Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, killing more than 5,000 each year. More than 7,000 people nationwide were killed in crashes involving teen drivers in 2007, government data show. More than 3,000 of these deaths were teen drivers, and more than 250,000 teen drivers were injured. Two articles in the October, 2009 edition of Pediatrics magazine offer advice to parents to help reduce teen driving accidents. First, do not give your teen his or own car. Second, be involved and authoritative; give clear driving safety rules and offer support. The studies show that its not just how well you may teach your child to drive; a proper attitude must be instilled. Primary access of novice teen drivers to vehicles is highly prevalent in the United States. This practice is a dangerous norm, because primary access is associated with risky driving behaviors. Among these drivers, 25 percent had been involved in
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Village Denied Summary Judgment in Domestic Violence Suit Alleging Violation of Due Process Rights by Police Department
Holding a municipality liable in negligence for personal injuries sustained as a result of a third-party is often a difficult task because the plaintiff must show a special relationship between the plaintiff and the police department - a multi-prong test that is difficult to satisfy. The plaintiff circumvented these problems by bringing a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action alleging violation of her Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the victim of domestic abuse alleged sufficient facts from which a jury could find that it had implicitly but affirmatively sanctioned abuse of a wife by her husband in violation of her rights to due process, and that the municipal and certain individual defendants, if found liable, would not be entitled to qualified immunity. In Okin v. Village of Co
Federal Government Studying Harm Restraints and Seclusion in Schools and School Buses Cause Children and Teens
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report this past spring, concerned about childrens' safety and welfare, highlighted allegations of abuse and the potentially deadly consequences of using certain forms of behavior management, often times for special education students. Although GAO could not determine whether allegations were widespread, GAO did find hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death related to the use of these methods on school children during the past two decades. Examples of these cases include a 7 year old purportedly dying after being held face down for hours by school staff, 5 year olds allegedly being tied to chairs with bungee cords and duct tape by their teacher and suffering broken arms and bloody noses, and a 13 year old reportedly hanging himself in a seclusion room after prolonged confinement. The government recently published a notice of proposed information collec
More Support for Federal Law to Reduce Highway Funding Available to States That Do Not Prohibit Text Messaging While Driving
This past summer a bill was introduced in the United States Senate to require states to adopt federally set minimum penalties for writing, sending, or reading text messages while driving. The bill requires states to pass laws prohibiting text messaging or forfeit 25 percent of highway financing, which would amount to losing hundreds of millions in federal transportation funds. States would have two years to comply and could recover lost funds once they passed acceptable laws. A companion bill has been introduced in the House. The Senate bill is called the Alert Drivers Act of 2009, and is also known as the Avoiding Life-Endangering and Reckless Texting by Drivers Act of 2009. The American Medical Association recently identified cell phone texting while driving as a public health risk. The bill followed several high-profile crashes involving text messaging. In September 2008,
First Department Debates How Much Effort Court of Appeals Requires a Worker To Make To Search For Safety Devices At The Construction Work Site
In Cherry v. Time Warner, Inc., --- N.Y.S.2d ----, 2009 WL 2497974 (1 Dept. August 18, 2009), the plaintiff was securing sheet rock to the ceiling on the third floor when he fell off a baker's scaffold onto the concrete floor eight feet below. The scaffold measuring approximately two feet wide by six to eight feet long had guardrails on only two of its four sides. The Appellate Division, First Department was called upon to decide whether safety guardrails were in place on the scaffold from which the plaintiff fell, and if they were not in place, whether they were made readily available on site for the plaintiff's use. This issue was crucial because if the guardrails were found to be readily available, the workers failure to use a scaffold having guardrails on all four sides of it would be considered the sole proximate cause of the accident. As such, the worker would not be entitled to the protections of Labor Law 240(1).
Should Television Ads for Chantix Be Required to State That Its Side Effects are the Subject of an FDA Black Box?
Yesterday morning an advertisement for smoking cessation drug Chantix came on my television. The ad featured a man extolling how much better his life is now that Chantix (and support, slips in the ad) has helped him kick his smoking habit. Then an announcer came on and read, for what seemed like an extraordinary time for the disclaimers usually heard on drug commercials, a litany of side-effects and warnings. These warnings included suicidal thoughts, personality changes, and skin rashes. The announcer did not state, however, that many of the side-effects announced are the subject of an FDA-mandated black box warning.
A black box warning is a type of warning that appears on the package insert for prescription drugs that may cause serious adverse effects. A black border usually surrounds the text of the
Nassau Countys Red-Light Cameras Catch Red Light and Right on Red Violators: Will They Really Improve Traffic Safety or Mostly Generate Revenue for the County?
Beginning on Thursday, August 6, 2009, Nassau County on Long Island initiated a red-light camera program, with cameras placed above two intersections to videotape motor vehicles running red lights and send tickets to the vehicles owners. It has now come to light that the cameras are not just catching red light violators they are also issuing $50 "robo-tickets" to motorists who make right turns on red without coming to a full stop. And the 19 legislators who voted unanimously for the red-light camera program are claiming that they are shocked, shocked to learn this. Studies including one by Congress have shown that the red-light cameras can increase rear-end accidents by motorists braking quickly to avoid a ticket. The tried and true way of reducing accidents at notoriously dangerous intersections is to lengthen the lights yellow time. Figures from the county show th
A Dallas Cowboys scouting assistant paralyzed and a special teams coach whose neck was broken in the May 2, 2009, collapse of the teams practice facility due to high winds filed separate lawsuits against the Pennsylvania-based company that built the structure and several other companies involved in the construction and maintenance. Cowboys scouting assistant Rich Behm was paralyzed from the waist down and 11 others were injured when the structure was toppled in high winds. Special teams coach Joe DeCamillas suffered a broken neck in the collapse. Summit Structures, the company that built the practice facility. Summit, an engineer and five other companies are named in the lawsuits. The suits contend that the structures concrete foundation was improperly constructed and that the practice facility should have been repaired or rebuilt after problems with the design were discovered in 2007. The lawsuits state that the Cowboys were informed that the "design defects i
New York City Launches International Design Competition For A Safer, More Appealing Sidewalk Shed of the Future
Sidewalk sheds are typically wooden structures (nowadays usually painted blue) built over public space to protect pedestrians during construction activity. Walking around Manhattan while trying to avoid walking under a sidewalk shed can be a true challenge. There are currently more than 6,000 sidewalk sheds installed and in use today at New York Citys buildings and construction sites, spanning more than 1,000,000 linear feet. A lawyer for insurance companies once told me that because he has defended so many cases in which a pedestrian or construction worker was injured due to a collapse or other calamity involving a sidewalk shed, he would never, ever walk under one. Besides, theyre hideous-looking. On August 13, 2009, the Department of Buildings and the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects launched the urbanSHED International Design Competition - a competition to tap the global design community to develop the sidewalk shed of the future.
Suffolk County Nations First County to Ban Electronic Cigarettes from Minors and From Public Indoor Spaces
On August 18, 2009, the Sullolk County Legislature voted to ban electronic cigarettes from public indoor spaces where 'traditional forms of smoking are already disallowed,' but allows adults to use the devices anywhere cigarette smoking is permitted. The bill also bans the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19. The bill has been described as the first of its kind in the nation. It cites the 'unknown' amount of nicotine in the battery-operated devices as presenting a 'significant risk of rapid addiction or overdose.' Suffolk's new law is expected to take effect 90 days after the New York Secretary of State signs the bill in Albany. Electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that generally contain cartridges filled with nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. The electronic cigarette turns nicotine, which is highly addictive, and other chemicals into a vapor that is inhaled by the user. They deliver nicotine without burni