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Learner drivers—move on safety, for testers

Reuters reports that French driving students may have to wait for 24 hours before finding out whether they have passed their driving test. The measure is being considered as a means of protecting examiners who fail the students from assault and injury. It is reported that there have been threats of death and rape, often at gunpoint. There has been a fall in such threats where the 24 hour delay has been introduced from 96 in 2000 to 79 in 2001 (Reuters, April 2002).

Simulating a shaken baby

University of Queensland researchers are developing a computerised tool to give courts key evidence in shaken baby cases. Paediatric ophthalmologist, Dr Denis Stark, says that damage to the eyes, particularly retinal haemorrhage, is a key indicator of excessive shaking. He is undertaking a project to develop a computer simulation to determine the force required to cause injury to a baby’s brain and eyes (The Australian, April 2002).

Report on parachuting incident

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released a report into an incident in which a parachutist died and only fast and brave action by a pilot prevented more deaths. In April 2001, a Cessna Caravan carrying 10 parachutists, a camera operator, and a pilot was involved in a fatal incident when a skydiver’s reserve canopy deployed while he was exiting the plane. The chute wrapped around the plane’s tail, breaking it off and sending the plane into a spin. The pilot was able to hold the plane steady while others dived and to free a jammed door to exit at 1000 feet. The initial problem was found to have been the result of the dead skydiver’s reserve chute rubbing against the top of the door as he backed out of the plane with his team. (The Sunday Age, April 2002).