Vermont improves in traffic safety laws review

first_imgHighway safety advocates today released the 2011 Roadmap Report, the eighth annual report card grading all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their performance when it comes to adopting 15 basic traffic safety laws. This year the report’s publishers, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), focused on the state budgetary impact of highway safety gaps. Vermont moved up to a grade of “yellow,” mostly for its addition of a text-messaging prohibition.”As states debate about keeping their treasuries solvent, lawmakers and governors in many states are blind to obvious legislative actions that will help with the budget crisis,” said Judith Lee Stone, president of Advocates. “The 2011 Roadmap To State Highway Safety Laws shows that adoption of effective state traffic safety laws saves lives and saves taxpayer dollars.”Among the 15 model laws Advocates evaluated in its 2011 Roadmap To State Highway Safety Laws are seat belt, booster seat and motorcycle helmet measures, in addition to restrictions and requirements for teen drivers, all-driver texting bans and tougher impaired driving laws.The federal government estimates that motor vehicle crashes cost society $230 billion every year. In 2009, nearly 34,000 people died in crashes throughout the nation and millions more were injured. This is equivalent to a “crash tax” of more than $800 for every person.”There are both obvious and hidden costs in the millions of deaths and injuries that occur on the nation’s roads every year. Motor vehicle costs are diverting and depleting our nation’s resources at an alarming rate,” said Ted Miller, Principal Research Scientist, Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation. “The Medicaid bill for crashes alone is $8 billion per year. In addition, catastrophic injury patients pour onto the Medicaid rolls to pay their hospital bills. And once they convert to Medicaid, not only do we pay that hospital bill, we pay for all their health care.””Legislators can do more to save lives and prevent serious injuries by passing traffic safety laws than I can ever hope to save in a lifetime of treating patients in the emergency room. For example, Virginia should pass a primary enforcement seat belt law this year to save money from unnecessary Medicaid and other medical expenditures which are accelerating annually. It’s a matter of dollars and sense,” said Dr. Mark R. Sochor, an emergency physician and Associate Professor and Research Director, University of Virginia Department of Emergency Medicine.In this year’s report states were given one of three ratings based on how many of the 15 optimal laws they have: Green (Good); Yellow (Caution – state needs improvement); and Red (Danger – state falls dangerously behind). Placement in one of the three ratings was based solely on whether or not a state had adopted a law as defined in the report, and not on any evaluation of a state’s highway safety education or enforcement programs.In 2010, five states improved their rating from Yellow to Green, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana and Michigan. Two states upgraded from Red to Yellow, Vermont and Wyoming. In all, the District of Columbia and 15 states were rated in the highest rated category of green including New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon, Maryland, New York, Georgia, Delaware, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Kansas, Minnesota, California and Louisiana. The states with the worst rating of red are South Dakota, Arizona, North Dakota, Virginia, Nebraska, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Explanations for assigning the best and worst ratings can be found at www.saferoads.org(link is external).”Having just participated in the most challenging budget session I’ve experienced in Illinois where we made extremely difficult decisions to get our finances back on track, I can tell you that it is a painful process. There aren’t many stones left unturned in the quest to save our state money,” said Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton (D-6th District, Chicago). “If we hadn’t already passed the great majority of laws rated in Advocates’ Roadmap Report, I would have recommended that we do so right away. States pay a steep price for not having these safety laws and it can add up to many millions of dollars in Medicaid and other health care costs.”In 2010, 13 states enacted one or more of Advocates’ recommended highway safety laws for a total of 22 new laws. No state enacted an all-rider motorcycle helmet law although there were 9 unsuccessful attempts to repeal existing laws. The new laws enacted in all state legislatures are:Primary Enforcement of Seat Belts: Georgia (eliminated pick-up truck exemption) and KansasBooster Seats (children ages 4 through 7): Colorado (upgraded to primary enforcement)Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) for teen drivers: Alabama (passenger and cell phone restrictions), Georgia (cell phone restriction), Kentucky (cell phone restriction), Massachusetts (cell phone restriction), Michigan (nighttime and passenger restriction), Oklahoma (cell phone restriction), Vermont (cell phone restriction), and Washington (cell phone restriction)Impaired Driving: Wisconsin (mandatory BAC testing for drivers who survived)All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction: Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and WyomingThe 2010 report found that an additional 362 new laws need to be adopted in all states and D.C. to fully meet Advocates’ 15 legislative recommendations:19 states still need an optimal primary enforcement seat belt law;30 states still need an optimal all-rider motorcycle helmet law;23 states still need an optimal booster seat law;No state meets all the criteria of Advocates’ recommended GDL program;45 states and DC are missing one or more critical impaired driving laws; and,24 states still need an all-driver text messaging restriction.Addressing today’s National Press Club news conference was Marlene Case, who became a highway safety activist after her 17-year old son Andrew, was killed in a crash involving a teen driver in 2009. “We know that at ages 16 and 17, teens just don’t understand the consequences of reckless behavior,” said Case. “We want parents to hear our story and to join with us to urge lawmakers in Pennsylvania and other states to pass strong laws that limit the number of teen passengers with new drivers, strengthen seatbelt rules, and outlaw use of cell phones. We strongly support federal adoption of the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (STANDUP) so every teen in every state is protected. It’s too late for Andrew, but it’s not too late for others. These laws don’t cost states any money and only require political leadership.”Bill Martin, Senior Vice President of Farmers Insurance and Insurance Co-Chair of Advocates’ Board of Directors said, “For insurers, the idea that preventing injury and saving lives actually also saves money is not new. But nothing the insurer does can fully bring their customer back from the emotional tragedy suffered by families and friends when car crashes take lives and inflict debilitating injuries.”Also participating in the news announcement was Dr. Grant Baldwin, Director of Unintentional Injury Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who described a new system that will be available in February to map death rates and estimate costs associated with injury-related deaths at state and county levels.Electronic Press Kit and WebcastAn electronic press kit including the complete 2011 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws, speaker statements and a replay of today’s news conference webcast can be found at www.saferoads.org(link is external).Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of insurance, consumer, health, safety and law enforcement organizations that work together to advance state and federal highway and vehicle safety laws, programs and policies.SOURCE Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —last_img read more

Golden Pen Award Ceremony in Osijek

first_imgCroatian tourist agency and this year organizes an awards ceremony “Golden Pen”, which is awarded to foreign journalists for the best media coverage of Croatia as a tourist destination. The Golden Pen project enables continuous cooperation and informing foreign media about Croatian tourism and spreading positive news about opportunities in Croatian tourism, maintaining a positive image of Croatia as a desirable tourist destination and Croatian tourism in the world in general.This year’s “Golden Pen” is the 14th edition, and along with the Croatian National Tourist Board, this year’s co-organizer and host is the Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board. The awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at the Hotel Osijek, starting at 20:00.This year’s edition of the “Golden Pen” will bring together a total of 32 representatives of foreign media from Europe and the United States, who will, in addition to the awards ceremony, participate in a study trip that includes a tour of Slavonia – Osijek, Dalj, Erdut and Djakovo. In previous years, the hosts of the Golden Pen were Zagreb, Split, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Čakovec, Osijek, Otočac, Zadar, Šibenik, Split, Mali Lošinj and now Osijek.A day later, on Thursday, June 14.06.2018, XNUMX, the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Staničić, will meet with the directors of the tourist boards of the counties from the area of ​​the Slavonia cluster. The agenda of the meeting includes topics related to joint advertising in public and private sector campaigns, fair appearances and special presentations, as well as other important promotional activities with the aim of even stronger market positioning of Slavonia.last_img read more

U.S. Climate Assessment: Now Is the Warmest Period of Modern Times

first_imgA comprehensive new U.S. government report released today confirms the well-established science behind climate change: it is real, it is human-caused, it is happening faster than predicted and it poses a tremendous threat to America and the rest of the world. Titled the Climate Science Special Report, it is the first of two parts of the congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment, last published in 2014. It represents our best, most considered views of the reality of human-caused climate change. As with previous reports in this series, it does not provide policy advice, but it does indicate our most considered view of where we stand on climate change.Report HighlightsGlobal annually averaged surface air temperature, and the annually averaged temperature in the U.S., has increased by about 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016), with Alaska warming twice as much. Last year was the third year in a row, following 2015 and 2014, to set a new global record for the warmest year. This is now the warmest period in the history of modern civilization.Based on extensive evidence, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extend of the observational evidence, that anything other than human activity is the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.Global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have now passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level that last occurred about 3 million years ago, when both global average temperature and sea level were significantly higher than today. Continued growth in these emissions over this century and beyond would lead to an atmospheric concentration not experienced in tens to hundreds of millions of years.Human-caused climate change has made a substantial contribution to the observed 7-8 inches of global average sea level rise since 1900, a greater rate of rise in at least 2,800 years. Global average sea level is expected to continue to rise by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out. 
What is NewThe report notes that there are now many new sources confirming climate impacts, including the acceleration of ice sheet loss, and takes stock of new research and understanding on ocean acidification and warming, among other recent changes.In addition, the report reflects significant advances in science since the last report in 2014. Projections of climate change now offer greater understanding of local impacts because models now have higher resolution, and sea level rise projections now better incorporate variations across different regions in the United States. In addition, global climate models can now more realistically simulate intense weather systems, including hurricanes, and are better able to project extreme weather with greater confidence.There have also been scientific advances in in the detection and attribution of human activities in extreme climate and weather events. The report pays particular attention to extreme events in the U.S., where the science of event attribution has evolved significantly, especially in the aftermath of recent extreme events, for example, the recent California drought.For the first time, the report includes a discussion of climate-related “surprises,” or unanticipated changes, in which tipping points in the Earth’s systems are crossed or climate-related extreme events happen at the same time, creating “compound extreme events,” multiplying the potential damage and destruction.The extent of Arctic sea ice – the area of ocean water that ice covers around the North Pole – may change abruptly, becoming ice-free first in the summer and then perennially, the report said. Warming may lower the threshold that triggers extreme El Niño and La Niña events. There is also evidence of the slowing of and risk of a possible collapse of the Atlantic Ocean’s “conveyor belt” current – known to scientists as the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, which carries warm water from the Caribbean northward toward the British Isles and northern Europe — leading to significant sea level rise, especially along the northeastern U.S. coast. The ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide could be reduced as a result. In addition, if permafrost melts, releasing its long-held carbon dioxide or methane into the atmosphere, and methane hydrates at the bottom of the continental shelves of the Arctic Ocean are destabilized, there could be highly accelerated warming. The report concludes that “climate models are more likely to underestimate than to overestimate the amount of long-term future change.”A Sliver of Good NewsIn a somewhat hopeful note, the report found that in 2014 and 2015, carbon dioxide emissions growth rates slowed as economic growth became less carbon-intensive. However, even if this positive trend continues, it is not yet enough to limit global average temperature rise to well below 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) above pre-industrial levels, which is the internationally established climate stabilization goal as articulated in the Paris Agreement.The second part of this year’s National Climate Assessment, Climate Change Impacts, Risks and Adaptation in the U.S., to be released next year, will detail the impacts climate change will have across multiple U.S. sectors, broken down into 10 discrete regions, including, for the first time, the Caribbean as its own region of analysis. This will provide the best picture yet of how climate change threatens specific American communities and offer an invaluable tool to leaders who want to protect their citizens. As we look forward to that report, we should re-double our efforts to address this daunting challenge.last_img read more