U.S. traffic accident deaths down, but there is still plenty of room for improvement

For the first time in almost 60 years, fewer people died in traffic accidents on U.S. roadways last year than in any year since 1950, according to new statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The death toll for 2009 was 33,308 people, which was a 9.7% decline from 2008 when 37,423 people died on U.S. roads, according to the NHTSA figures. The 2009 death toll was the lowest in our nation since...

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Job responsibilities, the JetBlue flight attendant and the law

Sure, we all may love to fantasize about being at work and just quitting on the spot when a boss or customer gives us a hard time. Country-western singer, Johnny Paycheck, sang a song of revenge for all of us when he belted out the song, "Take This Job and Shove It," back in 1977. But as much as it can be fun to think about, not everyone can really just quit whenever they feel...

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Just say “no” to auto insurers who want to “watch” you while you are driving

Do you really think insurance companies are on your side? If you do, think again. Take Progressive Insurance for example. They recently proposed a plan in Pennsylvania where they'd offer you a 30% discount on your auto insurance – if you install a wireless monitoring device in your vehicle that would let them keep track of your driving so they can be sure that you are safely operating your vehicle. [caption id="attachment_916" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Image...

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Lessons from the fatal Duck Boat crash on the Delaware River

In just an instant last week, a pleasure cruise on the Delaware River turned into tragedy for a group of Hungarian tourists who were seeing the sights off the Philadelphia waterfront on a recreational "duck boat" tour. The duck boat – half-boat, half-on-road-vehicle – had entered the river to take the tourists on a cruise but its engine began giving off a burning smell and was shut off, immobilizing the 30-foot-long watercraft, according to a...

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Just what we need: Wine vending machines and potentially more drunk driving in PA

Drunk driving was the cause of 11,773 traffic deaths across the United States in 2008, according to the latest available U.S. government statistics. Drunk drivers, on average, cause the death of another person every 45 minutes in the U.S., according to the group, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). So, of course, shouldn't we make it easier to buy alcoholic beverages so that more people can imbibe and operate a motor vehicle while they are impaired?...

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Your Online Privacy – the whole world is watching

Just how much about your life are you divulging on Facebook, Twitter or MySpace or other social media Web sites every day? Well, here's some sobering news: what you say on Facebook or any of the other sites could some day come back to haunt you in a legal proceeding from a divorce case to an accident investigation to a workplace injury settlement. How so? Well, it seems that attorneys across the nation are finding...

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Lessons learned from the 9/11 responder settlements

The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America happened almost nine long years ago and still the suffering goes on. Only now are legal settlements nearing for many of the first responders who were injured when they dove into carnage of the World Trade Center towers that day and in the months to follow, recovering the remains of the almost 3,000 victims of the tragedy. Finally, after a seven-year-long legal fight, a federal judge in New...

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Protecting patients: Shorter shifts for new doctors is a smart idea

Imagine being at work for 24 hours or more in one stretch and having to maintain your peak performance every long hour and minute.  That's a tough challenge. Now imagine that your work involves patient care and life or death decisions as a medical resident in a teaching hospital, with shifts lasting 24 to 30 hours at a time. That's how things have been set up in teaching hospitals for years, but it's not necessarily...

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Hospitals that make sick people sicker: hospital-acquired infections continue to be a big risk for patients

Being a patient in a hospital can help extend your life through excellent medical care, but at the same time, hospitals can be one of the most dangerous places to get a life-threatening infection that can complicate your treatment. A new state report from the Pennsylvania Department of Health concludes that 25,914 patients undergoing surgeries and other treatments in hospitals last year had their conditions complicated by infections they picked up during their stays, according...

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