticed a light on the dash blink on. If a person was texting, their response time was shown to have been delayed to three or four seconds, double what it would be otherwise.
But the Highway Loss Data Institute looked at crash rates in four states and came to a conclusion that seems to favor not adopting a texting ban. Louisiana, Minnesota, Washington, and our own California have each passed a measure against texting, but among teenage drivers, crash rates actually went up immediately after passage. A spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety thinks the ban may have caused people to take pains to hide their phones, in essence removing their focus from the road even further.
A member of the Distraction Advocate Network doesn’t buy into that study. She points to research from the NHTSA which suggests that phone usage does indeed go down as time passes and education and enforcement efforts geared toward the ban are put forth in earnest.