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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

New report: PA air is polluted/Police crack down on aggressive-distracted drivers

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jul 13, 2018 4:48 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, July 13, 2018:

Millions of Americans are exposed to polluted air, a recent report by the Environment America Research & Policy Center found and released by the environmental group Penn Environment.

Air pollution can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems, which may lead to premature death. The report, titled "Trouble in the Air," found that even at levels considered "good" or "moderate" by the Environmental Protection Agency, pollution can still be harmful to people's health.

After detailing the magnitude and dangers of air pollution in the United States, "Trouble in the Air" offers recommendations for future improvement. These suggestions include supporting government initiatives to reduce global warming and decrease pollution from vehicles.

The report found that the Central Pennsylvania region has some of the most polluted air in the country. Particulate matter is a particular problem in the region.

Stephanie Wein from PennEnvironment joins us on Friday's Smart Talk to discuss pollution and "Trouble in the Air."

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Stephanie Wein

Also, Pennsylvania police are cracking down on aggressive and distracted driving with an aggressive driving enforcement initiative. They are watching for people tailgating, running red lights, speeding, and not steering clear of emergency vehicles. During the last enforcement period in March and April, over 4,000 citations were issued.

Speeding, an aggressive driving habit, was responsible for over ¼ of traffic deaths in 2016. Congested roads and running late are some of the most common reasons people drive aggressively.

Distracted driving often involves texting, though it can include any behavior that requires drivers to take their focus from the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that texting causes drivers to look away from the road for five seconds, which, at a speed of 55 mph, is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with one's eyes closed. This organization estimates that 481,000 people use cell phones while driving during the day.

Joining us on Friday to talk about the aggressive driving enforcement initiative are Co-Coordinators Barbara Zortman and Jeff Bowman, Region 2 Law Enforcement Liaison for the Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving Enforcement & Education Project, and Corporal Eric Carter from the Harrisburg Bureau of Police.

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Jeff Bowman, Barbara Zortman, and Corporal Eric Carter

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