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  1. Ivan Barry Pless
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ivan Barry Pless, Retired, 434 Lansdowne, Westmount, Quebec, Canada H3Y2V2; barry.pless{at}mcgill.ca

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Are safety laws based on good evidence?

A Canadian study ‘to document and compare key informants’ perceptions of the quality, awareness, and enforcement of three evidence-based paediatric injury prevention policies (bicycle helmet legislation, child booster seat legislation, graduated driver licensing) among Canadian provinces and territories’ concluded that ‘child health policy is not always guided by evidence’. This finding came from an online survey of key informants in various jurisdictions. It was not surprising to learn that ‘residents are not always aware of legislation, and legislation is not consistently enforced’. The authors concluded that the ‘results suggest that child health policy is not always guided by evidence’ and that ‘there is room for improvement … of injury prevention policies’. Editors note: I can't help but wonder if the investigators were surprised by these results or how they thought the improvements might be achieved.

Push for new quad bike laws

A coroner in Queensland, Australia, has recommended that children should be banned from riding adult-sized quad bikes (ATVs) and that licenses and helmets be made mandatory. The coroner also proposed creating and mandating a national training programme, prohibiting carrying extra riders on bikes not specifically designed for passengers and improving safety standards. Although the main recommendations seem straightforward, more contentious is how effective existing measures are to reduce the risk of rollovers. Much of this relates to carrying passengers, which is generally forbidden. Editors note: The dangers are generally known; the question now is whether coroners carry enough weight to influence change.

Background check failed to prevent gun purchase by unstable shooter

The man who killed nine worshipers at a church in South Carolina was able to buy the gun he used because of failures in the FBI's background check system. The shooter had been arrested for possession of narcotics several months earlier although that alone did not disqualify him from buying a gun. What should have done so was his subsequent admission …

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