Curbs on youngest drivers may have bad side effect

Posted Sept. 13, 2011, at 8:49 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 13, 2011, at 10:06 p.m.

CHICAGO — Strong driver’s license laws have led to fewer fatal crashes among 16-year-olds but with a disturbing side effect — more fatal accidents among 18-year-olds, a nationwide study found.

Many states require young drivers to get extensive experience, including driving with an adult, before getting a full license. But in most states those laws only apply to those younger than 18. The new study suggests some teens are just putting off getting a license until they turn 18 — meaning they have little experience and higher odds for a deadly crash.

The study examined fatal crashes from 1986 to 2007 involving 16- to 19-year-olds. Results appear in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

Federal deficit totaled $1.23T through August

WASHINGTON — The federal budget deficit reached $1.23 trillion in August. The third straight $1 trillion-plus deficit adds pressure on Congress and the White House to reach agreement on a long-term plan to trim government spending.

The Treasury Department said the deficit grew by $134.2 billion last month. At that rate, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit will total $1.28 trillion when the budget year ends in September. That would nearly match last year’s $1.29 trillion imbalance and come in below the record $1.41 trillion hit in fiscal 2009.

Interest on the debt is the fastest growing category of the budget, according to the Treasury report. Payments totaled $233 billion through August, up 15 percent from the same period a year ago.

New effort to prevent 1M heart attacks, strokes

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Health and Human Services department, the American Heart Association, Walgreens and others Tuesday launched Million Hearts, a coordinated push to ramp up prevention for people at risk of heart problems. The government is contributing nearly $200 million, part of President Barack Obama’s preventive care strategy.

The campaign focuses on the so-called “ABCS.” That’s aspirin for people at high risk, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and cutting sodium consumption by eating less salty food.

Russia delays manned space launch til Nov. 12

MOSCOW — Russia’s space agency has postponed its launch of the next manned Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station until Nov. 12 amid deep concern over a failed supply mission last month.

The launch schedule for manned Russian missions has been thrown into disarray by the Aug. 24 crash of an unmanned Soyuz supply craft into the remote Siberian wilderness. It was the 44th launch of a Progress supply ship to the space station but the first failure in the life of the complex. The August accident delayed the next Soyuz mission, because the upper stage of the unmanned rocket carrying the Progress supply ship that failed was similar to that used to launch astronauts.

Since phasing out the U.S. space shuttle program earlier this year, NASA is relying entirely on Russia to get American and other astronauts to the international space station.

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