For those of us who do not ride motorcycles, helmets seem like a no-brainer (no pun intended). Riding a motorcycle is highly dangerous, after all, and helmets have been proven to save lives. However, long-time motorcyclists disagree, and claim that it is young, aggressive, inexperienced bikers who are causing motorcycle accidents and suffering injuries and fatalities as a result. "Why should the risky few ruin it for the rest of us?" these experienced riders ask. Yet, medical professionals and advocates say that the high financial cost of traumatic brain injuries and other common motorcycle injuries renders the lack of mandatory helmet laws a public health issue.
After several months of reports of malfunctions, car accidents, and products liability lawsuits regarding defects in Toyota vehicles, followed by several more months of a Toyota public relations campaign, it seemed that the Toyota gas pedal defect controversy was - finally - a thing of the past. However, after two people were killed and two were injured when a 2008 Toyota Camry crashed into a rock wall in Utah, officials and consumers have begun to question whether the millions of Toyota vehicle recalls actually solved the gas pedal problems.
In an ongoing effort to improve the safety of motor vehicles and reduce the occurrence of injuries from car accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continually updates its safety requirements, most recently with the stricter crash testing standards and procedures. However, there is one standard that has not been updated in over 40 years, and advocates say that it is causing severe brain injuries in backseat passengers, most of whom are children.
As research continues into drowsy driving, more is learned about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while sleep deprived. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one in every six fatal motor vehicle accidents is caused by a fatigue-impaired driver. Because of these risks and in response to the lack of public knowledge about this dangerous trend, this week has been declared Drowsy Driving Prevention Week across the country.
This week, approximately 150 New Jersey high school students were on a field trip when they were involved in a serious bus accident. According to reports, the brakes of one of the four buses carrying the students allegedly failed, causing two buses to collide. One of the bus drivers and ten students suffered injuries requiring them to be taken to area hospitals.
Last month, an amended law went into effect which requires drivers to remove all snow and ice from their vehicles before driving on New Jersey roads. Officials say that taking just a few minutes to clear the hazardous material could avoid a car accident, property damage, injuries, and death.
After reports of sporadically stalling engines in many of its trucks and sport utility vehicles, Nissan North America has issued a recall of over 700,000 vehicles in the United States. The company cites the risk of failure to the vehicles' electrical systems and the potential for injuries due to the defective product as the motivation for the voluntary recall.
Authorities are crediting tougher laws and improved vehicle technology for a significant decrease in fatal car accidents involving teenage drivers. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of teenage deaths related to car accidents has declined by over 30 percent over the last five years.
After a jury concluded that two New Jersey agencies took too long to respond to a multi-car pileup, a woman who lost her leg in the car accident was awarded almost $9 million.
When 19-year-old Sara Dubinen was critically injured in a 2007 car accident, emergency personnel were unable to locate her parents for 90 minutes. By the time they arrived at the hospital, Sara had slipped into a coma. She died the next morning without regaining consciousness. Sara's parents were not able to say goodbye to their daughter.