Sooner or later, all of us have to drive on busy freeways.  Those who live in small towns find it a little intimidating to drive in heavy traffic, (at least, I do!).  While visiting my daughter in Georgetown, Texas, last week, I asked her for some topics to feature in our safety blog.  Her daily route to and from work is on Interstate 35.  She mentioned that debris on the highway is a problem and causes very serious accidents.  She and her husband watched a tire and wheel from an 18-wheeler going the opposite way, cross the median, and roll across four lanes of traffic before it came to a stop beside the highway.  Luckily, no vehicles were hit, but a very serious accident could have resulted.  She also said she sees ladders, tools, boxes, and other debris often during her commute.
This is a common problem throughout the U.S.  California reports that approximately 25,000 accidents per year are caused by debris.  A Los Angeles County deputy sheriff died when he swerved to dodge a stove that had fallen off a truck in front of him.  (The driver who didn’t secure the stove has been charged with murder and may face twenty-five years to life if convicted.)  Officials responsible for road clean up in California say that they collect enough junk from their state highways alone to fill up the Los Angeles Coliseum 8’ deep.  You can find similar stories from every state in the U.S.
Recycling is becoming big business, and there is more demand for scrap metal, cardboard, and scrap paper.  Many persons fill up their pickup beds to the max to haul junk to recycle stations.  Failing to secure their loads can be costly in some states.  California and ten other states are increasing penalties for losing loads on the roadways.  Fines may be as much as $5,000; if the lost debris causes an accident, persons can be jailed up to one year.
Overfilled gravel trucks can also cause accidents.  Examples of debris include, rocks, boulders, grease, engine oil, plants and their branches, etc., furniture, mattresses, garbage, nails, screws, glass, auto parts, lumber, tires, construction supplies, and animal corpses.  You can probably name other things you’ve seen on busy freeways.
Drivers that are hauling things should inspect their loads before they begin their journey.
There are littering laws and penalties that all travelers should follow.  If you see an unsafe load, get the license number of the vehicle and notify authorities.  It might help prevent an accident.
This is a difficult subject to even think about, but a very important one to pass on to our readers.  We are getting into the hottest time of the year, and so far, eighteen children have died of hyperthermia, eight of them since June 13th.  Hyperthermia is a rapid and often fatal rise in body temperature.  These young victims were left in cars.  We read about a parent or family member that simply forgot about the little passenger in the back seat.  We also read about children that climbed into unlocked cars in the driveway to play and then couldn’t get out, only to later be found dead.  Keep your parked car locked at all times.
July is known as the most deadly month for children to be trapped in cars.  Their respiratory and circulatory systems can’t handle heat the same as adults.  Hyperthermia is the third-leading cause of death in non-traffic related incidents involving children and vehicles.  It takes only 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to spike 19 degrees, and then can go up to 29 degrees in 20 minutes.  On a 78° day, the temperature inside a car can climb to 97° in just ten minutes.
Organizations such as the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration,, and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are among several others that warn parents not to leave their kids or animals unattended in or near vehicles.  PETA and KidsandCars urges “the most vulnerable beings among us– children and animals, need and deserve our protection.  Never leave a child or animal in a parked car on hot or even warm days.  Always leave dogs and cats at home, especially during a heat wave.”
It’s hard to understand how anyone can become so distracted that they would forget about a child in the back seat of their vehicle.  But it happens, and happens often.  It is suggested by the experts that drivers should place a purse, briefcase, or cell phone near the child’s seat as a reminder to retrieve the child.  Don’t become so overwhelmed by everyday pressures that you forget the most important person in the world, your child.
Get involved.  If you see a child or animal that has been left in a car, call 911.
Since this article was written on June 28 of this year, according to statistics from San Francisco State University, the total of children that have died from hyperthermia has reached 36 - double what we reported in late June!  The total for the entire year of 2010 was 33.  They also furnished statistics on the circumstances of these deaths, totaling 443 from 1998 through 2009.  Here are the terrible facts:
51% were forgotten by care giver or parent
30% were playing in an unattended vehicle
18% were intentionally left in a vehicle by an adult
This is one safety product that is advertised on the internet.  If you have a child passenger, you may want to check into this or a similar one.
Here’s how it works:
The seat pad is placed under existing car seat cushion.
Baby is placed in car seat, which activates the safety system,
This activates receiver, located on the driver's key ring.
If driver exits the car without removing baby from car seat an alarm sounds on driver's key ring.
If the driver does not hear or respond to the alarm within a predetermined elapsed time, a louder alarm, using a voice synthesizer, saying  ''Baby in Danger'' will activate from the seat pad itself, hopefully alerting passers by to the dangerous situation.
You may save a life.