car-seat-safety-400-04204763d-200x300For decades now parents have understood that, when traveling by car, the best way to protect their young children from injury in the event of an accident was to make sure the children were properly secured in their car seats. But questions relating to the proper use of car seats still plaque parents and caregivers today: What type of car seat does my child need? Have I installed the car seat correctly? At what age should I turn the car seat around?

New Jersey is one of eight states to have laws stipulating that children under the age of two years be placed in rear-facing car seats. Studies have shown that these seats offer the most protection for very young children in front- and side-impact collisions. Now, a new study reveals this is true for rear-impact accidents as well. To learn more, read “Don’t turn around: . . .”

accidenti-fatalities-400-07681738d-300x162In 2015 New Jersey joined several other states in adopting a traffic safety strategy to cut the number of traffic accident-related deaths in half by the year 2030, yet traffic fatalities in the State continue to rise.

A recent report by the New Jersey State Police revealed there were 46 accident-related deaths in the State this past January, one more than in January 2017 and four more than in January 2016. Distracted driving was identified as a major contributor to this increasing fatality rate, leading some to believe that the eventual introduction of self-driving cars could play a major role in reducing the number of accidents and related injuries and deaths in the State. To learn more, read “NJ Counting on Self-Driving Cars to Cut Traffic Deaths by Half.”

drowsy-driving-400-05906446d-300x200We’re overtired, overindulged and overstimulated and it is affecting our driving. In fact, recent data shows just how serious these issues, particularly drowsy driving, have become and automakers are making strides in doing something to help combat our bad driving habits and reduce the number of accidents on our roadways.

The risks associated with drunk driving and distracted driving have been widely publicized, but not as much attention has been given to the dangers of drowsy driving. A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that it’s a bigger problem than originally suspected. In fact, the Foundation reported that 9.5 percent of all crashes in the study involved sleep-deprived drivers, as did 10.8 percent of the more serious accidents. This contradicts an earlier federal report that put the drowsy-driving accident rate at only 1 to 2 percent.

Most drivers admit to being aware of the risks associated with driving while tired, yet we still continue to fight the need for sleep. In the meantime, automobile manufacturers are looking for ways to help alleviate the problem. To learn more about this threat to roadway safety and what steps are being taken to combat it, read “Drowsy driving is eight times more prevalent than government data suggests, says AAA.”

Photo of flashing emergency lights; NJ's law requires motorist to move over when they see flashing lights to avoid injury to emergency personnelWhat do you do when you’re driving and you see emergency lights flashing on the side of the road? What does the law say you should do?

In New Jersey, the law requires motorists to switch lanes, provided they can do so safely, and reduce their speed when passing emergency vehicles pulled off to the shoulder of the road. This law is intended to help protect emergency responders and those they are assisting from potential injuries from passing motorists. Emergency responders, however, are concerned that too many motorists either are unaware of the law or choose to ignore it. To find out more about motorists’ reactions in emergency situations, read “Do you follow NJ’s Move Over law? Cops don’t feel safe.”

toy-safety-400-06429095d-300x207Could the toys on your child’s holiday wish list be hiding the risk for potential injury? Before you fulfill those wishes, you might want to check out this year’s “Top 10 Worst Toy” list issued by the consumer safety group, World Against Toys Causing Harm, also known as WATCH.

This group has been issuing such lists for more than 40 years to alert consumers to the potential hazards hidden in some of the season’s “must-have” toys. Conversely, an industry trade group known as The Toy Association has criticized WATCH for failing to test the toys on its lists and needlessly scaring parents.

According to The Toy Association, toys must meet stringent safety requirements before they can be sold in the U.S.  WATCH, however, questions the adequacy of these standards, noting a high number of recalls. To learn more about this safety debate and to see which toys made this year’s list, read “Safety Group Unveils Top 10 Worst Toy List for 2017.”

Photo of woman behind the wheel of a car yawning depicts growing problem fatigued driving poses on nation's roadsEvery state in the nation has laws against drunk driving, and most have laws against using cell phones and engaging in other distracting behaviors while behind the wheel. Few states, however, have addressed the dangers of fatigued driving.

New Jersey is one of only two states that currently have laws designed to crack down on fatigued driving. Under New Jersey law, sleep-deprived drivers involved in fatal accidents could face charges of vehicular homicide.

It is estimated that sleep-deprived drivers are involved in more than 300,000 accidents every year and that over 6,000 of those accidents are fatal, according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Often drowsy drivers can exhibit behaviors similar to those of drunk drivers – impaired judgment, slower reaction times – putting them at greater risks for accidents. The condition is difficult to prove and few law enforcement officers are trained to recognize it. To learn more about the dangers of drowsy driving, the efforts that could help reduce the associated risks, and why enforcement of these efforts is so difficult, read “Why It’s Hard to Crack Down on Drowsy Driving.”

vehicle-technologies-400-04836694d-300x200Car buyers today are hard-pressed to find vehicles that aren’t equipped with technologies designed to make things easier and safer for drivers, but do these technologies actually accomplish that? Not according to recent research by the AAA Foundation. In fact, the research has shown that voice-activated programming takes drivers’ attention away from the road for longer than they realize, increasing the risk of crashes and injuries.

One of the problems is that drivers often find the in-vehicle “infotainment” systems complicated and frustrating. Is the technology at fault or is it the way in which drivers use the technology that causes the problem? Read “Deadly distractions? . . .” and decide for yourself.

practice-conditions-400-07338977d-300x216

There is no denying the importance of practice and training in sports, but at what risk? It seems every summer there are reports of athletes, particularly student athletes, who succumb to heat-related injuries while practicing for the upcoming season. Often these practice sessions are held in the heat of the summer before classes even begin. Is enough being done to protect these young athletes from injury or conditions like heat stroke which can be life-threatening?

A recent national study by the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), which is located at the University of Connecticut, revealed that not all states are implementing safety measures designed to protect the health and safety of their high school athletes. Unfortunately, according to this sports safety research and advocacy group, it seems many states don’t consider making changes until a tragedy occurs.

To learn more about some of the steps that can be taken to protect high school athletes from heat-related injuries, read “Study Finds Safety Guidelines Aren’t Always Implemented for High School Athletes.”

 

baseball-fan-injury-400-04973543d-239x300A day out at the ballpark is a popular summer family pastime but sometimes accidents happen. Foul balls and far-flung bats can find their way off the field and into the stands posing the risk of injury to fans. Recently, an 11-month-old child was hit by a foul ball while in attendance at a minor league baseball game. Fortunately, the child was quickly released from the hospital, but an injury like this is not an isolated occurrence.

While ballparks are taking steps to protect their fans from injuries, fans are reminded of their obligation to be on guard for potential hazards. To see what local NJ ballparks are doing and to learn what you can do to help yourself, read “After balls hits baby in face, a look at how NJ ballparks keep fans safe.”

rip-currents-400-04208127d-300x300For many who live in New Jersey, a trip to the beach is an enjoyable summer tradition, but fun can quickly turn to tragedy for those who don’t pay attention to surf forecasts.

Already this year, the Jersey shore has seen more fatalities and injuries related to rip currents than in all of the 2016 summer season. Rip currents are strong, swift channels of water that can carry swimmers out to sea before they even realize the danger. These currents move at speeds ranging from one to eight feet per second – faster than even an Olympic swimmer can swim. While rip currents rarely pull swimmers under water, they can pull them far from the shoreline. That’s when panic sets in. Swimmers who try to swim against the current tire out and can either drown or suffer injuries that require hospitalization.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) advises beach-goers to check the surf conditions before venturing into the water and, if you do get caught in a rip current, stay calm. See NOAA’s video for more rip current safety tips.