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John Sakson is an expert Civil Trial Attorney as certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Mr. Sakson is also a member of the Accident & Personal Injury practice.

Here’s some more interesting traffic safety information, courtesy of the “2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws”, issued by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. We know that youthful drivers are dangerous drivers, but I’ll bet you didn’t know that a recent study found that fatal crash rates per mile driven are twice as high for 16-year-olds as they are for 18 to 19-year-olds. The greatest incidence – 20% – of teenage motor vehicle crash deaths occurs from 9 PM to midnight, which probably doesn’t come as a great surprise to anyone. A number of states have adopted graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems, which include such things as a mandatory waiting period, a nighttime restriction, passenger restrictions and supervised driving for at least 30 hours. These programs have been demonstrated to be effective: states with nighttime driving restrictions show crash reductions of up to 60% during restricted hours, and fatal crash rates are 21% lower for 15 to 17-year-old drivers when they are prohibited from having any teenage passengers in their vehicles, compared to when two or more passengers are allowed. Statistics demonstrate that as the age of obtaining a learner’s permit decreases, fatal crash rates increase. The earlier young people are allowed to learn to drive, and the younger the age at which they become licensed, are both factors associated with higher fatal crash rates.
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Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an organization founded in 1989 by executives of the major property and casualty insurance companies and prominent consumer and safety leaders. Over the course of the past 25 years, the organization has been a strong leader in encouraging the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs. They recently released their “2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws”, which provides a guide for state elected officials on what laws their states are lacking and where action is needed.
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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, based in Bethesda, Maryland, recently analyzed the frequency of emergency department – treated injuries associated with shopping carts to children younger than the age of five. You might be surprised to learn that the annual average number of such injuries was 21,600! From 2008 to 2012, the study estimated 107,300 children under the age of five sustained an injury requiring at least emergency room treatment as a result of a shopping cart injury. The majority of these injuries occurred to 1 to 2-year-old children, representing approximately 60% of the total estimated injuries during this time period, with two-year-olds leaving the pack with 34,100 of the injuries. A large majority – 84% – of these injuries were sustained in falls from carts. Other hazards included tip over, collision, contact, entrapment or incidental.
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The recently released “2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws”, issued by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, provides a wealth of interesting and sometimes troubling information.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 3,328 people killed and 421,000 injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2012. This statistic is probably low, given the likely underreporting of crashes involving cell phones because of differences in police crash report coding, database limitations and other challenges. It is obvious, nonetheless, that the increasing use of electronic devices, such as mobile phones and text messaging, is a significant source of driver distraction. A body of research has established that the use of these devices involves a significant degree of cognitive distraction, and as a result, the behavior of drivers using mobile phones, whether hand-held or hands-free, is equivalent to the behavior of drivers at the threshold of the legal limit for alcohol (0.08% BAC). Under these circumstances, crash risk increases dramatically when a driver is using a mobile phone, and it sometimes can be as much as four times higher.
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Did you know that America had over 4,000,000 miles of roadway? This incredible expanse of concrete and asphalt is the site of over 5.5 million crashes annually, resulting in more than 33,000 fatalities on average and 2.3 million injuries, at an economic cost to society in excess of $230 billion. Here’s a sobering statistic: every day over 90 people are killed on America’s streets and highways, and almost 6500 are injured. It is certainly not an exaggeration to call this problem a public health epidemic.
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A new study released by the New England Journal of Medicine, and publicized on CNN Health, has revealed that about 1 in every 25 patients seeking treatment at hospitals acquired an infection there in 2011. As shocking as that news might be to you, this information actually shows progress from past estimates, while the grim reality remains that far too many people become infected while seeking medical treatment in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The study included 183 hospitals and 11,282 patients surveyed between May and September 2011, and it found that patients acquired 721,800 infections at hospitals that year. 75,000 of these patients died, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, although the study did not determine whether an infection actually caused or contributed to each of these deaths. It is estimated that there were 1.7 million healthcare associated infections and 155,668 infected patient deaths in 2002, with 98,987 of those deaths involving infection as either a cause or contributing factor to the death.
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A well-respected New Jersey jurist has made a ruling of the first impression, holding that a school district sued under New Jersey’s strict anti-bullying law may bring contribution claims against the students accused of harassing the plaintiff. This ruling may mean that students who actually do the bullying may be found to share responsibility with the district when the victimized student brings a claim against the school district under the statute.
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An important study conducted by the Health Behavior Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, has found that teens who have been in cars with impaired drivers may be more likely themselves to get behind the wheel drunk or drugged. The study also reveals that the more frequently the teen is exposed to this risky behavior, the more risky their own driving habits become. It also revealed some other troubling statistics.
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Stark & Stark attorneys have filed a putative class action lawsuit against helmet maker Riddell, alleging that advertising claiming its products help reduce concussions was false or misleading. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Camden, New Jersey, asserts that the plaintiff spent $459 on a Revolution helmet, after the plaintiff’s son viewed a video advertisement on the Internet. The Riddell helmet cost at least $50 more than competitive helmets, and at least 1000 Revolution helmets were sold in New Jersey. The lawsuit alleges that the purchasers were induced to pay more by faulty advertising claims. Riddell advertisements asserted that their helmet, utilizing “concussion reduction technology”, reduced injury risks by 31%. The basis for the assertion was a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center study, which compared concussion rates between two groups of high school players. The study was partly overseen by Riddell’s vice president of research and development, and the lawsuit alleges that the methodology used in the study led to shoddy science. In fact, the lawsuit alleges, scientific studies show that the brand of football helmet makes no difference in the player’s risk of concussion and that high-tech helmets like the Revolution do not reduce concussion risk for players any more effectively than low-cost helmets. Riddell has stopped running the claim that injury risks are reduced by 31%.
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