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Using headlights during the day can save lives

Several studies have found that accident rates could be reduced and lives saved if drivers in Connecticut and around the country used their headlights during the day. Some researchers believe that the number of crashes on the nation's roads could be cut by 10 percent if all vehicles were fitted with daytime running lights, and countries including Denmark and Canada have passed laws mandating the use of headlights during daylight hours.

Headlight use during the day is especially effective at preventing accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. The greater visibility provided by headlights or daytime running lights reduces pedestrian accidents by about 12 percent and certain types of motorcycle crashes by almost a quarter, according to some studies. However, only about 27 percent of the passenger vehicles available for sale in the United States are fitted with this potentially life-saving technology as standard equipment.

Shared parenting as an option in divorce

Connecticut parents who are divorcing might want to consider joint physical custody instead of the traditional arrangement in which one parent, almost always the mother, gets custody of the child while the other parent has visitation rights and spends much less time with the child. There is a growing body of research about the benefits of shared parenting for children after a divorce, and the arrangement can work better for parents as well.

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, even very young children benefit from shared custody arrangements. Further research supporting joint custody was presented at the 2017 International Conference on Shared Parenting in Boston. In Sweden and other countries, shared parenting is the norm. Mothers still get custody in over 80 percent of cases in the United States, but this is changing slowly. Missouri and Kentucky are among the states that have passed legislation to encourage shared parenting, and others are considering similar laws.

Preventing digital eyestrain in the workplace

Connecticut workers who sit in front of computers all day may suffer from digital eyestrain or computer vision syndrome. These conditions encompass a number of vision-related problems that can be caused by prolonged exposure to digital screens, including computers, smartphones and tablets.

The symptoms for CVS can include blurry vision, dry eyes, headaches and eyestrain. Some workers may also feel back, shoulder or neck pain. Usually, these symptoms are temporary and stop when workers leave their computers. However, the problems are known to reoccur when people start working at their computers again. In some cases, workers may suffer symptoms that get worse over time.

Repair technique for water pipes may be hazardous

Connecticut workers who regularly repair water pipes as part of their jobs should be aware of the results of a study conducted by researchers at Purdue University. The researchers contend that the cured-in-place pipe repair method emits dangerous substances in the air and should be reassessed for the dangers that it may present to workers, the general public and the environment.

The cured-in-place pipe repair method entails placing a tube made of resin-reinforced fabric inside a damaged tube. It is then cured using pressurized steam, ultraviolet light or hot water to form a new pipe made of plastic. For the study, air test studies were conducted in California and Indiana at seven steam-cured cured-in-place pipe facilities. The facilities included five storm-water pipe installations and two sanitary sewer-pipe installations.

Construction workers at high risk for some injuries

Construction workers in Connecticut and throughout the country may be more likely to suffer from accidents in which they are hit by a vehicle, piece of equipment or an object than workers in other industries. The Center for Construction Research and Training released a report that said that between 2011 and 2015, 800 construction workers died in these types of accidents. In about half of those accidents, the person was hit by a vehicle, and in the other half, the person was hit by equipment or an object. More than half of the vehicle strikes were in work zones. The highest rate of fatalities was among highway maintenance workers.

Workers older than 65 are more likely to die in these types of accidents than younger workers, and the risk for construction workers of injury from being struck by an object, equipment or vehicle is nearly two times higher than in all other industries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made an effort to address these and other common types of accidents, including falls, electrocution hazards and accidents in which workers are caught in or between objects.

The results of survey on OSHA recordkeeping rule updates

The results of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Recordkeeping Standard and Electronic Submission Survey have been released. The survey, which had 400 respondents, reveals how companies in Connecticut and the rest of the United States are managing in expectation of the 1904 recordkeeping rule updates from OSHA. It also details which solutions will be able to provide the companies with assistance for electronic submission.

There are a number of findings from the survey that should be noted. Seventy percent of the respondents agree in some manner with OSHA's assertion that allowing the public to know about workplace illnesses and injuries will prompt employers to work on workplace safety. Forty-seven percent of those who took part in the survey intend to use the data on workplace injuries and illnesses obtained by OSHA to establish their own workplace safety standards.

Defective fuel system causes recall

More than 1,700 Kenworth and Peterbilt tractor-trailers are subject to a recall due to a fuel pump problem. Some of these trucks may be on the road in Connecticut, and their drivers and owners should be aware of the situation.

The recall affects trucks with Cummins ISX15 engines. A defect in the fuel pump drive gear can make it disengage and ultimately fail. The fuel pump is the mechanism that transfers diesel fuel from the gas tank to the engine.

Proposed trucking regulations stalled

Trucking companies in Connecticut that were preparing for the possibility of speed limiter rules can scratch that concern off of their lists for the near future. A biannual update to the regulatory calendar of the U.S. Department of Transportation has shifted the rule-making process for speed limiters to a long-term agenda item. Last September, the department had proposed mandating the use of the technology to prevent commercial trucks from speeding.

The shifting of the proposal off of the active agenda did not surprise people within the trucking industry. Their support for speed limiters had declined, and the Trump administration's unwillingness to issue new rules had led them to expect a regulatory delay.

Higher speed limits and fatalities

According to a 2016 study from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, higher speed limits over the last 20 years have resulted in 33,000 deaths in Connecticut and the rest of the country. The report, which examined accidents occurring between 1993 and 2013, found increased speed limits led to 1,900 deaths in 2013, even as frontal airbags saved close to the same number of lives during the same year.

According to the author of the study, the fatality rates did drop during the researched period. However, the rates would have been significantly lower if the states had not decided to increase speed limits.

Car accident deaths continue to rise despite safety advances

Improving economic conditions and falling fuel prices have led to increased traffic congestion in Connecticut and other U.S. states, and more cars, trucks and SUVs on the nation's roads means more traffic accidents and traffic accident fatalities. Road deaths increased by an alarming 7 percent in 2015 after several years of steady falls, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that 2016 was an even more deadly year for motorists.

The increase in fatal car accidents has perplexed road safety organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Automobile safety systems have become extremely sophisticated, but innovative accident avoidance systems have not been enough to keep traffic accident fatalities in check. The IIHS earlier credited car makers and safety technology when a study revealed that driver deaths had fallen dramatically in just three years, but subsequent research has revealed that these gains have been more than offset by higher traffic levels.

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