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Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata Corporation has announced that 2.7 million more airbag inflators will be recalled over concerns that a chemical in the inflator may rupture while the airbag is being deployed sending fragments into cars that can injure drivers and passengers. This most recent recall adds to what is already the largest ever auto safety recall.

The defective airbag inflators are used in certain 2007-2012 model year Ford, Nissan, and Mazda vehicles. The largest recall group is Ford. A spokesman for the Ford Motor Company has said that the issue covers roughly 2.2 million vehicles. Nissan plans to recall 515,000 Versa models in the United States, and an additional 112,000 Versa models worldwide. While Mazda has said that the new recalls will cover a much smaller number of vehicles, only 6,000.

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Pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has voluntarily recalled certain insulin cartridge holders used in NovoPen Echo products. Novo Nordisk determined that the affected holders may become damaged or break if exposed to certain chemicals, including cleaning products. Damage to the holder may result in the NovoPen Echo not delivering enough insulin to the user, which could potentially lead to high blood sugar.

Warning signs of high blood sugar (or hyperglycemia) typically appear over time and can include: flushed, dry skin; feeling sleepy or tired; dry mouth, breath taking on a fruity scent; urinating more often, feeling thirsty; loss of appetite, feeling or being sick. Novo Nordisk is advising users with an affected device to check their blood sugar levels more frequently until they receive a replacement holder.

The affected batches of holders were sent to various distributors, sales representatives, and replacement programs for nationwide distribution between August 1, 2016 and June 22, 2017.

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The odds of getting into a crash increase with the number of cars on the road and Memorial Day weekend is one of the most heavily traveled weekends of the year.  The American Automobile Association (AAA) projects 34.6 million people will drive 50 miles (80 km) or more from home during this holiday period, the most since 37.3 million in 2005 and an increase of 2.4 million people from last year.

National Safety Council put out their highest estimate of Memorial Day holiday accident fatalities since 2012. The estimated number of fatalities is 12% higher than the average number of deaths that occurred during the previous six Memorial Day holiday periods.  The Council also estimates around 47,000 people may be seriously injured on the roads during the three-day holiday period, beginning Friday, May 26 and ending on Monday, May 29.

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“Memorial Day should mark the start of summer – not the start of another deadly driving season,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Paying attention, slowing down and being courteous can ensure you and your fellow travelers make it to picnics, beaches and BBQs rather than emergency rooms.”

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With the rising popularity of cell phone use over the years the amount of car accidents caused by distracted drivers has also increased.  More and more drivers are having trouble keeping their eyes on the road and instead are choosing to look at their cell phones to text, use Facebook and snapchat, read and send emails, or do any number of distracting things on their phone.  Even though almost all of the States ban texting while driving, the National Safety Council estimated that as many as 10,000 Americans were killed because of distracted driving last year.

If you are travelling at 55mph and are looking at your phone for 5 seconds you will travel the length of a football field without looking at the road and the possible dangers that exist on it.  By texting and driving you are essentially driving blindfolded and putting your life and the lives of others in danger.

In 2016, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey and found that 40% of drivers stated they have read a text or an email while driving, and nearly 1/3 reported typing one.  There have been numerous public service campaigns, such as “It can wait,” to convince people to put down their cell phones while they are driving but the distracted driving epidemic continues to exist at an alarming level.

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Teenagers dream about getting their driver’s license.  It is one of the milestones of their life.  However, handing over the car keys to their child is one of the most stressful moments of being a parent. That stress comes from the fact that vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 24 year olds.

May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month and PennDOT is encouraging parents of teenage drivers to review Pennsylvania’s Graduated Driver Licensing law.  The GDL law has been shown to be effective in reducing crashes and fatalities for teen drivers. The GDL lays out restrictions for drivers with a learner’s permit, as well as those with a junior license.

Last year, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards began delivering personal safety messages to young drivers convicted of moving traffic violations. Driver’s between the ages 16 and 20 who were cited for driving violations received a personal letter from Richards reminding them of the importance of following the law and the consequences of developing bad driving habits so early in their driving experience.

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Standard Homeopathic Company is recalling all of its Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets and Hyland’s Baby Nighttime Teething Tablets nationwide. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has concluded that the medicines have been found to contain inconsistent amounts of an herb that may differ from the calculated amount on the products’ labels and could potentially be dangerous.33864758052_e80c66630f_b

That herb is belladonna which has been used as a homeopathic medicine for many years but its scientific evidence of recommended use is insufficient.  Because the effects of belladonna are unpredictable, the FDA believes that belladonna represents a serious health hazard to children.  The FDA stated that “there is no known safe dose or toxic dose of belladonna in children because of the many factors that affect it.”

The FDA began investigating the products after receiving a September 2016 comprehensive report of a child having a seizure after using one. An FDA preliminary investigation found reports of adverse effects, including 10 possible deaths, seizures, shortness of breath and tremor.  Standard Homeopathic Company stopped making and shipping the medicines nationwide in October 2016.

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Spring is here which brings warmer temperatures.  Warmer temperatures mean that motorcycle riding season is here in Pennsylvania.

PennDOT is urging riders of all ages and skill levels to prepare for the season by taking the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program training course. The training courses are available throughout Pennsylvania and are free to all Pennsylvania residents and active duty military with a Motorcycle Learner’s permit or motorcycle license.  The free courses are for novice through seasoned riders and are under the supervision of certified instructors.

“Keeping skills sharp and reinforcing the importance of safety through Pennsylvania’s free motorcycle safety classes help both novice and experienced riders enjoy a safe and enjoyable riding season,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Riders can practice and refine their techniques while honing the split-second decision making required to safely operate a motorcycle.”

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Over the past few years consumers have been becoming more aware of the potential that the hoverboard (self-propelled scooter) they purchased may burst into flames and do untold damage to property and people.  Tragically, the first deaths in the United States related to a hoverboard ignited fire occurred this month in Pennsylvania.  Ashanti Hughes (2) and Savannah Dominick (10) both lost their lives as a result of a fire that destroyed their Harrisburg home on March 10, 2017.  The fire was caused by a hoverboard that ignited as it was charging in the home of the victims.  The fire also claimed the life of Harrisburg firefighter Lt. Dennis DeVoe who died from injuries he suffered in a crash on the way to the scene of the fire. Other injuries related to the fire were also reported.22011874862_770124302d_b

Hoverboards have been recalled, banned on airplanes, and removed from countless stores. In 2016, more than 500,000 hoverboards made by 11 companies were recalled.  The reason for the recall was that the products did not meet fire safety standards. However many still remain in circulation. This has encouraged a renewed call for officials to again warn consumers about the potential dangers of these products and to get these dangerous products out of stores and homes.

The reasons for the hoverboard igniting vary but the most common is the faulty lithium-ion batteries overheating and catching fire.  Many of the incidents have been reported to have happened while the hoverboard was charging but fire incidents have also been reported when it was sitting idle off the charger and while being ridden.

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Long shelf-life snacks like chocolate covered pretzels are being recalled by six grocery store chains across the country, as reported by Food Safety News. Palmer Candy Company produced the snacks, which are recalled for salmonella contamination. The salmonella was found specifically in the powdered milk product used in the making of the snacks and manufactured by Valley Milk Products LLC. The six chains recalling the products are HyVee, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, Tom Thumb and Lucky.

The affected products are dated between Jan. 26 and Feb. 23, 2017. Consumers can either throw the contaminated items out or return them for a refund.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has applied to the US Department of Transportation hoping to have Pennsylvania be designated as an Automated Vehicle Proving Ground.  The purpose of the application is to help in the facilitation of the safe and innovative development of Automated Vehicle technologies.

The application puts forth the benefits of Pennsylvania as a testing location because of the already existing facilities, environments, and topography within the state. “This application further illustrates that we’re a national leader in supporting automated vehicle development with safety and flexibility in mind,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “We’ve put in significant work on this issue with our task force, with our partners in the legislature, and through close collaboration with the industry.”

The application also highlighted the Pennsylvania Autonomous Vehicle Policy Task Force, which recently issued its recommended guidance to assist with testing policies helping to make testing proving grounds a success.