November 28, 2012

Defective Trampoline Recalled by Feds

trampoline.jpgIf you bought a trampoline for your kids between 2005 and 2012, you should pay attention. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in conjunction with Sportspower Ltd, of Hong Kong issued a voluntary recall of the firm's best selling trampoline. More than 24,000 defective trampolines were sold at Sports Authority stores throughout the US during the last 7 years. The trampolines sold for approximately $600.00. What is not surprising is that these dangerous trampolines were made in China.

The hazard presented by these defective products is that the folding legs on which the trampoline sits can move out of position and cut through to the jumping area, creating a risk of severe injury or death, including deep, penetrating puncture wounds, cuts and bruises to children and adults bouncing on the trampoline.

The trampoline being recalled is the Parkside model TR-14FT-COM. The trampolines were sold with an enclosure net and are 14 feet in diameter.

If you purchased one of these trampolines, you should stop using it immediately and contact the manufacturer toll-free at (888) 965-0565, from 9 to 5 Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday, or online at www.sportspowerltd.net, or you can email customerservice@sportspowerltd.net for more information.

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November 25, 2012

Driving & Talking Ban in North Carolina Unlikely in 2013

Cell phone map.jpegOnly four states in the U.S. currently ban cell phone use while driving. Florida appears ready to join the list, as the newest version of a bill banning all cell phone use while driving has just been filed. North Carolina will probably not be joining that list anytime soon.

Last year, during the 2011-2012 Legislative sessions, Garland Pierce, Democrat-Scotland, introduced a bill banning all cell phone use. The bill encountered significant opposition while it was in committee, most notably from Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger. Several committee members remarked that they felt the bill infringed on citizens' rights. What they could not articulate was which specific rights they felt the bill might be infringing upon. That outcry was enough to effectively kill the bill, as Representative Pierce withdrew the bill, rather than have it die a slow death in committee.

One town in North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has shown some independent responsibility by banning all cell phone use within the town's city limits. That sounds pretty strong, but the law had so many loopholes that it was really just a symbolic law aimed at spurring the North Carolina Legislature to act responsibly and pass a stronger state law restricting cell phone use. The Chapel Hill law was over-turned by a Superior Court Judge in August in a ruling that found the town ordinance was preempted by the current state law that limits cell phone use while driving.

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November 1, 2012

Chronic Pain Injections in NC Tainted with Deadly Meningitis

epidural injections.jpgA pharmaceutical company, New England Compounding Center of Massachusetts, has sold and delivered a tainted batch of steriod injections to doctors' offices across the US. The injections are tained with a deadly strain of meningitis. The tainted injections have been blamed for at least 14 deaths thus far.

To date, almost 14,000 people have been given the bad medicine. Most of the people who have received the injections were given the medicine as a form of pain treatment for chronic back problems.

A Minnesota woman filed the first lawsuit last week in a federal court. She told the media that said she has experienced a high fever and nausea after getting an injection, and that she is anxiously awaiting test results.

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October 28, 2012

Monster Energy (Or "Injury") Drink??? Teens Beware!

monster injury drink.jpgFive death reports have been reported to the FDA alleging a direct link to consuming Monster Energy drink. The number of emergency room visits as a result of drinking an energy drink has dramatically risen 10 fold in the last 4 years. The FDA is finally investigating the alleged link.

The FDA does not regulate the amount of caffeine in energy drinks, which can be marketed as dietary supplements. Very high amounts of caffeine can cause dangerous irregular heart rhythms and can even be fatal for those with undiagnosed heart conditions. Perhaps a warning label would help.

Teenager Anais Fournier was at home watching a movie when she went into cardiac arrest last December. Unconscious, Anais was rushed to the hospital. In an effort to save her life, doctors put Anais in an induced coma to reduce the brain swelling. Six days later she was removed from life support. The cause of death was caffeine toxicity according her doctors, the autopsy and death certificate.

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October 11, 2012

Teen Drivers Can Create Serious Liability For Parents

teen driver 1.jpgEvery so often, we have to do things that we would rather not do, if we had the option. For me, going to the dentist every six months to get my teeth cleaned falls into this category. During my dental visit yesterday, my hygienist told me about her son who just turned sixteen. "He now has his driver's license, and we bought him a Jeep," she told me with some anxiety in her voice. Having younger children myself, this peeked my curiosity.

She went on to tell me that they had titled the Jeep in her and her husband's name and added the son to their car insurance policy. At this point, the lawyer in me came alive. "Do you understand that if he gets into a wreck and hurts someone, you could get sued," I asked? She looked surprised, and said, "you've got to be kidding? How?"

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October 3, 2012

State Safety Chiefs Push to Ban Cell Phones & Driving

cell phones while driving ban.jpgLast week, a coalition of safety chiefs from all across the country convened to discuss ways to reduce the steadily rising number of deaths and injuries in car crashes caused by cell phone use. This group, the Governors Highway Safety Association, caries some serious clout. Each member is the chief safety officer of his/her respective state.

While some states have enacted laws to curb the use of cell phones, most states have been hesitant to take action because of legislative fears from a public outcry. The statistics are beyond shocking:

2,600 people are killed each year as a result of using cellphones while driving. estimates are that another 330,000 are injured.

21% of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell phone usage. This result has been expected to grow as much as 4% every year.

Talking on a cell phone causes nearly 25% of car accidents. Source: the National Safety Counsel

4 out of every 5 accidents (80%) are attributed to distracted drivers. In contrast, drunk drivers account for roughly 1 out of 3 (33%) of all accidents nationally.

Texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to result in an accident than driving while intoxicated.

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September 29, 2012

Coppertone's Tan Fading

Coppertone.jpgThe owner of Coppertone suntan products, pharmaceutical giant Merck, agreed to pay between $3 Million and $10 Million to settle a decade old class action. The lawsuit claimed that the company made false statements about the benefits of using its products. Many people felt that they had been misled by the company's claims that its suntan products provided "all day protection", that they were "waterproof", or "sweat proof."

Merck denied any wrongdoing as a result of the settlement, and they denied that anyone was injured as a result of their conduct. As with many big class action cases, the consumers are the one that really appear to be getting burned. Each consumer that joined the claim will be receiving a check from Merck for approximately $1.50.

Interestingly, Merck agreed that all of its suntan products manufactured after June 22, 2012 will not include the language "all day protection," waterproof," or "sweat proof." So, you may be seeing Coppertone labels next summer like, "Use Coppertone because it smells the best!" or "Buy Coppertone - We guarantee you'll get some sun!"

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August 19, 2012

GM & Isuzu SUVs Recalled Due to Fire Hazard

GM SUV fire.jpegDefective door lock and window switches in more than 258,000 SUVs have led General Motors and Isuzu to recall the vehicles due to a fire hazard. The recall includes Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 97-X SUVs from the 2006 and 2007 model years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that water may enter the driver's door and cause corrosion that could result in a short in the circuit board. The short may cause overheating, which can melt wires and switches, producing a foul odor, smoke, or a fire.

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June 8, 2012

CDC Study Confirms Suspicions About Teen Texting While Driving

texting-while-driving 6-8-12.jpg The recently released results from a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) establishes what most safety experts had already suspected: teenagers are still texting while driving, despite knowing the risks.

The study found that one-third of high school students admitted they had texted or emailed while driving within the previous 30 days. The study gathered information from approximately 15,000 high school student across the United States.

High school seniors reported the highest percentage of the dangerous activity. About 43 percent of 11th graders and 58 percent of 12th graders admitted texting or emailing while driving in the 30 days prior to the study.

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June 2, 2012

The Feds Shut Down Buses On I-95 Through North Carolina

bus crash.jpgYesterday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered 26 bus operators to stop transporting passengers. The bus companies carry passengers on Interstate 95 between New York and Florida.

The federal agency closed the bus companies for what it termed an "imminent hazard" due to continuous safety violations. The violations that were discovered included using bus drivers who did not have commercial driver's licenses and who had failed drug and alcohol tests.

Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood described the action as the largest single shutdown in the agency's history.

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May 14, 2012

Longboat Key Police Chief Dies in North Carolina Motorcycle Crash

Longboat Key Chief Dies.jpgPolice Chief Al Hogle, of Longboat Key, Florida, was killed in a motorcycle crash today in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The details of the wreck have not yet been released by the State Highway Patrol.

The Longboat Key News reported that Chief Hogle was an Air Force veteran and a long-time law enforcement officer. Chief Hogle was also graduate of the FBI National Academy at Quantico. He lived and worked in Sarasota for many years before retiring from the Sarasota Police Department. He also held positions as a Sarasota City Commissioner and Mayor. After leaving politics, Chief Hogle returned to law enforcement and became the Chief of Police of the City of Bradenton. After reaching his goals for the Bradenton Police Department, he moved on to Longboat Key in 2002.

Chief Hogle's enthusiasm for riding motorcycles was well known. When interviewed last fall, Hogle declared his love for motorcycling in the mountains of Western North Carolina. During the interview, Chief Hogle commented about his love of high performance motorcycles. Western North Carolina, from Asheville to Robbinsville, is well known to motorcycle enthusiasts due to the scenic highways and curvy roads.The Blue Ridge Parkway and the Tail of the Dragon are two or the more popular roads among motorcyclists.

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May 7, 2012

Train Cuts Tractor-Trailer in Two - No Injuries Reported

Last Friday, a dangerous railroad crossing in Kings Mountain, North Carolina claimed a tractor-trailer loaded with cotton bails as its latest victim when a huge train sliced the 18-wheeler in two near Battleground Avenue and Oak Street in Kings Mountain. Luckily, no one was injured. The video is amazing.

Town officials have long known about the dangers presented by the dangerous railroad crossing according to the Gaston Gazette, but until now had failed to act. The problem is that the railroad tracts are quite high above the level of the road, and the road ramps sharply upward as you approach the tracks. In this collision, the tractor-trailer's landing gear caught on the tracts, and the truck was stuck.

Although there are signs on both sides of the tracks prohibiting tractor-trailers from using the crossing, there have been 4 such train wrecks at this crossing since 2011, and 14 since 1976. North Carolina DOT has been after city leaders since 2008 to make them close the crossing. City leaders have previously failed to take action. The near fatal collision in this case should cause the city to close the crossing.

The truck driver and his passenger narrowly escaped the speeding locomotive, jumping from the truck just seconds prior to impact. After the crash, city leaders decided to temporarily close the railroad crossing, and have indicated that they plan to hold a public hearing on the issue of permanently closing the crossing. For the City to Ignore such a clear safety hazard for so long amounts to a reckless indifference to the safety of the general public.

Cities and towns in North Carolina, in conjunction with DOT, decide where railroad crossings will occur. If any crossing presents an unusual hazard, such as this one, city leaders have the authority and obligation to close it.

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January 28, 2012

Bigger & Heavier Trucks Mean More Dangerous Roads

triple trailer truck.jpgThis image could become a common sight on the interstates and rural roads throughout North Carolina and around Asheville if the truck industry is successful in Washington this week.

Truck industry big shots are pushing Congress to let states decide how big and how heavy highway trucks should be, and their goal is simple: To Put Bigger and Heavier Trucks on the Road! The problem is that bigger and heavier trucks mean more deaths and destruction for our nation's citizens. This coming Thursday, Congress will vote on the bill.

One North Carolina State Trooper, Nathan Mitchell, will be in Washington on behalf of the NC Troopers Association. The Asheville Citizen Times reported that he plans to tell Congress that bigger and heavier trucks will mean more Americans will be killed and maimed if the measure passes. Trooper Mitchell's position is supported by statistical data.

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January 15, 2012

A Computer Device That Stops Your Child From Texting While Driving

cell control device.jpgYou've heard the statistics: nearly 6000 dead and over 500,000 injured. The death and destruction on our roads continues, and at a recent safety summit in Washington, D.C., the experts are blaming cell phones.

A device at the recent 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), received a big award for stopping texting while driving.

A company called "Scosche" introduced CellControl. The electronic device plugs into a computer port in your car and after downloading an app to your, or your child's, smartphone, it restricts cell phone use if the vehicle is moving.

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November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Those On The Roads


When you are speeding and not paying attention on a busy city thoroughfare, bad things can happen. Yesterday in Charlotte, a reckless driver caused a serious 5 car pile-up. When the driver of a Mercedes Benz sped down W.T. Harris Boulevard, which is a four lane highway, it ran another car off the road and then into another vehicle.

After the initial collision, the Mercedes flipped over onto its top and slid approximately 300 feet where it smashed into another car and an SUV. The Mercedes was destroyed.

Fireman responded to the crash very quickly. One person was pinned in their vehicle, and emergency workers had to cut that person out of their car. That person and three others involved in the collisions suffered injuries and were transported to a local hospital.

Careless and reckless driving charges will most likely be filed against the driver of the Mercedes. Police did not disclose what caused the initial collision.

Please read the Thanksgiving Safe Driving Tips below:

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