Could Better Laws Save Teen Drivers’ Lives?

The positive news is that the number of teenagers killed in car crashes has dropped by nearly half in the past decade. However, too many kids are still dying. The statistics show that motor vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death and serious injury among teenagers.  The sad fact is that nationwide thousands of young people die in car crashes each year. In 2016, 2,433 teenagers ages 16–19 were killed and 292,742 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries suffered in vehicle crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Maryland, an average of 87 people lose their lives annually in accidents involving teen drivers, data from the Maryland State Highway Administration shows. Inexperience behind the wheel is a leading cause of crashes. But the dilemma is, in order to gain experience, teenagers must drive. Not surprisingly, distracted driving is another major reason for teen crashes. A study by the Teen Safe Driver Program showed that distracted driving among teens, usually involving cell phones, accounted for three-quarters of moderate to severe rear-end accidents.  Alcohol use as a contributor to fatality accidents involving teenagers has dropped over the years, but is still a big[…..]

Johns Hopkins Nurses Complain of Working Conditions—Could Patients Be Impacted?

Medical Malpractice Attorney

A recent article in The Baltimore Sun newspaper highlights nurse complaints about working conditions at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The grievances from nurses imply that the often acclaimed hospital, which was rated first in Maryland and number three in the country in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-2019 best hospitals rankings, may be putting profits before patient care. A nurse quoted in the newspaper article said that “current working conditions prevent us from providing the best care possible.” Complaints from other nurses echo this sentiment. The criticisms of the hospital come as attempts are being made by some nursing staff to unionize. In a survey of the hospital’s nurses, some common complaints among respondents included the following: There are not enough skilled nurses to properly attend to patients, which leaves patients vulnerable and nurses burned out. The hospital lacks a system for ensuring that nurses receive adequate breaks. There are frequent supply shortages and/or poor-quality supplies provided to nurses. One example the article mentioned was that the gloves nurses wear tear easily, which is especially a problem when dealing with patients with infectious diseases. Additionally, the majority of nurses who responded to the survey said they sometimes feel at risk of[…..]

Maryland Drivers Are Ignoring School Bus Safety

Maryland Drivers Are Ignoring School Bus Safety

A 2018 survey in Maryland shows that the state has a serious problem when it comes to drivers’ ignoring school bus safety rules. A significant number of drivers disregard the law that requires them to stop when a school bus has its red lights flashing and stop-arms out to indicate children are getting on or off. The survey was conducted this past spring with participation from over 80 percent of the state’s bus drivers from 24 school systems. In total, the drivers counted 3,812 violations of red flashing light and stop-arm rules in a single day. Baltimore City had 64 violations, which is down from last year when there were 152. Among counties, the violation leader was Montgomery, with 1,038 recorded. Baltimore County was second. Bus drivers in the county recorded 688 violations. Violations for other nearby counties included 385 in Anne Arundel and 97 for Carroll, which were both lower than last year’s numbers. However, in both Harford and Howard counties violations were higher than last year—they counted 196 and 290 respectively. While the number of violations rose in some areas in 2018, statewide school bus violations were much lower than in 2011, the year the survey was first[…..]

Baltimore Hospitals Ranked in New Survey

Baltimore Hospitals Ranked in New Survey

The rankings are in from the biannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades survey. The survey gave letter grades to 2,600 hospitals nationwide, looking at the numbers of errors, infections, injuries and accidents that occurred in these healthcare facilities in the previous six months. Leapfrog Group, which performs the survey, is a non-profit healthcare watchdog organization. Where did Maryland’s hospitals rank overall in safety? As a whole, the state’s hospitals performed poorly, coming in at 38th in the country. While this ranking shows there’s lots of room for improvement, Maryland hospitals did move up nine places since the spring survey this past April. In that one, they were ranked 47th.  So things are at least moving in the right direction. In this most recent survey, 20 percent, or eight, of Maryland’s hospitals were awarded A’s. None of the state’s hospitals got F’s.  Out of the eight hospitals awarded A’s, five are in the Baltimore area. They are: Anne Arundel Medical Center (Annapolis) Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (Baltimore) Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore) Joseph Medical Center (Towson) Greater Baltimore Medical Center (Baltimore). Four Baltimore-area hospitals earned B grades, and 10 received C’s. Bon Secour and St. Agnes Hospital were given D’s on their[…..]

Too Many Parents Are Using Cell Phones While Driving Children

Too Many Parents Are Using Cell Phones While Driving Children

A recent survey shows that 50 percent of parents and caregivers use cell phones while driving kids. Survey researchers asked 760 parents and regular caregivers of children ages 4-10 from 47 states about their cell phone behaviors with kids in the car during the three months prior to the study, which took place earlier this year. The survey was conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Approximately 52 percent of people surveyed said they talked on hands-free phones while behind the wheel, and 47 percent used handheld phones. Nearly 34 percent of parents and caregivers said they read texts while driving; almost 27 percent admitted to sending texts, and approximately 14 percent used social media while driving their most precious cargo! Another interesting and rather disturbing thing the survey found was that 14.5 percent of people surveyed didn’t use car seats or other child restraints with their young children. These respondents, as well as people who had a history of driving under the influence, were more likely to use cell phones while driving. Distracted Driving Crash Numbers People who use cell phones while driving children must wise-up and stop placing their children—and[…..]

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter? Here’s a Checklist.

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter? Here’s a Checklist.

With winter come rain, sleet, ice, snow, slush, and just plain old cold and dangerous driving weather. Seventeen percent of crashes nationwide occur in winter weather conditions, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. While you probably won’t step outside when temperatures begin to drop without first donning appropriate cold-weather clothing, is your car, truck or other vehicle also safely prepared for the upcoming chill? If it isn’t, you still have time to get it done. Winterizing your vehicle will help keep it operating safely throughout the season and keep you from possibly being stranded in plummeting temperatures or, even worse, injured in an accident. In addition to avoiding potential mechanical problems by staying on top of tune-ups and maintenance all year long, here are steps to take to get your vehicle ready for winter: Ensure that tires are inflated to correct psi levels for your vehicle. Your owner’s manual can advise you as to the correct level. As temperatures get colder, tires lose air, and tires that are not adequately inflated can affect maneuverability. Check tire tread for wear. Balding tires lose traction and are dangerous on icy and snow-covered streets. Do the penny test—with Lincoln’s head pointing[…..]

The Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal Is Spreading to Maryland

The Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal Is Spreading to Maryland

After a report from a Pennsylvania grand jury detailed the sexual abuse of over 1,000 children spanning seven decades, other states’ attorneys general have launched their own investigations to uncover similar abuses around the U.S. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh hinted that one such investigation might be underway here, too. Though Frosh hasn’t directly addressed the existence of an investigation, the attorney general’s website displays a message to victims of abuse in Maryland churches and schools encouraging them to come forward with information. Governor Larry Hogan has expressed a willingness for an investigation like the one in Pennsylvania, which exposed more than 300 so-called predator priests for the abuses they committed upon young people. The process in Maryland would vary somewhat from Pennsylvania’s because Frosh would be required to coordinate his efforts with a local state’s attorney’s office. Frosh has faced pressure from victims and their advocates to be more aggressive in his investigations of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. A spokesman of Frosh’s challenger in the recent general election alleged that the attorney general’s office has failed to respond to inquiries from advocates. While the status of a mass investigation in Maryland remains unclear, concerns about abuse[…..]

Baltimore Drivers Rank Dead Last in National Survey

Baltimore Drivers Rank Dead Last in National Survey

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about why Baltimore’s drivers are terrible: people cut each other off, people don’t stop for red lights or stop signs, and, of course, there are the ever-present potholes we hit. All of these reasons may be true a lot of the time. It’s quite likely they’re true at least part of the time. But insurance companies rely on numbers, not opinions, and the numbers rank Baltimore drivers emphatically last. Allstate’s Rankings of Best and Worst Drivers Allstate Insurance recently examined how many years drivers generally average between insurance claims. Across the United States for 2017, the average number of years between the filing of automotive crash claims is 10 years. Baltimore’s average is fewer than four years—3.8, to be exact. Allstate Insurance also looked at how often drivers brake hard, which you might need to do to avoid rear-ending someone. The national average is about 19 incidents of hard braking for every 1,000 miles. For Baltimore drivers, the average is 29.3 incidents of hard braking per 1,000 miles. After crunching all of the numbers, Allstate compiled a list of 200 cities, from best drivers to worst. Baltimore’s rank was 200 out of 200. The[…..]

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Is Nov. 4-11, 2018

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Is Nov. 4-11, 2018

Responsible people don’t get behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink, yet they may not think twice about driving when they have had too little sleep. Unfortunately, these drowsy drivers put themselves and others at risk when they take to our streets and highways. Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which takes place November 4-11,  was started to call attention to this dangerous driving habit. According to the National Sleep Foundation, which sponsors this annual public awareness campaign, 70 million people in the United States are sleep deprived or have sleep disorders and 50 percent of people admit to regularly getting behind the wheel when they are sleepy. Even more frightening for all of us on the nation’s roads, 40 percent of those who say they drive while drowsy have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in their lives. Crashes Involving Drowsy Driving Every year 100,000 vehicle crashes that are reported to police involve drowsy driving, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).  The actual number of accidents that involve sleep-deprived drivers may be much higher than this number, however, because accidents are not always reported to police; even when they are, it[…..]

“Feel Different, Drive Different?”

“Feel Different, Drive Different?”

From August 15, 2018, through Labor Day Weekend, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ran the publicity campaign, “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different—Drive High, Get a DUI.” The campaign recognized that vacation and holiday periods are the times that traffic deaths caused by alcohol and drugs are likely to spike higher. August through Labor Day is one of the deadliest periods to travel on our roads. The National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress in 1913, applauded the NHTSA’s efforts to curtail impaired driving in our nation. Pointing out that almost 10,000 people lose their lives on our roads each year due to alcohol alone, the NSC has expressed concerns that the number of fatalities will rise because of the increasing incidence of drugged driving. Driving under the influence of anything is a disturbing and growing problem. Unpacking the Phrase What does it mean to say “feel different, drive different”? While grammar hawks may wince at the usage in the phrase, it doesn’t negate the message. Think about how your mood affects your driving. When you are tense about work responsibilities, upset because you had words with someone, or elated by a personal victory,[…..]