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Roseville Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Takata air bag recall to affect 34 million U.S. vehicles: Part II

In today's post, we're continuing a discussion about a recent announcement by Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata. The company, which has provided air bags to most of the major automakers around the world, just announced that its safety recall will include 34 million vehicles in the United States, which is twice as many as originally planned.

The defective air bags can inflate too forcefully, causing metal components to explode and sending shrapnel flying. Complaints about Takata's exploding air bags go back as far as the year 2000. Considering just how many cars may have the dangerous air bags installed, it will take some time to even sort out which vehicles need to be recalled.

Takata air bag recall to affect 34 million U.S. vehicles: Part I

In a post last week, we discussed how air bags work. This safety device relies on a rather complex process that we too often take for granted - until something goes wrong. Air bags that deploy mere fractions of a second too late could result in serious injury or even death during a collision.

Throughout 2014 and much of this year, the General Motors recall scandal has been a major news story. When GM's defective ignition switches would accidentally kill power to the engine, this glitch also disabled the air bags. This, of course, was not the only recall story last year or the only story about defects that impacted air bags.

Air bags: How they work and why it's deadly when they don't work

One of the biggest news stories of 2014 was the General Motors recall scandal. A congressional inquiry and independent investigation revealed that certain GM employees had known about defective ignition switches for more than a decade, but never made substantive efforts to report that knowledge or correct the problem.

So far, the vehicle defect has been tied to 100 car accident fatalities and even more serious injuries. Perhaps the most dangerous result of the defect is that when jostled, the ignition switch could turn to the off position and kill power to the engine - which in turn disabled the vehicle's air bags.

California focuses on motorcycle safety in May

If you didn't get your safety-awareness fill in April during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, you're in for some good news. All across California, May has been designated Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

In all seriousness, this is an issue that, like distracted driving, is worthy of its own month. Far too many motorcyclists are killed and injured each year. And preventing motorcycle accidents is the responsibility of every rider and every driver on California roads.

Distracted driving is not safe, even if the virtual world

We have previously written about the dangers of distracted driving, as well as the problem that too many drivers don't seem to understand just how dangerous it is. It is often said that experience is the best teacher. But for something like distracted driving, the lesson learned from experience could be fatal.

Therefore, the challenge becomes helping drivers (especially teens) to fully understand the dangers of texting and cellphone use while not actually putting them in harm's way. The answer to this problem: Virtual reality.

Uber lawsuit claims drivers necessarily distracted by cellphones

Ride-sharing apps seem to be the next big thing in transportation. And leading the charge in this arena is Uber, the controversial company that seemingly won't let convention or state laws stand in its way. Uber has already had a storied history here in California, including numerous legal challenges, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

The various ride-sharing apps seem to be a great bargain. But critics say that Uber and other companies can afford to undercut traditional taxis and livery companies because they skirt required regulatory costs (like city-issued taxi licenses) and lack adequate insurance coverage. In at least one high-profile case here in California, Uber tried to legally distance itself from one of its drivers after the man caused a fatal pedestrian accident.

Left-turn accidents are common and deadly for motorcyclists

Riding a motorcycle has its perks, including good gas mileage and the feeling of freedom as you cruise down the highway. But there are also significant risks that motorcyclists face. Among the most serious hazards motorcyclists face are negligent and inattentive drivers.

Here in California, good weather allows riders to use their motorcycles at all times of year. Because of this, it would be logical to conclude that drivers of cars and trucks would be used to seeing and sharing the road with motorcyclists. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Drivers often end up causing serious accidents because they fail to notice a motorcyclist or misjudge his speed and proximity.

Two seconds of driving distraction more dangerous than you think

One of our posts last week focused on the fact that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Texting, cellphone conversations and other driving distractions are increasingly becoming a problem on roads in California and across the United States. This is, in part, because those who choose to engage in distracted driving vastly overestimate their ability to do so safely.

Let's say that you have a rule that you'll only look at your phone to see who called or texted (you won't respond while driving). Glancing at your phone will probably take about two seconds. That is normally an insignificant amount of time, but behind the wheel, it's dangerous. At 70 miles per hour, your car would have traveled about 200 feet. Moreover, recent research shows that a two-second glance away from the road is actually longer than two seconds, because it takes time for your eyes to readjust to the road and to reassess the traffic conditions.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month observed in California

Distracted driving remains one of the most prevalent hazards on U.S. roads today. That includes here in California, which has some of the country's most comprehensive laws against cellphone use behind the wheel.

Although distracted driving education and enforcement is a year-round priority, you may be especially aware of efforts this month. April has been dubbed Distracted Driving awareness month. Efforts include increased enforcement by the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies.

General Motors may already be parsing new recall decisions

The record number of automotive recalls last year affected millions of Americans across the country, including here in California. While numerous companies issued recalls, the most prominent example of automotive defects last year was provided by General Motors. Revelations that GM knew about and covered up its deadly ignition-switch defect for more than a decade have caused many Americans to drop any GM brand loyalty they may have had.

General Motors has assured both the government and the public that its recall policies and practices will be much improved going forward. Yet according to recent news reports, GM again seems to be prioritizing profits over safety.

Accolades

  • Avvo Clients' Choice 2013 Personal Injury
  • Avvo Clients' Choice 2012 Car Accident
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Personal Injury
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • AV Peer Review Rated Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell from LexisNexis 2012

Association

  • American Association for Justice
  • Consumer Attorneys of California

Rosenthal & Kreeger LLP OFFICE LOCATIONS

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Roseville, CA 95661
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Sacramento, CA 95814
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