SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - State auditors say the Illinois Department of Natural Resources didn't employ enough mine-safety inspectors the past two years to comply with state law.
An Illinois Auditor General's report released Thursday says the department had 10 inspectors for more than 40 mines. The state Coal Mining Act calls for at least 16 inspectors.
A spokesman for the department was not immediately available to comment on the audit.
Phil Smith is a spokesman for the United Mineworkers of America. He said many of the state and federal agencies responsible for mine safety lack the money to do their jobs.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says one miner died on the job in Illinois over those two years. Another miner died this year.
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety’s kicked off its “Arrive Alive After 65” effort with a Columbia news conference that featured two state residents who lost a family member in traffic fatalities caused by older drivers.
The program aims to train doctors, nurses and peer educators to identify vulnerable seniors whose medical conditions may unknowingly pose safety threats. Organizers will start with a pilot project at University Hospital in Columbia and Mercy Hospital in Springfield and later look to take the effort statewide.
The Missouri Department of Transportation reported 126 traffic deaths statewide in 2012 involving drivers 65 and older. Another 435 older Missourians were seriously injured while driving last year, with another 3,500 less serious injuries among older drivers. People 55 and older accounted for more than one in four traffic deaths in Missouri last year.
University of Missouri senior Nina Bolka, whose older sister’s death led to successful family efforts to change Texas driving laws, invoked a phrase more commonly heard by new teen drivers, not those with decades of experience behind the wheel.
“Driving is a right, not a privilege,” Bolka said. A 2007 law named for her sister requires Texas drivers 79 and older to appear in person for license renewals. Previously, such drivers—or their adult children—could renew licenses online. Drivers older than 85 must renew their Texas licenses every two years.
Nixon met with law enforcement officers, educators, and mental health professionals to discuss the proposal today. The new money will be used to identify those with mental health issues before they reach a crisis point.
The Missouri Department of Mental Health estimates that 1,100 people could be assisted through this initiative each year.