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.

helmets-400-04409904d-300x200Does your child wear a helmet every time he or she rides a bike? What about when rollerblading or riding a scooter or skateboard? With summer approaching, these activities become more popular, affording children the opportunity to get both fresh air and exercise. That’s great provided children practice good safety habits.

Research recently showed that more than 425,000 children are injured each year as a result of wheeled sports. While broken bones are the most frequently reported injury, serious head injuries also rank fairly high, leading doctors to emphasize the importance of wearing safety helmets when engaged in any wheeled sporting activity.

On a positive note, the research showed a significant decrease in the number of bicycle-related injuries; however, injuries from another wheeled sport have been on the rise. Do you know which one? Read “Falls sent 426,000 kids to ERs in a year, new study finds” to find out.

drug-related accidents- photo of pills spilling from prescription bottlesAlthough alcohol-related accidents are on the decline, accidents involving drivers impaired by drugs – including prescription medications – are on the rise.

Statistics relating to drug use and fatal motor vehicle accidents are revealing. It isn’t always the use of illegal drugs or the misuse of prescription medications that is to blame; even those who use the drugs as prescribed can be impaired. Medications affect individuals differently. Many medications including sleep aides, pain relievers, stimulants, antidepressants and even over-the-counter medicines, can leave users feeling drowsy. Taken in combination, these drugs can have even more serious effects.

To better understand the severity of this trend and to learn ways not to become a victim, read “Prescription Drug Abuse Becoming More Common Reason for Accidents.”

 

dog-bites-mailman-400-07471430d-300x169As cliché as it may sound, dog attacks on mail carriers are a real issue and one that is growing.

Each year the U.S. Postal Service releases statistics on the number of dog attacks against its carriers in connection with National Dog Bite Prevention Week (August 9 – 15). According to this year’s figures, there were 6,755 dog attacks against mail carriers in 2016, an increase of 206 from 2015. The good news is that the severity of the attacks appears to be on the decline according to insurance claims.

The reason behind this increase? It could have something to do with the rising popularity of online retail sales, which has led to a double-digit increase in package business for the Post Office. To learn more about this growing problem and ways in which you can keep from becoming part of it, read “Dog Attacks on Mail Carriers Rise Again as Online Sales Boom.”