Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Study: Charter school students' performance average

A study of middle school students in charter schools in 15 states has found that they generally performed no better in math and reading than other public school students.

Students in charter schools in urban areas were an exception; they did better in math than their public-school peers, and charter-school students were generally more satisfied with their schools, said the study, done by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. and released Wednesday. But the outcome — that charter-school students generally didn't do better academically than other students — is sure to be disappointing to education officials seeking new ways to improve student achievement.

Obesity numbers rise in 28 states

The number of obese Americans is steadily climbing, with obesity rates rising in 28 states in the past year.

According to a report released Tuesday titled "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2010," 38 states have obesity rates of more than 25 percent, and almost one-third of American children are considered obese.

Obesity is defined by body mass index (BMI), a measurement that relates a person's weight to height. For adults, a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. The definition varies for children according to age and sex, but a child is considered obese in the 95th percentile on the BMI chart.

Fla. receives low marks for education spending

Florida was below the national average for education spending per student, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report.

The state spent $9,035 per student during the 2007-08 school year, 12 percent lower than the national average of $10,259.

The Duval County School District spent $8,653 per student, 4 percent below the state figure.

Of the money Florida spent on its students, 39.4 percent came from state revenue, while 52.3 percent came from local taxes and 8.3 percent came from the federal government.

Of Duval County's spending on students, 46.7 percent came from state revenue, 44.8 came from local taxes and 8.6 percent came from the federal government.

Nationally, on average, 48.3 percent of funding comes from state revenue, while 36.6 come from local sources and 8.1 percent is provided by the federal government.

New York spent the most on each elementary, middle and high school student, at $17,173, while Utah spent the least, at $5,765.

The numbers come from the Census Bureau’s Public Education Finances 2008 report, released Monday, which catalogs education spending and sources of revenue.

Reduced cost, recidivism in redirection for Florida youthful offenders

Called “redirection,” it consists mostly of family therapy and focuses on parents — an emphasis that’s nearly impossible to attain when youth are locked up at residential commitment centers. It does not accept youth who have committed violent or first-degree felonies.

Redirection has saved the state $51 million and youth that go through it are less likely to re-offend than those who go to commitment centers, according to a recent report from the state Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. Yet the program receives just a fraction of the funding spent on incarceration of youth at commitment centers — and spending on it is unlikely to increase any time soon.

About 95 percent of the work is focused on parents, said Matthew Birt, program director for the White Foundation. And the therapists travel to their home on evenings or weekends so that work hours and transportation are not barriers.

So then why does the state spend $11.5 million on redirection programs but about $242 million overall on secure and non-secure residential corrections?

Florida Wins $11.5M Food Stamp Bonus

Florida's food stamp program has been named the nation's most accurate in paying benefits for the second year in a row, earning an $11.5 million bonus from the federal government.

The Florida Department of Children and Families on Monday also announced its program has been rated the most improved in a separate category -- handing benefit denials and closures. Two years ago, Florida was most improved in payment accuracy.

Florida's award is the largest ever given to a state since the U.S. Department of Agriculture started the bonus program in 2003.

Florida's program is the nation's fourth largest, providing more than $4 billion in benefits to more than 3.5 million people last year.

First Phase Of Repainting On San Jose Will Cost $300,000

Phase one alone, which is poles from Interstate 295 to Haley Road, will cost $300,000.

Crews are pulling out one pole at a time, taking them to a facility on the Northside and repainting them black.

At roughly $15,000 a pole, FDOT expects to spend more than $1 million to repaint all the poles scattered around town with the same peeling problem.

Phase one is expected to be finished by the fall. Then, FDOT hopes to start phase two repainting poles along San Jose North to Old St. Augustine.

E.P.A. Lags on Setting Some Air Standards, Report Finds

The Environmental Protection Agency is 10 years behind schedule in setting guidelines for a host of toxic air pollutants, according to a report from the agency’s inspector general.

The report, which was released last week, found that the agency had failed to develop emissions standards, due in 2000, for some sources of hazardous air pollutants. These included smaller sites often located in urban areas, like dry cleaners and gas stations, but also some chemical manufacturers.

The inspector general also found that the agency had not met targets outlined in a 1999 planning document, the Integrated Urban Air Toxics Strategy, including tracking urban dwellers’ risk of developing health problems from exposure to pollutants.

Some experts said the failures were persisting largely because the E.P.A.’s Office of Air and Radiation, which is responsible for regulating air pollutants, lacked the money needed to meet its deadlines.

Supreme Court Affirms Right to Keep Handguns in Home

A narrowly divided Supreme Court today ruled that the Second Amendment's right to bear arms is applicable to all states and municipalities. The ruling will most likely overturn Chicago's strict ban on handguns.

"It is clear that the framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty," wrote Justice Samuel Alito for the five-four majority.

In 2008, the Court issued a landmark decision in the case District of Columbia v. Heller that established for the first time an individual's constitutional right to have a gun in his house, striking down Washington D.C.'s, strict handgun ban. The ruling, however, applied only to federal enclaves.

Today's ruling applies to states and cities, such as Chicago, that have similar bans.

But Alito was also careful to note that in some instances the right to bear arms can be limited.

"It is important to keep in mind that Heller, while striking down a law that prohibited the possession of handguns in the home, recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose," he wrote.

"We made it clear in Heller that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."

BP shares fall; lost market value tops $100 bln

BP shares fell nearly 4 percent in New York Friday. If the decline holds, BP will have lost more than $100 billion in market value since a rig it operated exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

Earlier, the company said the cost of responding to the Gulf oil leak has risen to $2.35 billion. The escalating costs, plus potential legal liabilities and BP's continuing struggles to contain the leak — now estimated at between 1.5 million and 2.5 million gallons per day — have eroded investor confidence.

BP's shares closed at $60.48 on April 20, the day of the rig blast. On Friday, they dipped as low as $27.07 and traded at $27.69 around midday. At that price, BP shares have lost $102.63 billion in value since April 20 and $12.74 billion this week alone.

Justices Limit Use of ‘Honest Services’ Law Against Fraud

The Supreme Court on Thursday significantly narrowed the scope of a law often used by federal prosecutors in corruption cases and called into question the fraud convictions of Jeffrey K. Skilling, a former chief executive of Enron, and Conrad M. Black, a newspaper executive convicted of defrauding his media company.

The justices were unanimous in calling a broad interpretation of the law, which makes it a crime “to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services,” unconstitutionally vague.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the majority decisions in both the Skilling and Black cases, said the law must be limited to the offenses of bribes and kickbacks. She was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Sonia Sotomayor.

Prosecutors had charged Mr. Skilling with manipulating the financial results of Enron, the collapsed energy company, and misleading investors about them. That may be a crime, Justice Ginsburg wrote, but it is not a violation of the honest-services law.

“The government did not, at any time, allege that Skilling solicited or accepted side payments from a third party for making these misrepresentations,” she wrote. “It is therefore clear that, as we read” the law, “Skilling did not commit honest-services fraud.”

News / Metro * Comment * Email * Print * Blog This * * Follow Metro River health rates high on new Jacksonville City Coun

Jack Webb said his year as Jacksonville City Council president will focus on the health of the St. Johns River, fiscal reform and revising the city charter.

Webb said signs that an algae bloom was forming in the river and recent fish kills should worry all Jacksonville residents. The government should be encouraging water conservation, environmentally friendly landscaping and low-impact development, he said.

“If we value our quality of life and the economic prosperity that the river provides to us, we must each do our part to preserve its health,” Webb said.

Treasury sends $418M to hard-hit Florida

Florida is in line to receive $418 million of a $1.5 billion federal fund designed to tackle foreclosures in some of the nation’s “hardest hit” areas.

The money, issued to state housing finance agencies, is designed to support local initiatives to assist struggling homeowners in affected states as part of the first round of funding available under this new program, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Medians, Public Buidlings and Parks Will Have Grass Mowed Less Often This Summer

summer parks will be cut every two weeks instead of weekly.

Buildings and medians will be maintained every three weeks instead of twice a month.

It is all expected to save $800,000 this year and almost $2 million next year.

American Medical Assoc.: Insurers file 1 in 5 claims inaccurately

One in five medical claims is processed inaccurately by commercial health insurers, often leaving physicians shortchanged, according to the nation's largest doctor's group.

The American Medical Association released its third annual report card on insurers Monday.

In past years, Medicare performed well in how quickly and accurately it paid doctors, but the AMA did not release Medicare's data Monday to keep the focus on commercial insurers. Those private insurance companies matched their payments to what they agreed to pay doctors about 80% of the time.

The AMA report card is an effort to reduce the cost of claims processing for doctors. As much as $210 billion is spent annually just to process insurance claims.

In U.S., 15 percent lack health insurance: survey

The survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a stable pattern over recent years of Americans without health insurance -- numbers used as the basis for battles over healthcare and health insurance reform.

The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics said in its report that 15.4 percent of Americans lacked health insurance in 2009, compared to 14.7 percent in 2008.

The survey found that 46.3 million people had no health insurance in 2009, a bit up from 43.8 million in 2008. This included more than 6 million children under 18.

BP Agrees to Put $20 Billion in Escrow Account for People Affected by Oil Spill, White House Says

BP today pledged to put $20 billion in an escrow account to compensate people affected by the Gulf coast oil spill, a White House official told ABC News.

The fund will be run by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who also oversees salary limits for companies getting federal bailout money.

This is the first time the president has met with any BP executives since the spill began on April 20, after an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig.

White House Requests $15 Million for Oil Spill Commission

The White House is asking Congress for $15 million to pay for the presidential commission that will investigate the BP oil spill.

President Barack Obama made the request in a letter Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Obama has insisted that BP pay all costs associated with the spill, and the company agreed to a $20 billion victims' compensation fund on Wednesday. But there are a few costs that taxpayers will have to bear and paying for the operations of the commission is one of them.

The co-chairs of the commission are former Florida Sen. Bob Graham and former Environmental Protection Agency head William K. Reilly. Obama has given them six months to look into everything from the causes of the spill to the safety of offshore drilling.

Study: Millions of cancer survivors put off care

Millions of cancer survivors have put off getting medical care because they couldn't afford it, according to a new study.

All together, more than 2 million of 12 million U.S. adult cancer survivors did not get one or more needed medical services, the researchers estimate.

The study is being called the first to estimate how often current and former patients have skipped getting care because of money worries. It was led by Kathryn Weaver, a researcher at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

About 8% of the cancer survivors in the survey said they had put off medical care. The survey didn't ask what kinds of care they didn't get — or if it was related to their cancer, Weaver said.

Duval Schools Waive FCAT Requirement This Year

When students left school for the last time last week, they had their report cards with them, but not another score used to determine what grade they will report to in the fall.

FCAT scores have been delayed, and Duval County requires 11th graders to pass the science portion of the state test to be promoted to 12th grade.

That requirement only applies in Duval County, and is not a state requirement, so today the school board waived it.

News / Metro * Comment * Email * Print * Blog This * * Follow Metro Housing audit leaves Jacksonville on the hook for $2.

Jacksonville's Housing and Neighborhoods Department is paying $2.7 million back to the federal government because a housing program was mismanaged, according to documents reviewed by The Times-Union.

A little known 2008 audit said that the Home Investment Partnerships Program, administered by Housing and Neighborhoods, provided money for the purchase and renovation of two affordable housing complexes - Ashley Tower Apartments and Magnolia Point Apartments. Those complexes ended up in foreclosure and did not complete key requirements of the program.

The Home program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and provides money to local governments or nonprofits with the aim of buying or rehabilitating affordable housing. The city is repaying HUD by taking lesser annual Home allocations over a three-year period.

The audit found that because the two complexes entered foreclosure, they did not provide affordable housing for the length of time required by the program. As a result, the audit said, the city should have stepped in and purchased the properties to allow them to continue providing affordable housing.

City housing officials disagreed.

Wight Greger, director of the city's Housing and Neighborhoods Department, told HUD that the city was not in a financial position to buy and operate the housing complexes.

She said that HUD's own rules do not require a city to purchase a foreclosed property, which sold at a foreclosure sale for $700,000, but say that it "may use purchase options."

Florida road fatalities hit low in 2009

State officials said Monday that there were 1.3 deaths per every 100 million miles driven in Florida in 2009. While there were 2,563 deaths on Florida roadways last year, that is also almost a thousand fewer highway fatalities than the state recorded in 2005. The number of highway deaths has declined every year since 2005 when there were 1.77 deaths per every 100 million miles driven in the state.

Gov. Charlie Crist vetoes anti-abortion measure requiring ultrasound

Gov. Charlie Crist today vetoed a highly controversial bill that would have required women seeking abortions to pay for ultrasounds before undergoing the procedure, saying it would "violate a woman's right to privacy."

The veto sparked a firestorm of criticism from the Republican legislators, members of the governor's former party, who accused him of abandoning principle for political gain.

Crist, though, said that while people hold strong opinions on abortion, "personal views should not result in laws that unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary."

"This bill presents an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy," the governor wrote in his veto message, likely his final one as governor.

The bill (HB1143), which passed along party lines in the closing days of the spring legislative session, would have required ultrasounds before first-trimester abortions, when more than 90 percent of abortions occur. The state already requires ultrasounds before second- and third-trimester abortions.

Women would have had to view images of the ultrasound and hear a description of the fetus unless they signed a refusal form. Women who became pregnant from rape, incest, human trafficking or domestic violence would have had show proof they fit the criteria before being able to opt out of the ultrasound requirement.

A 2008 legislative survey found that of Florida's 62 licensed abortion clinics, 51 already require ultrasounds before first-trimester abortions.

There were 95,586 abortions performed in Florida in 2006, with 86,938 of those happening in the first trimester.

Charitable giving falls 3.6 percent in U.S. in 2009

Charitable giving fell by 3.6 percent last year as Americans continued to struggle with the recession, though some philanthropic experts feared the decrease could have been much worse given the economic downturn, according to an authoritative annual survey released Wednesday.

Americans donated $303.75 billion during 2009, the second-worst year since 1956, when the Giving USA Foundation started conducting its surveys. The worst year was 1974, when giving fell an inflation-adjusted 5.5 percent. However, 2009 also was the third straight year when giving reached more than $300 billion.

Obama Pledges New Aid to Palestinians

President Obama urged the Israeli government to loosen its blockade of Gaza on Wednesday, as the United States continued to scramble to find a way out of the stalemate in the Middle East and address the outcry over Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last week.

Mr. Obama, meeting with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, at the White House, also promised a $400 million aid package for the West Bank and Gaza, though only about $70 million represented a new commitment. White House officials said the money would be spent on housing, schools, efforts to provide access to drinking water and other health and infrastructure projects.

Jacksonville City Council Approves Landing Parking Expansion

The Jacksonville City Council unanimously approved a $3.5 million grant for additional parking at The Jacksonville Landing, but the ordinance won't go into effect without the mayor's approval.

After a third reading, the Jacksonville City Council voted 17-0 and approved $3.5 million to go to Jacksonville Landing Investments, LLC, to bring more parking to the downtown venue.

Court rejects privacy of texter in narrow ruling

In its first decision addressing the evolving intersection of communication technologies and workplace etiquette, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that text messages sent by a police officer on department equipment cannot be kept secret from his superiors.

But the court ruled narrowly in the unanimous decision, and questions remain regarding whether employers can stop their workers in all cases from sending personal messages using company equipment.

"A broad holding concerning employees privacy expectations vis-a-vis employer-provided technological equipment might have implications for future cases that cannot be predicted," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in the court's opinion. "It is preferable to dispose of this case on narrower grounds."

The ruling essentially maintains the status quo of allowing employers to implement policies preventing employees from using company communication equipment for personal use.

Fla. state universities get added tuition increase

The Board of Governors on Friday approved requests from Florida's 11 state universities for an additional 7 percent tuition increase for the coming academic year.

The action by the board's Budget and Finance Committee brings the total increase for the next academic year to 15 percent, the maximum allowed under state law. The legislature has already approved an 8 percent tuition increase for the coming academic year.

The increase also brings tuition at Florida's state universities closer to the national average. Residential tuition at Florida's state universities averaged $4,382 during the 2009-2010 academic year, compared to the national average of $7,020.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Florida Gov. Crist signs pain clinic reform legislation

A bill that will strengthen regulation of Florida's pain management clinics was signed into law Friday.

Gov. Charlie Crist approved the bill, which will prevent felons from owning the clinics, limit anyone paying cash for the prescription narcotics to a 72-hour supply, ban advertisements for specific treatments like the opiate oxycodone and require specific training for doctors to practice pain management.

There are currently about 50 registered pain clinics in Jacksonville. The new regulations will go into effect Oct. 1.

City Says It's Only For Employees With Health Issues, Will Cost City $350,000 A Year

The city of Jacksonville plans to start a new wellness program where any employee with certain proven health problems can receive free personal training.

The training will run eight to 16 weeks and can be extended for another eight weeks. It will be for employees with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and morbid obesity.

The city will contribute $350,000 to fund the program and it also will be paid for partly with $150,000 from the city's insurance provider.

"I think the current budget situation makes it an even more appropriate time to do something...If we can invest a little bit of money and instead of spending 55 to 60 million dollars on health care in two years, we're spending 45 million. How many police officers and firefighters have we put back on the street," said Humasn Resources Director Chad Poppell.

CDC: 1 in 5 high school students abuse prescription drugs

A new report shows one in five high school students have taken a prescription drug that they didn't get from a doctor.

The abused drugs include pain pills and attention deficit drugs used as study aids.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that the drug use was most common among 12th graders. White students took the drugs more than blacks or Hispanics.

Cleanup Costs and Lawsuits Rattle BP’s Investors

BP shareholders are fleeing the company’s stock amid growing uncertainty about the ultimate bill for cleanup costs, lawsuits, fines and damage to the oil giant’s reputation.

BP’s shares fell an additional 15 percent on Tuesday, as investors reacted to news that the latest effort to stem the gushing oil in the Gulf of Mexico failed over the weekend. It is the steepest drop in shares in about two decades.

Since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, the company has lost a third of its market value, or about $75 billion.

The company said Tuesday that it had spent almost $1 billion on cleanup efforts. But that bill is likely to rise as oil continues to spill into the gulf, with no guarantees that any of the new plans to contain the spill will work.

Supreme Court: Speak up to shut up with Miranda right

As police grilled him about a 2000 fatal shooting in Michigan, Van Chester Thompkins remained virtually silent for nearly three hours until one of the officers asked him about God.

"Do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting that boy down?" the officer asked Thompkins, according to court documents.

Thompkins' answer was unequivocal: "Yes."

Prosecutors used that single incriminating statement against Thompkins, who was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He subsequently argued that his silence throughout the interrogation should have indicated to police that he was invoking his Miranda rights against self-incrimination.

The court shot down Thompkins' argument in a narrow ruling Tuesday that essentially said simply remaining silent is far different from invoking the Miranda rights to remain silent.

"Thompkins did not invoke his right to remain silent and stop the questioning," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. "The police, moreover, were not required to obtain a waiver of Thompkins' right to remain silent before interrogating him."

Justice Kennedy, a frequent swing vote on the court, was joined in his opinion by the four members of the court's conservative wing — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a blistering dissent that the high court's decision is at odds with precedents in other Miranda cases that put the burden on prosecutors to prove that defendants have waived their rights. She wrote that the ruling also creates an odd paradox for criminal suspects.

"Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent — which, counterintuitively, requires them to speak," she wrote. "At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so."

Justice Sotomayor's dissent was joined by the other three members of the court's liberal wing — Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens.

Jacksonville offers amnesty program for property owners with liens

Jacksonville property owners who have accumulated thousands of dollars in liens could see all forgiven under an amnesty program approved by the City Council.

The 90-day summer program would apply only to property with administrative liens, or fines for not meeting building standards.

More than 2,400 single- and multi-family homes in the city are accruing daily fines for things such as faulty roofs, holes in walls or other types of structural damage.

In total, the unpaid fines amount to $162 million.

The program will roll out in the coming months, but details are still being finalized and applications are not yet available. In a nutshell, property owners who have liens older than six months could have the total amount forgiven as long as they prove they have fixed all their problems.

Some of the fines are as much as $250 a day and date back five years or longer. They often go unpaid while the ignored repairs lead to blight, city leaders say.

The city tried a similar amnesty program in 2006-07, forgiving up to 75 percent of administrative liens. About 90 people paid the $25 fee to apply to the program but not all received amnesty.

Some of the property owners realized they had other types of fines, such as nuisance liens, that weren’t eligible for the program. Others didn’t have the money to pay their 25 percent share of the fine.

In all, the city forgave about $270,000 worth of fines under the old program. The $90,000 that was collected was used for the Housing and Neighborhoods department’s property rehabilitation programs.

Councilwoman E. Denise Lee said the amnesty bill and others are the result of a series of meetings she’s held with city agencies, the Sheriff’s Office and the School Board to address issues of blight and crime in her district.

Lee said the additional revenue will help the city pay to clean up those sites, which many times accumulate litter, are burglarized or are used for illegal activity.

“I was adamantly against it, but the proof is there,” she said. “We have all of the facts that we don’t have the money, but if we lifted the exemption, that would help.”

Crist signs distressed condominium bill, vetoes CDD taxing option Read more: Crist signs distressed condominium bill, vetoes CDD taxing option - Jack

As expected, Gov. Charlie Crist signed the Distressed Condominium Relief Act into law late Tuesday, broadening the powers of community associations when it comes to delinquent unit owners while making it easier for lenders to make bulk sales on foreclosed units.

Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, co-authored Senate Bill 1196, which had just four dissenters in the Florida House when it was passed last April. It was designed as a give-and-take between lenders of distressed condo properties and the associations that run them, allowing a bulk buyer to not carry the liabilities normally assigned to a developer, while creating avenues for community associations to suspend access to common areas for unit owners and tenants delinquent in assessments.

The law will go into effect July 1.

Among the nearly 20 bills Crist acted upon Tuesday, seven of them were vetoes, including House Bill 7203, which would have allowed community development districts without qualified electors — found mostly in primarily commercial CDDs — to levy an optional tax of up to 1 percent on all commercial rental transactions.

Floridians among worst drivers in U.S.

The 2010 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test survey found that about 20 percent of licensed drivers – roughly 38 million Americans – would not pass a written drivers' exam if taken today.

Florida drivers ranked 41st, with a score of 75.2 percent. While that was up from 43rd in 2009, Florida's 2010 pass-fail rate fell dramatically from 2008, when it ranked 28th with a score of 78.6 percent.

The national average score slipped to 76.2 percent from 76.6 percent in 2009. Of the 5,202 drivers surveyed, 85 percent incorrectly answered a question about what to do when approaching a steady yellow traffic light, and many were wrong when asked to identify safe following distances.