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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in conjunction with the American Transportation Research Institute and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, recently published findings from a study that sought to analyze the effects of speed limiters installed in commercial vehicles.

The study overwhelmingly showed that speed limiters have a profound impact on reducing or mitigating truck crashes, as well as their severity.

Speed limiters, sometimes called governors, are devices that electronically monitor and cap a vehicle's top speed. When implemented, speed limiters use multiple sensors to calculate a vehicle's speed and then transmit it to the engine's computer. When a programmed top speed is reached, the computer restricts the flow of air and gas to the engine and controls the combustion process to prevent a vehicle from going too fast. Critics of speed limiter technology can no longer deny their safety benefits, based on the FMCSA study findings.


The number of car accidents caused by distracted drivers seems to be growing every year. We live in a society that favors immediate gratification and this seems to include communicating with our friends and loved ones at all times, even while driving. Public awareness efforts have been in full force to educate people about the dangers of inattentive driving. Additionally, many state legislatures have banned using cell phones or texting while operating a motor vehicle. Now cell phone carriers are joining the fight to curb distracted driving practices.

Cellular companies, such as T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel and AT&T, are developing and exploring technological innovations to stop drivers from using their products while their cars are in motion. The specific technologies may vary, however all are intended to dissuade drivers from using their cell phones in the car by interrupting service in a moving vehicle. For instance, T-Mobile has announced a new paid service that stops call or text notifications when the cell phone is in a moving vehicle. Other companies are working on technologies to intercept a call or text to a cell phone in a moving vehicle.

Will New Technologies Reduce Distracted Driving?


Fall is an exciting time for families as children start back to school. A new school year often brings new routines, and it's beneficial to start good habits at the outset in order to keep kids safe. Maybe your child is walking or biking to school for the first time, and safety concerns have moved to the top of your list. These tips will help keep children safe on their way to school even if you're not around.

First of all, children should be taught to be aware of vehicles and motorists at all times. This goes further than just looking both ways when crossing the street; kids should keep an eye on vehicles - even if parked - while walking to school. School bus drivers are generally well-trained to look out for children in and around bus stops and school zones, but kids should also be alert and mindful of their own safety when walking in front of or behind a school bus. If riding on a school bus, it is important to follow the bus driver's instructions to stay seated, and to keep all extremities inside the bus. Many communities are organizing "walking school buses," which are groups of kids who walk to school together, usually with one or more adults. Consider spearheading this if it might work for your neighborhood.

San Jose is well-regarded for its proactive safety precautions when it comes to school pedestrian safety. A special committee has been designated to evaluate school walking routes and to implement the use of a paid crossing guard if an area meets certain criteria. If you feel that your child's walking route should have an official crossing guard, you can go to the city's website and learn how to request an evaluation.


The Contra Costa County District Attorney's office recently announced charges against a 70-year-old man who allegedly lost control of his pick-up truck while driving drunk, hitting and killing a female pedestrian.

Ruel Sasser faces three felony charges: vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 and driving under the influence while causing injury.

According to, witnesses said after the crash Sasser was too drunk to stand after his vehicle jumped the curb, hit the victim and ran into a tree. His blood alcohol level was .15, almost twice the legal limit.


Crosswalks are designed to give pedestrians a place to safely cross to the other side of the street. A recent California case has examined the safety of crosswalks at uncontrolled intersections. Emily Liou was crossing over State Route 82 in Millbrae in the evening. The intersection has six lanes of traffic, a raised median, but no traffic signals. While using the crosswalk, she was hit by a car. She suffered serious injuries, which will require round-the-clock care for the rest of her life.

The lawsuit filed by her family alleged that the crosswalk actually made her less safe as she crossed the road. Liou's attorneys examined the safety of the crosswalk. Caltrans was told by legislators to make pedestrian safety a high priority prior to Liou's accident. Caltrans did not study the crosswalk where Liou was injured. Caltrans was found negligent and was ordered to pay the family more than $12 million in damages.

False Sense of Security?


In the days after the San Bruno gas line explosion, first responders described their initial impressions of the fiery scene as a vision of Armageddon, an upside down rocket launch and what appeared to many to be an airliner crash. It didn't immediately occur to even the most seasoned firefighters that the immense inferno they faced could have come from a failed natural gas pipeline.

At least four people needlessly lost their lives in the blast and blaze that destroyed 37 homes and burned many others. Approximately 60 people were injured; many suffering severe burns.

Residents Smelled Gas Prior to Blast


The search for fun at amusement parks often results in painful injuries -- especially in California, home to Disneyworld and many other attractions. In early July, three people were injured at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo when the metal gate on a tram carrying people from the parking lot sprang open. The accident caused a protruding leg injury to an adult and a stomach cut to a toddler, and both injuries required emergency treatment.

How prevalent are amusement park injuries in California and across the country? Getting a precise number is difficult because of a legal irregularity known as the "roller coaster loophole." By federal law, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is not permitted to regulate the safety of rides that are fixed at a certain site. The CPSC can regulate carnivals and other mobile attractions, as well as the manner ride equipment is manufactured. But the CPSC is not allowed to regulate the operation of the ride equipment at fixed-site parks.

Big parks like Disneyland therefore fall outside of the CPSC's jurisdiction, making good data about injuries there hard to come by. Nonetheless, according to CPSC estimates based on surveys of hospital emergency rooms, as many as 7,000 people are injured nationally every year in amusement parks, and an average of four people die every year.


Drowning is one of the most easily preventable deaths for children. Since Memorial Day weekend, over 200 children have drown or been injured at swimming pools and spas around the country according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The California Department of Developmental Services notes that drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under five years of age.

As a result, the CPSC, working with Safe Kids USA and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, has launched the "Pool Safely" campaign to educate kids and parents on ways to stay safe around water. The goal of the program, according to Inez M. Tenenbaum, Chairman of the CPSC, is to "teach parents and children simple water safety steps so that everyone will pool safely this summer."

The campaign has two main components: A video series on youtube which explores unsafe behaviors around pools and an interactive online game aimed at children seven years of age and younger to educate them about proper pool safety.


Caring for an infant is a wonderful and rewarding experience, but parents are also faced with a multitude of safety concerns in caring for their babies. Car seat issues, lead paint, allergies, vaccinations and defective or dangerous toys are just a few of the concerns parents of small children face.

A crib, where a baby sleeps and spends much of his or her time, should be of minimal concern to parents, but in the past five years, 9 million drop-side cribs have been recalled. The latest recall was announced in June 2010.

On June 24, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled more than 2 million cribs because of safety concerns that babies could suffocate, fall or become trapped. The cribs are drop-side and fixed-side models manufactured between 2000 and 2009. The seven companies involved in the recall are:

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