The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced an agreement by 20 automakers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. auto market to make automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new cars by 2022. WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE?
According to the NHTSA, this commitment will make AEB standard on new cars three years faster than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. Dr. Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator, stated that this kind of commitment is unprecedented. During that three year span, having AEB systems in vehicles would prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries, according to IIHS estimates. AEB technology is already showing that it can reduce insurance injury claims by as much as 35 percent.
This commitment will make AEB standard on all light-duty cars and trucks with a gross weight of 8,500 pounds or less by September 1, 2022. AEB will be standard on trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 8,501 pounds and 10,000 pounds by September 1, 2025.
MORE TO COME
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), every 12 minutes someone dies in a motor vehicle crash, every 10 seconds an injury occurs and every 5 seconds a crash occurs. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has shown that he is committed to expedite the implementation of advanced technologies to save lives. Last year he accelerated the development of advanced safety technologies such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications and autonomous driving. We’ll keep watch for other advancements coming your way.
LOW OSHA NUMBERS
OSHA REPORTS ON FIRST YEAR OF EMPLOYER REQUIRED INJURY REPORTING
OSHA reported that during its first full year of a new employer reporting requirement, employers reported injuries below projected expectations. Since Jan. 1, 2015, employers have been required to report any severe work-related injuries, including hospitalizations and amputations, within 24 hours and any fatalities within eight hours. OSHA predicted 12,000 hospitalization and 5,000 amputations under the new reporting, but employers only reported 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations for 2015.
ACCOUNTING FOR THE DIFFERENCE
OSHA believes many severe injuries, 50% or more, are not being reported. They have based this on several factors, including injury claim numbers reported to state workers’ compensation programs. OSHA also found that many reports this first year were filed by large employers and many small and mid-sized employers may not be aware of the new requirements. They also noted that some employers are choosing not to report. If OSHA learns that an employer knew about the requirement but chose not to report it, OSHA is more likely to cite for non-reporting. Fines have also increased for non-reporting from $2,000 to $7,000.
MAKING OUR WAY AROUND THE COUNTRY
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines for primary care physicians for prescribing opioid medications. The guidelines say that non-opioid therapy is preferred but if opioid prescriptions are necessary, physicians should be prescribing the lowest effective dose of immediate release opioids. Often times, the guidelines state that opioid prescriptions should be for three days or less and opioids would rarely be needed for more than seven days. The guidelines also address how to select which drug, when to start or continue opioids for chronic pain, how to assess the risk of opioids from the start, and how to mitigate their potential from harm.
Effective April 1, 2016, the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division will require compounded medicationsto be billed by individual ingredient, listing each ingredient’s National Drug Code (NDG). Ingredients without an NDC are not reimbursable. The maximum allowable fee is 83.5% of the average wholesale price for each individual ingredient plus a single compounding fee of $10.00.
President Obama announced Chief Judge Merrick Garland as his Supreme Court nominee. The Republican-controlled Senate vowed they will not hold any confirmation hearings for a nominee until a new President takes office. As Judge Garland continues to make his rounds in the Senate, maybe he’ll get a chance to enjoy the Cherry Blossoms or see the new eaglets at the National Arboretum.