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May 2017 Archives

Distracted Driving is an Increasingly Deadly Problem

Fatalities from distracted driving increased from 2014 to 2015 at a faster rate than any other category attributed to human choices, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA estimated that 3,500 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in the U.S. in 2015. Cell phone distractions resulted in 476 deaths in 2015. However, crashes involving cell phones are vastly under reported because police have to rely on what they are told by the drivers. Forty-six states have laws against texting while driving. Many states, including California, bar drivers from using handheld cell phones for any activity including talking while driving. However, this problem is getting worse every day. In New York, texting tickets soared from about 9,000 in 2011 to 85,000 tickets in 2015. In California, the number of drivers found to be guilty of texting while driving rose to over 31,000 in 2015. 

The Silent Killer in Your Home

A University of California Berkeley graduate watched the Super Bowl on television in his Oakland apartment with his roommate and his girlfriend. During the day and evening they experienced headaches and nausea. The roommate and his girlfriend left. When they returned the next day, they found their friend in bed with his eyes half open, and unresponsive. He was diagnosed with anoxic encephalopathy due to carbon monoxide poisoning. He remains in a persistent vegetative state. A married couple were recently found dead along with their two cats in a Berkeley, California fourplex. The cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a gas produced by incomplete combustion. It is colorless, tasteless and odorless to human senses. The density of carbon monoxide is less than that of air and it distributes rapidly within spaces such as apartments. At lower levels, symptoms include headache, malaise, fatigue, slowed mentation, confusion and other neurologic sequelae. When levels become sufficient, unconsciousness and death will occur. 

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