Friday Five: On Radiation, Infinite Driver’s Ed, Dog Poop, and the Occasional Gun

Friday, August 24, 2012 — The TV show “Glee” has teamed up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to make a public service announcement about the dangers of texting while driving. The partnership is expected to boost the NHTSA’s texting while driving awareness program “Stop Texts, Stop the Wrecks.”  Drivers are 23 times more likely to get into an accident than a non-texting driver. In 2010, 3,000 people died and another 416,000 were injured because of texting while driving, according to the NHTSA. The grim facts highlight the importance of their partnership with glee and other awareness campaigns aimed to reduce texting while driving.

OSHA logo

OSHA requires employers to protect their workers overseas, after NBC reporters came back from Japan with radioactive contamination (via NSBA).

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will now hold employers accountable for employees working overseas.  This new regulation follows a 2011 revelation, made on the Today show, that NBC journalist Lester Holt and his team tested positive for radiation after covering Japan’s radiation leaks. The new case makes it clear that OSHA’s laws apply internationally and not just domestically. The law heavily affects news agencies that hire overseas journalists.

Property owners call for a dog DNA registry to force tenants to clean up after their pets (via

Property owners fed up with cleaning dog poop from the area are now requiring residents to test and file their pets’ DNA. The cost of the test, a simple saliva swab, is to be deducted from residents’ security deposit. With this incontestable proof of a violation, landlords hope to combat irresponsible pet owners, or “poopetrators” (yep).  This enforcement tool that represents a sharp move away from awareness methods like NYC’s “There Is No Poop Fairy in East Harlem” program and no dog poop signs that appeal to pet owners’ consciousness.


Campus professor defies concealed carry law, threatens to cancel class (via MySecuritySign).

University of Colorado professor Jerry Peterson threatened to cancel his classes if students with concealed carry (CC) licenses bring firearms to class. Peterson’s threat comes on the heels of a court decision allowing CC on campus. An analysis of UC’s gun-toting population showed that only 0.6% of faculty, staff and students on campus possess a gun. Meanwhile, obtaining CC in Colorado isn’t easy: a person must be 21 years of age, complete an FBI background check, and have proof of a firearms training course.

States continue to tighten restrictions on teen driving (via Mibba).

New Jersey lawmakers are joining those in other states pushing for greater driving restrictions against teenagers.  The new proposal would require teen drivers to attach a red decal to the car’s license plate, to make it easier for police to enforce a curfew and passenger restrictions, and may even force parents to redo driver’s ed. Proponents argue that teenage drivers are irresponsible and point to the fact that driving remains the leading cause of death for teens. Opponents argue that the state is outsourcing parenting to police and encroaching on the liberties of both child and parent.

– N. Gilliat