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Injury Law Blog

Motorcycle Accidents Drop Across The U.S., Except In California

Across the country, motorcycle deaths are declining, mostly as a result of increased safety regulations. While helmet and other laws are reducing the number of motorcycle accidents yearly, California has seen an increase of 23 percent in bike accidents and fatalities between 2003 and 2011, according to a recent article

As helmets have been shown to decrease head injuries by 69 percent and deaths by 37 percent, they have often been viewed as the best way to significantly reduce motorcycle deaths. 

Staying Mindful Of Your Social Media Presence During Proceedings

For most of us, maintaining a social media presence is an everyday occurrence. In fact, more than half of all Americans use Facebook. Whether we maintain a blog, write the occasional status update, or use it to connect with friends and colleagues, our online presence plays a part in our daily lives. However, those who have suffered a personal injury need to be mindful: more and more lawyers are using plaintiff’s social media posts against them in trial.

Bright LED street lights causing cities, motorists consternation

We all say that we like streets to be brightly lit for greater driving safety at night. In the past few years many cities, including Sacramento and Davis, rushed to install LED street lamps.

The new-era lamps were brighter, they reduced energy costs, and they lasted longer than their predecessors - about 15 to 20 years, instead of two to five, like the old sodium lights. Many people like that the new LEDs spread illumination more evenly.

Sounds like a win-win-win-win, right?

Wrong. An American Medical Association report warns that high-intensity LED streetlights emit blue light radiation. We can't see this radiation, but it affects us, doctors say. It disrupts our sleep rhythms and - get this - affects our overall health in profound ways. It is even linked to increasing cancer and heart disease in communities that use this lighting.

Drivers complain that the brightness at times can be blinding. There is additional evidence that blue light LEDs make nighttime driving worse for some people. Young people with sleep problems seem especially affected by these lights outside their homes.

The LED lights have played a role in several personal injury cases nationwide -- drivers not seeing pedestrians or bicycles, or not seeing other vehicles lit up by the new light source.

Bicycling accident numbers

According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 726 bicyclists were killed in 2014 as a result of vehicle accidents. This figure accounts for a little over 2 percent of the number of individuals injured or killed that year due to traffic accidents. Californians who are fond of bicycling may be surprised to learn that about $4 billion is spent on cyclist injuries and fatalities each year.

Based on research conducted on hospital records, it is estimated that maybe only 10 percent of bicycle crashes that result in injuries are noted by the police. The available data shows that the number of estimated bicyclist injuries increased from 48,000 in 2013 to 50,000 in 2014.

New technology helps drivers avoid accidents

California residents may be interested to know that according to a projection from the U.S. Census Bureau, there will be roughly 54 million people in America who are 70 and older. Of those in that age group, 80 percent are expected to be licensed drivers, and that number could be even higher if car safety technology continues to evolve.

Over the past seven years, Google has been working on automobile technology that would allow cars to drive themselves. While the company wants a fully autonomous vehicle on the road by 2020, many have expressed doubt that this will take place. However, automated emergency brakes are expected to be available in new vehicles by 2022, and companies such as Toyota have plans to include them by the end of 2017.

DUI suspected in California fatality accident

A Sept. 5 car accident has left two children dead and a 36-year-old male driver facing felony charges for suspected DUI. The accident occurred on Highway 166, where the man moved into oncoming traffic while traveling west at a high speed. He reportedly attempted to correct his 2008 Toyota, which caused it to travel into the path of a 2013 Chevrolet driven by a 30-year-old male. As the Chevrolet struck the rear portion of the Toyota, the Toyota launched into the air before rolling. Parts of the car separated, and the young children were ejected.

Some of the people observing the incident attempted to render first aid treatment to the injured victims. However, the children riding in the Toyota were pronounced dead on location. The driver of the Chevrolet and his three passengers were all taken by air to the hospital for treatment of their injuries. Two of these injured parties were children. Reports indicate that the names of the deceased children were being withheld at the time until relatives could be notified.

Is driving getting safer?

A question we are often asked is, Is it getting any better out there? For all the innovations in safety equipment, and heightened consciousness on the part of drivers - are our roads and highways actually safer?

It's an excellent question, and the answer is yes, a little bit. But it's a complicated trend to nail down. And safety is, as it always will be, a work in progress.

Number of car crash deaths

2013

43,000

18.59 deaths per 100,000 vehicles

2012

33,500

12.63 deaths per 100,000 vehicles

Driving is obviously safer than it was in the 20th century, before quantum improvements such as safety glass, radial tires and seatbelts came online. Cars are already equipped with sensors that track changes within the car itself. And more sensors are coming into use, including the idea of the driverless car.

FMCSA reaffirms 30-minute break requirement

California truck drivers will need to continue taking their required 30-minute breaks during their first eight hours of driving time each day. In August 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration denied a petition by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Association to lift the break requirement.

The CVSA represents inspectors of trucks and buses nationwide. The association claimed that the break requirement, which was instituted in July 2013, does nothing to improve highway safety and is difficult to enforce. The association also argued that the requirement simply leads to truck drivers doctoring their log books at increased rates.

Can a dog be a criminal?

An elderly Coalinga woman was attacked last month by a pit bull. It was an ugly attack, in which the dog bit several of her fingers off, and also caused tearing injuries to her arms. After the attack, the dog returned to the scene and had to destroyed by police.

In the wake of that attack we saw an interesting comment by a dog-lover on television.

In defense of dogs

"I don't know why the law comes down so hard on dogs," the woman said. "Very, very few dogs attack humans. If you saw my three pit bulls, you would see immediately how sweet-natured they are. Attacking people is unthinkable to them. Dogs do so much for people, giving us love and loyalty. But every time a dog does a bad thing, it makes the nightly news. Why don't you pick on other animals besides dogs?"

Can a dog be a criminal?

An elderly Coalinga woman was attacked last month by a pit bull. It was an ugly attack, in which the dog bit several of her fingers off, and also caused tearing injuries to her arms. After the attack, the dog returned to the scene and had to destroyed by police.

In the wake of that attack we saw an interesting comment by a dog-lover on television.

In defense of dogs

"I don't know why the law comes down so hard on dogs," the woman said. "Very, very few dogs attack humans. If you saw my three pit bulls, you would see immediately how sweet-natured they are. Attacking people is unthinkable to them. Dogs do so much for people, giving us love and loyalty. But every time a dog does a bad thing, it makes the nightly news. Why don't you pick on other animals besides dogs?"

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