Is There Any Place That’s Safe?

According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, text messaging while driving isn’t safe. Cameras watched drivers of light vehicles and trucks for more than 6 million miles and found that driving while texting increases collision risk by 23 times. Dialing a cell phone or using an electronic device increased the risk by about 6 times. Right before a crash or near crash drivers spent almost 5 seconds looking at their devices – at 55 mph that’s time to go more than the length of a football field. As a result, the Institute recommended banning text messaging while driving; and 14 states have already gotten that message.

According to a report in the “British Medical Journal”, rear-facing car seats are safer for young children. An analysis of U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data was done of 870 children involved in crashes from 1998 to 2003. It found rear-facing car seats provided better protection in all crashes through age 23 months. These seats provide full alignment of head, neck and spine so crash forces aren’t centered on one area. Although infants are usually switched to front-facing car seats at 20 pounds, there’s growing evidence the switch should wait until age 4. Car seat manufacturers should consider this “fourwarning”.

According to MSNBC’s review of state hunting laws, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont and Washington have no minimum age for solo hunting. In Texas the minimum age is 9. In Alaska, Louisiana and Tennessee it is 10. In Missouri it’s 11 and in nine other states it’s 12. The NRA believes parents = not lawmakers – should decide when their children start hunting, but federal law prohibits anyone under 18 from buying a rifle or a shotgun. Maybe a Washington woman wouldn’t have been killed in 2008 if a 14-year-old hadn’t thought she was a bear – “bear” facts.

According to Underwriters Laboratories’ testing, autoclaved aerated concrete – AAC – is masonry material that can withstand 2,000 degree fires for 4 hours. Among other features, AAC is energy-efficient, termite-proof, deadens sound and can be shaped with hand tools. It’s a mixture of sand, water, lime, portland cement and aluminum powder, formed into blocks and dried in an industrial pressure cooker – completely non-toxic. The bad news for fire-plagued California is that using it is against building code because it’s supposedly seismically unsound. Considering AAC is used in all other 49 states, that doesn’t sound like sound thinking.

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