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July 2017 Archives

Many apartment buildings lack sprinklers

West Virginia apartment residents may not even consider whether or not their buildings have fire sprinklers installed. The lack of a sprinkler system came as a surprise to one Honolulu family after a fire in their apartment building resulted in several deaths. The family reported that they hadn't even considered if sprinklers had been installed. After the Honolulu fire and others in major cities across the United States, the lack of this basic safety system has become a growing concern.

Car accident deaths reach 40,000 for the first time in 10 years

Road travel is becoming more hazardous in West Virginia and around the country. Traffic accident deaths increased by 7 percent in 2015 after falling steadily for many years, and data released by the National Safety Council on Feb. 15 reveals that the nation's roads were even more deadly in 2016. The safety advocacy organization reports that motor vehicle accidents in the United States claimed 40,200 lives and cost the economy $432.5 billion in 2016, and some road safety experts say that legislators and law enforcement are not doing enough to keep road users safe.

Brain injury proteins found in boxers' and martial artists' blood

Family members of and people with brain injuries in West Virginia may be aware of two brain injury markers called neurofilament light chain and tau. These two proteins are found in the blood of people who have suffered a brain injury. A recent study found that neurofilament light might be an indicator of acute traumatic brain injury, and tau might be more closely linked to accumulated damage to the brain over time.

Elevated speed limits come with elevated danger

Deaths on the road in West Virginia and across the country could be an additional risk after speed-limit increases, says a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The institute says that increasing speed limits over the past 20 years have taken 33,000 lives in auto crashes.

CVSA holds unannounced Brake Safety Day

West Virginia drivers may have been impacted by the Brake Safety Day that took place on May 3. This unannounced check caused nearly 2,000 trucks to be sidelined in 33 states and 10 Canadian provinces where inspections took place. A total of 9,524 inspections took place with 1,989 trucks being taken out of service. Of those trucks taken out of service, 1,146 were related to brake violations.

Deadly tractor-trailer crashes becoming more common

There was an alarming increase in the number of fatal accidents involving tractor-trailers and buses in West Virginia and around the country in 2015 according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Statistics indicates that 4,311 large trucks and buses were involved in deadly crashes in 2015, which is a worrying 8 percent increase over the 2014 figures according to the federal safety watchdog.

Motor vehicle accident fatalities go up as speed limits rise

West Virginia has not been restricted in its ability to set motor vehicle speed limits since the full repeal of the National Maximum Speed Limit by the U.S. Congress. A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that tracked increases in speed limits and the number of traffic fatalities found an association between faster traffic and the number of people who die in wrecks.

Better economy heralds increase in driver death rate

The trend of lower driver death rates that began in the 1970s may be coming to an end, and motorists in West Virginia and other states may want to take note. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the risk of dying in an accident while operating a late-model vehicle increased in 2015. Preliminary reports indicate that the toll will be higher for 2016 as well.

IIHS crash testing yields unexpected results

West Virginia residents may be aware that the Tesla Model S full-sized sedan has been hailed as the safest car ever sold in the United States, but the luxury electric car was bettered by three of its traditionally powered competitors in a series of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests. The IIHS, which conducts safety evaluations on behalf of auto manufacturers, tested six full-sized sedans, and the Tesla Model S was one of three that failed to make it onto the nonprofit organization's list of the safest cars available in America.

Mining states passing laws to reduce mandatory inspections

The coal industry in West Virginia has been hit particularly hard due to a slowdown in mining. As a result, lawmakers in the state considered scaling back the number of mine inspections. While they backed off due to criticism, other Appalachian coal states such as Kentucky have passed laws that cut back on the number of mandatory safety inspections.

July 4 is the deadliest day of the year for drivers

While driving can be treacherous in West Virginia during the winter months, the Mountain State's roads actually become more dangerous when temperatures rise and traffic becomes more congested. Holiday weekends are known as a particularly hazardous time to take to the roads, and data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that July 4 is the deadliest day of the year for drivers. When Travelers Insurance examined personal insurance claims, the company found that accidents, injuries and deaths are more common during the Independence Day holiday period than they are over the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

Study looks at TBI differences in men and women

West Virginia women who suffer from a traumatic brain injury may be more likely than men with the same injury to also develop neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, funded by the university's Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, found that this is because of the way that TBIs disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a part of the neuroendocrine system.

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