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Brake Safety Week finds nearly 5,000 trucks with violations

Truckers in California may remember that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance held its annual Brake Safety Week back in September. The results of that inspection spree have been released. A total of 35,080 commercial vehicles in the U.S. and Canada were stopped for inspection, and among those, 4,955 were placed out of service.

Brake violations were, incidentally, the number one reason for out-of-service violations during the International Roadcheck, accounting for 28.4 percent of them. This 72-hour inspection spree, also held by the CVSA, took place in June. The 2017 Brake Safety Day naturally saw fewer trucks being inspected, but the percentage of OOS violations was almost the same: 14 percent compared to 14.1 percent in 2018.

Pregnancy discrimination is forbidden by federal laws

The addition of a baby to a family is a joyful time in a woman's life but, tragically, her career can sometimes be detrimentally affected. It is difficult for an expectant mother to realize that her pregnancy is problem for her employer. Fortunately, pregnant women have specific rights that are established by federal and state laws.

It is against the law for an employer to discriminate against a woman simply because she is pregnant. In 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed by Congress to address the issue of employers acting negatively toward women who are expecting a baby.

Falling asleep at the wheel: It can happen to anyone

Operating a motor vehicle is difficult enough when you're 100 percent alert and paying attention to everything happening around you. If you're drowsy for any reason, such as a lack of sleep or prescription drug use, it makes it more difficult to remain safe.

Even the safest drivers can fall asleep at the wheel, so it's important to protect against this. According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 40 percent of Americans have fallen asleep at the wheel over the past year. While this doesn't always result in an accident, it definitely increases the chance of trouble.

Are you familiar with these causes of car accidents?

Every time you get behind the wheel of your car, it's important to take steps to enhance your safety. This starts with knowing the most common causes of car accidents, as this knowledge can help you avoid a bad situation.

Here are seven causes of car accidents, all of which you can protect against with the right strategy:

  • Distracted driving: All distractions, even one that doesn't appear to be a big deal, should be avoided when you're behind the wheel. This includes everything from texting to eating to conversing with passengers.
  • Drunk driving: Drunk driving is a leading cause of accidents in the United States, so it's best to avoid the road if you've been drinking. It only takes one drink to impair your judgment.
  • Speeding: Driving in excess of the speed limit is dangerous, as it makes it more difficult to control your vehicle and stop in a timely manner.
  • Reckless driving: There are many forms of reckless driving, such as excessive speeding, illegal passing and changing lanes without notice.
  • Inclement weather: For example, when heavy rain moves into the area, you need to slow down. If you don't, you could lose control of your vehicle.
  • Nighttime driving: Driving at night reduces visibility, which makes it that much more important to pay close attention to the road. The use of headlights and high beams, when appropriate, can help increase visibility.
  • Tailgating: Even when traffic is moving slowly, don't drive too closely to the vehicle in front of yours. Not only does this make it more difficult to stop abruptly, but it may anger the other driver.

Decoding Halloween driving dangers

AAA has a few warnings for San Francisco partygoers who are out on Halloween night. There are often a few spooks that can be found on the road during Halloween, and they're usually in the form of drunk drivers. The hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. are considered the most dangerous times to be on the road on Halloween night. National statistics reveal that about 44 percent of accidents that occur during this time period involve someone who has been drinking and driving.

While the holiday can also be dangerous for trick-or-treaters, there were actually no pedestrians killed on Halloween in 2016. This indicates that people walking are much safer than drivers and passengers. There are a few safety tips that AAA has suggested to help keep drivers and pedestrians safe while having fun going from house to house.

Cellphone use leads to distracted driving crashes

Distracted driving is a serious problem in America. It causes hundreds of accidents, all of which could be avoided. Literally thousands of people have been killed in crashes where individuals were using their cellphones. That's not even considering the situations where people were using other devices, eating behind the wheel or becoming distracted in additional ways.

People like to believe that they're able to multitask, but the reality is that no one can do two things at once, efficiently. Even though you think you can, the brain has to prioritize one action over another. You may appear to be watching where you're going but actually be daydreaming, for instance. This is part of what makes multitasking so dangerous.

Overprescribing opioids contributes to addiction

The opioid epidemic has to be addressed, but this is proving to be very tricky. The dangers of drugs, such as heroin and prescription pain relievers, are widely noted. There are no options that will work for everyone across the board when it comes to helping people overcome this addiction.

Some individuals say that doctors should stop prescribing these drugs. Unfortunately, this isn't possible because some individuals have pain that can't be controlled through any other means. For those patients, doctors need to provide drugs that will help them, but this has to be done in a safe and controlled environment.

Mental illness and discrimination at work

Almost one in every five adults in the United States experiences a form of mental illness in a given year, according to information from the National Alliance on Mental Health. Unfortunately, some of these individuals face discrimination from California employers.

There may be a wide range of events that can occur in a person's life that can contribute to anxiety, depression, PTSD or other mental illnesses. The death of a loved one, trauma, experiences in the military and divorce are just a sample of stressors that can negatively affect a person mentally. For someone with mental illness who is part of the workforce or a potential hire, requesting a reasonable accommodation from the employer may be necessary.

Abilify is a drug that helps some and seriously hurts others

Medications intended to treat mental health and emotional issues have come a long way in recent years. While there were once only a few options available to those struggling with emotional or mental health issues, there are now a large number of options available. Many of these medications can offer benefits to patients struggling with issues ranging from depression or anxiety to psychosis.

Abilify is one such drug. Marketed as an anti-psychotic, it can help people with conditions ranging from bipolar depression to schizophrenia control the worst of their symptoms. Unfortunately, overuse and over-prescription of this drug may pose a serious risk to some patients.

Nursing home understaffing linked to neglect

California readers may be concerned to learn that many nursing homes across the United States are understaffed, according to an investigation by the New York Times and Kaiser Health News. Worse, the staff shortages could be leading to the neglect of patients staying at the facilities.

The investigation found that 1,400 nursing homes around the country have fewer registered nurses than are required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This was discovered by examining facility payroll records, which revealed that some nursing homes failed to report the presence of a registered nurse for eight hours or more. The records further revealed that the presence of nursing assistants was also inconsistent. This was particularly true on weekends, when nursing home records showed an 11 percent drop in the staffing of registered nurses and an 8 percent drop in the staffing of nursing aides.

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