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Walking has probably never been more dangerous in the United States. Pedestrian fatality numbers in 2016 increased for the second consecutive year. What’s more, those fatality numbers are at alarming new highs.

Data presented by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) finds that projected pedestrian accident fatality numbers increased by approximately 11% between 2015 and 2016 – the biggest year-to-year spike since the organization began tracking those numbers. In the first half of 2016, there were 2,660 fatalities in pedestrian accidents. During the same period of time in 2015, there were 2,486 fatalities. The report projects a 22% increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2016 from 2014.

Overall, pedestrians now account for approximately 15% of all traffic accident fatalities in the United States. When the final numbers come in for 2017, the GHSA believes that the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities could actually be more than 6,000 pedestrian deaths for the first time in 20 years. Overall, the number of fatalities actually increased by 25% between 2010 and 2015. That is even as the total number of traffic accident fatalities overall increased by just 6%.

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Bicycle accidents take a heavy toll on the US economy. Now, a new study finds that these crashes cost the American economy more than $24 billion a year in health care and other costs. What’s worse, the study also finds that those costs have been steadily increasing over the years.

Researchers focused on fatal and non-fatal bicycle accidents across the country between 1999 and 2013. They found that there were nearly 10,000 bicycle accident fatalities during this period of time. Researchers also found that there were a total of 3.8 million non-fatal bicycle accident injuries during this period of time, and a 120% increase in the number of hospital admissions related to bicycle accidents.

There is a specific reason why costs associated with bicycle accidents, especially healthcare costs, have been increasing the way they have. Accidents involving older bicyclists are one of those factors. Accident-related costs involving cyclists over the age of 45 contribute heavily to those expenses, because these crashes are strongly linked to longer hospital stays, and higher recovery times after accidents.

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For years now, proponents of hyperbaric oxygen therapy have claimed that the therapy can significantly help reduce the risk of long-term brain damage in persons who have suffered a brain injury. Recently, those claims appeared substantiated by the case of a brain-damaged three-year-old child who recovered significantly after being administered the therapy.

Claims of the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy have been met with skepticism for many years, because its proponents have found it difficult to explain exactly why the treatment works in helping reduce brain damage after an injury. However, a number of recent studies have found that even a single session of hyperbaric oxygen therapy can significantly impact tissue recovery rates in a person with brain damage. Each session of hyperbaric oxygen therapy reduces cell death and inflammation, and boosts recovery, cell growth, and repair rates. That can be seen in the rate of recovery of persons with brain damage.

Experts point specifically to a recent case involving a three-year-old child who was found unconscious and unresponsive in her family’s swimming pool. The child had been deprived of oxygen for several minutes, and had suffered significant brain damage.  There were signs of brain shrinkage, and loss of gray matter. Roughly two months after the injury, the child was administered hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and her doctors and parents noticed an improvement within ten sessions of the therapy.

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This year, the trucking industry will push for legislation that will increase weight limits on tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers across the country. Unfortunately, heavier trucks on our highways will only increase the risk of accidents, and jeopardize the safety of motorists on the highways.

In 2015, legislators defeated an amendment that would have increased the maximum weight of tractor-trailers on highways to 91,000 pounds from the current 80,000 pounds. In fact, such proposals have been rejected several times by Congress, and with good reason.

It is a proven fact that any accident involving a massive truck weighing more than 90,000 pounds is potentially devastating to the occupants of the smaller vehicle. It’s not just the impact of the accident with a large truck that seriously jeopardizes the safety of the occupants of the smaller vehicle, but also the fact that these trucks are more difficult to maneuver, thus increasing crash risks.  They are more difficult to operate, and take a much longer time to come to a complete stop after the brakes are applied. Therefore, Congress has always rejected any legislation increasing weight limits for trucks.

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It’s not just young children who may be at risk of poisoning after ingesting brightly-colored and attractively packaged laundry pods. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is increasingly coming across cases involving seniors with dementia who have swallowed these pods by mistake, causing severe injuries, and in many cases, fatalities.

Laundry detergent pods are brightly packaged and come in several shiny hues.  These qualities make them extremely endearing to children. The pods are designed to dissolve as soon as the packaging comes into contact with water. Children are naturally attracted to shiny, colorful things.

Children can be at risk of poisoning as soon as they put these pods into their mouths. In fact, the CPSC is aware of incidents involving persons who died after swallowing or ingesting these laundry detergent pods. Ingesting even one such pod could be dangerous, and even lethal.

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A safety group is questioning whether a proposed transportation safety project that would add several new miles of truck-only lanes on I-75 in Georgia has been well thought-out and could pose safety risks.

The two billion-dollar transportation project would add as many as 40 miles of trucks-only lanes between Macon and McDonough, and now it appears that the project was given the green light without a proper audit of whether is necessary or feasible. Earlier, an audit by the Georgia Department of Audits questioned the feasibility and viability of the project, and especially the wisdom involved in allowing such lanes. No other project in the United States has involved the installation of so many truck-only lanes, and according to the Georgia Department of Audits, the Department of Transportation green-lighted the project without sufficient evidence that the $2 billion price tag was a justified investment.

Now the United States Public Interest Research Group is also questioning the advisability of having so many truck-only lanes. The group has listed the project as one of the nation’s biggest highway boondoggles – and one that includes a massive waste of public time and money. Public Interest Research Group in its report is also criticizing governments across the United States for their propensity to rush into major transportation projects without bothering to fix a massive backlog of highway repair and other safety issues. In the case of the I-75 project, Public Interest Research Group says that the benefits to the trucking industry have been prioritized over recommendations to use railroads for movement of freight.

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning about swallowing risks involving fidget spinners. The agency says that it has received at least two reports of incidents involving children who swallowed parts of the popular gadget.

Fidget spinners are all the craze. These are stress-relieving toys that are marketed as being an excellent tool to help people concentrate, maintain focus, and relieve stress and anxiety.

In one case that was reported to the CPSC, a 10-year-old girl swallowed a small piece of the toy and required surgery to have it removed from her intestine. In another case, a five-year-old boy swallowed a piece of the toy, began choking on it, and had to be rushed to the emergency department.

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US employers incur billions of dollars in accident-related expenses involving employees in crashes every year. Investing in roadway safety campaigns can actually help these companies save money.

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety is an organization that focuses on educating companies about the need to inculcate safe driving practices among their employees. The list of employees who may need to drive for work-related purposes is very long. In far too many of these cases, employees are involved in accidents while they are on duty, exposing their employers to the risk of liability.

However, employers may suffer expenses when employees are involved in off-duty accidents too. According to a report released by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, in 2013, American employers suffered more than $47 billion in direct expenses related to accidents involving their employees. More than 1.26 million work hours were lost as a result of these accidents, and 90% of those involved off-duty accidents.

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Georgia residents are overwhelmingly opposed to a bill that would restrict their access to medical malpractice damages. They’re also strongly in favor of holding nursing homes accountable for the neglect and abuse of residents.

Those are the results of a new survey conducted by the Public Policy Polling Institute, which found that residents across seven states are overwhelmingly in opposition to HR 1215. The recently introduced bill seeks to limit noneconomic damages available in cases involving medical malpractice and nursing home abuse. The bill would also cover any damages from lawsuits related to malfunctioning or defective medical devices, as well as pharmaceutical company drug-related lawsuits.

The Public Policy Polling survey specifically focused on residents living in seven states:  Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Utah and Arizona. These are states that are either red (Republican) or purple (have voted Republican or Democrat in the past few years). Typically, voters who live in red or purple states favor restrictions on medical malpractice damages.

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Cities that choose to shut down their red light camera programs may see a spike in the number of people killed in traffic fatalities caused by red light violations.

According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, red light camera programs in several large American cities were responsible for saving as many as 1,300 lives in accidents through 2014. Shutting down these programs cost American lives, with fatality rates shooting up as much as 30% in cities that have chosen to shut down red light camera programs. In 2014, according to data, red light violations caused more than 700 fatalities and over 126,000 injuries.

Red light camera programs not only reduce the risk of violations, but also lead to greater adherence to the rules and fewer violations, leading to a lower risk of accidents when programs like these are publicized. In addition, when red light camera programs are in place, violators can be apprehended easily.  Unfortunately, even though the benefits of red light camera programs are easy to see, they have been met with opposition by local communities. That has led to many of these programs being shut down in several cities across the country. The total number of communities with red light camera programs in the country fell in 2014 to a total of 467, from a high of 533 in the year 2012.