At High Risk for Accidents, Teenagers Often Drive Less Safe Cars
Per mile driven, the rate of serious vehicle crashes, including fatal ones, involving teens remains tragically high — about three times higher than that for adults. Given teenagers’ elevated crash rates, it is especially important that the cars teenagers drive have maximum safety features and crash protection.
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety compiled relevant data regarding teen fatalities and the vehicles they were driving. They found that teenagers’ vehicles more often were small or mini cars or older vehicles and few had electronic stability control or side airbags as standard features.
1) 29% of fatally injured teenagers were driving mini or small cars
2) 82% were driving vehicles at least 6 years old, and
3) 48% were driving vehicles at least 11 years old.
While driving a newer model car is important to keep teenager drivers, their passengers and the public safe, it is also important that teens (and all drivers) wear seat belts and do not drive impaired or distracted.
Parents, please consider the high rate of teen accidents and prioritize safety when choosing a vehicle for your teenage driver.
The Miraculous Snowflake
Even though we rarely see snow here in Tucson, we can all appreciate the delicate beauty of a single snowflake. Amateur photographer Douglas Levere shares some of his photos of these intricate miracles of nature in a breathtaking slideshow.
Find out how Mr. Levere captures this fleeting subject on film in this article in Buffalo News. http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/amherst-photographer-painstakingly-captures-the-beauty-of-a-snowflake-20141213
Common Medications May Cause Memory Loss
If you or someone you love is experiencing memory loss it may be a side effect from a medication. This AARP article includes a helpful list of commonly prescribed drugs that may cause memory loss and offers some possible alternatives you can discuss with your doctor.
These types of commonly prescribed drugs can interfere with memory:
- Antianxiety drugs
- Cholesterol drug
- Antiseizure drugs
- Antidepressant drugs
- Narcotic painkillers
- Parkinson’s drugs
- Hypertension drugs
- Sleeping aids
- Incontinence drug
Making Streets Safe for Pedestrians
In 2013, 25 pedestrians were struck and killed in Arizona, making our state sixth among the states for the highest pedestrian fatality rates. Because they are often frail, elderly pedestrians are at particular risk.
According to the Tucson Police Department, distraction — by both pedestrians and drivers — is a common factor in many fatal pedestrian accidents in our city. The driver’s speed at the time of the collision is a key factor in pedestrian survival. More than 90 percent of people hit by cars traveling at 20 miles per hour survive the crash, but at 45 miles per hour, only 35 percent live.
We can make streets safer for pedestrians. Lawmakers can pass laws prohibiting texting while driving. Communities can design roadways to slow drivers down. For example, streets with raised medians allow pedestrians to pause and wait for traffic to clear. Traffic lights can be timed to give pedestrians adequate time to safely cross the street. http://www.aarp.org/home-family/getting-around/info-2014/pedestrian-safety-car-accidents.3.html
In response to an increasing number of pedestrian accidents in Tucson, the City Council established the Pedestrian Advisory Committee. The committee is brainstorming on how to make Tucson a safer and more walkable place for pedestrians. You can learn more about the committee at the City of Tucson webpage. http://clerks.tucsonaz.gov/clerks/boards?board=115
Making streets pedestrians-friendly is expensive, but its a worthwhile investment. As our population ages, we can expect to see more elderly pedestrians needing to safely cross our street.
Stealth Attack on the Right to Jury Trials
Forced arbitration allows corporations to eliminate consumers’ rights to seek accountability and justice in the courts. Buried in the fine print of employment, cell phone, credit card, retirement account, home building, and nursing home contracts are mandatory arbitration clauses. Just by taking a job or buying a product or service, consumers are forced to give up their right to go in front of a jury if they are harmed by a company. Few people know that thousands of online shopping sites, including Amazon and Ebay, subject shoppers to forced arbitration clauses.
In forced arbitration, the deck is stacked against consumers. There is no judge, jury or right to an appeal. Studies have shown that arbitrators decide in favor of big business and corporations 94% of the time.
Public Citizen invites consumers to help build its “Arbitration Rogue’s Gallery” of corporations that have taken away their customers’ legal rights, immunizing themselves from accountability for wrongdoing by putting forced arbitration clauses in their terms of service. Learn more at this link: http://www.citizen.org/forced-arbitration-rogues-gallery Please call your congressperson and senator to encourage support for the Arbitration Fairness Act. http://www.citizen.org/
Nursing Homes Medicate Dementia Patients with Antipsychotic Drugs
A NPR investigative series reports that nursing homes commonly use antipsychotic drugs to “chemically” restrain dementia patients. The off-label use of these medications is illegal and extremely dangerous. The drugs, used to treat serious mental illnesses, can increase the risk for heart failure, infections and death in dementia patients.
Though well aware of the practice, the government rarely holds nursing homes accountable for this shocking practice, though it is trying to reduce the use of the drugs for dementia patients.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you can use interactive database in the December 8, 2014 piece, “Old and Overmedicated: the Real Drug Problem in Nursing Homes”, to determine antipsychotic drug usage at the facility and compare it to national and state averages.
Proposed Bill would Weaken the EPA and put Public Safety at Risk
H.R. 4012, or the “Secret Science Reform Act”, is an attempt to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Introduced by Arizona’s own David Schweikert (R-AZ), the bill would prohibit the EPA from using scientific studies to form regulations if the data from those studies is not “publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.” The American Lung Association and the American Thoracic Society warn that H.R. 4012 would force the EPA “to either ignore the best science by prohibiting the agency from considering peer-reviewed research that is based on confidential patient information or force EPA to publicly release confidential patient information, which would violate federal law.”
If passed, this bill will have far-reaching implications for public health and safety. The American Association for Justice voiced its opposition to the bill in this letter to House Speaker Pelosi and House Whip Steny Hoyer.
If you object to attempts to weaken the EPA, please call your Congressional representative and ask them to oppose H.R. 4012.
The Khalidi Law Firm Gives Arizona’s First End Distracted Driving Presentation to High School Students
Yesterday, Thabet Khalidi spoke to nearly 200 high school students at the Sonoran Science Academy about the dangers of distracted driving and how they have the power to protect themselves and others by becoming safer drivers. The End Distracted Driving Student Awareness Initiative presentation was designed specifically to engage teenagers and increase the likelihood that they will change dangerous attitudes and behaviors that could lead to accidents. Students from the Sonora Science Academy join more than 220,000 students in 41 states and Canada who have heard the presentation.
We thank Sonoran Science Academy for being the first in Arizona to share this important safety message with their high school students and invite other schools to contact our firm if they are interested in a presentation by one of our attorneys.
To learn more about the End Distracted Driving Student Awareness Initiative please go to EndDD.org
Liquid Laundry Soap Pods are Dangerous for Children
Young children are mistaking brightly-colored single-use laundry soap pods for candy or a teether. Far from harmless, the pods contain a toxic cleaning solution. More than 17,000 children under six have been injured by the pods, mostly by biting into them and ingesting the contents. More than 700 children have required admission to a hospital. In some cases, the children were in a coma.
Dishwashing detergent pods are chemically different from laundry soap pods and have not posed the same problem.
If you have young children and use liquid laundry pods, please store them in a safe place away from small hands.
The Importance of Jury Duty
The jury system is enshrined in the United States and Arizona constitutions. It is the essence of local government: a group of citizens is empaneled to decide the facts in a dispute between members of their community. Panelists on the Diane Rehm Show discussed the importance of jury duty and how court officials are working to change the perception of jury duty from an inconvenient obligation to a meaningful civic experience. Give it a listen.