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WORLD
December 4, 2012 | By Emily Alpert
Days after tumbling concrete killed nine people in a Japanese highway tunnel, the country is unsettled, fearful that its infrastructure could be in urgent need of repair at a time when money is scarce. Roads and tunnels sprang up rapidly across Japan during the boom years of 1954 to 1973, said Toshiyuki Yamamoto, a professor at Nagoya University who studies transportation and traffic safety. Now that infrastructure is aging and in need of serious maintenance or replacement, just as the budget is under strain, he said.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 20, 2012 | By Wesley Lowery, Los Angeles Times
California officials are warning against "drugged driving" after a statewide survey found drugs that can affect driving in one of every seven weekend nighttime motorists - nearly twice the number of those with alcohol in their system. The survey results, announced Monday by the California Office of Traffic Safety, found that 14% of drivers surveyed tested positive for driving under the influence of impairing drugs - both illegal and prescription - and 7.3% of drivers tested positive for driving with alcohol in their system.
NATIONAL
November 15, 2012 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON -- Drivers and their front-seat passengers buckle up more in heavy traffic than light traffic. They click it in the West more than any other region. And more wear seat belts on weekends than weekdays.  Those are among the findings of a new survey on seat belt use from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The implications for public health are vast. Research has found that use of seat belts reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%, according to the traffic safety agency.
BUSINESS
October 15, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
The Department of Transportation has launched a new push to get parents and teens to talk more about safe driving as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs through Saturday. Parents also should model safe-driving habits for their teens if they want to make an impression, safety officials said. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,963 drivers between the ages of 15 to 20 died and an additional 187,000 young drivers were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2010.
BUSINESS
October 2, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
Los Angeles isn't known as a city for walking. Maybe there is a good reason - it's too dangerous. Drivers in Los Angeles kill pedestrians and bicyclists at a significantly higher rate than drivers nationally, according to a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. In Los Angeles, pedestrians accounted for about a third of all traffic fatalities, or nearly triple the national average of 11.4%. About 3% of the fatalities were bicyclists. That compares with 1.7% nationally.
NEWS
October 2, 2012 | By Paul Whitefield
This just in: Los Angeles and New York are dangerous places to walk or ride a bike. And in other news, a man was bitten by a dog today. Not to be cynical, but is anyone surprised by the findings of University of Michigan researchers about L.A. and the Big Apple having higher pedestrian and cyclist fatality rates than, say, Omaha? As The Times reported Tuesday : Drivers in Los Angeles kill pedestrians and bicyclists at a significantly higher rate than drivers nationally, according to a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
NATIONAL
October 1, 2012 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON -- U.S. traffic deaths rose a projected 9% in the first half of this year, compared with the same period a year ago, for the largest increase since 1975, as an improved economy led motorists to drive more. The increase comes after road fatalities dropped last year to their lowest level in more than six decades. An estimated 16,290 people died in crashes between January and June, up from 14,950 for the first half of 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
NEWS
May 16, 2012 | By Paul Whitefield
This just in:  You can't outlaw human nature. And no, I don't mean Prohibition and demon rum (although that is still Exhibit A). I mean the California law that bans texting or using a hand-held phone while driving. As The Times reported Wednesday: Californians are increasingly talking or sending text messages on their cellphone while driving, a new study has found. A statewide survey showed 10.8% of drivers use mobile devices at any given daylight time, an increase from 7.3% a year ago, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.
NATIONAL
May 7, 2012 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON -- U.S. traffic deaths dropped last year to their lowest level since record-keeping began in 1949, according to an estimate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The region encompassing California, Arizona and Hawaii was the only one with an increase in highway fatalities, up about 3.3% from the previous year. Last year's national decline in traffic fatalities -- to 32,310 -- came as motorists drove about 36 billion, or about 1.2%, fewer miles, perhaps because of high gas prices and a still-difficult economy that might have discouraged pleasure road trips.
BUSINESS
April 13, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera and Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — More than 21/2 years after the fatal crash of a Lexus in suburban San Diego led to the recall of millions of Toyota vehicles, federal regulators are taking their most significant step to prevent future vehicles from accelerating out of control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration formally proposed a requirement Thursday that automakers include a brake-throttle override system in all their passenger cars and light trucks to help drivers regain control when a vehicle accelerates suddenly.
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