Monday, March 25, 2013

Proposed Calif. Assembly Bill to Ban Hands-free Texting While Driving

hands free texting to prevent personal injury in los angeles

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It is already a common knowledge among California motorists that using cell phones while driving is prohibited on the state’s roadways. According to current state laws, only adult drivers aged 18 or older are only allowed to use cell phones equipped with hands-free devices. Those under age 18 are, of course, prohibited from using such wireless devices, with or without the hands-free devices.

Similarly, every California driver knows that text messaging is not allowed as well. It is explicitly stated in the current state law that drivers are prohibited to “write, send, or read a text-based communication” using such devices as mobile phones. However, hands-free devices, as well as those equipped with voice-controlled technology, are allowed.

Such provision was first legalized in California last year, wherein the Assembly Bill 1536 was signed into law and amended section 23123.5 of the California Vehicle Code. But then, the exemption was seen as a detriment to the cause of addressing the issue of distracted driving. This is the reason why first-year Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) introduced Assembly Bill 313.

Basically, this proposed bill would delete the current exemption for voice-controlled texting devices, making it illegal while driving. According to the proposition, “there is no difference in the crash risk of hand-held or voice-operated devices.” It further added that “no study has determined that texting while driving is safe.”

Additionally, the Assemblyman’s office released a statement from Richard Harkness, a traffic safety expert. He said that the provision of allowing texting with the use of voice control and/or hands-free devices was “one of the most dangerous traffic laws I have seen in my lifetime,” referring to the AB 1536.

Aside from the Assembly Bill 313, another bill was introduced, this time in the State Senate. The Senate Bill 194, which was drafted by another first-year legislator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), would ban all wireless communication devices to the current cell phone ban for teen drivers.

For many legal experts, including Los Angeles personal injury attorneys, these proposed bills would be the next big step to finally eliminate, if not totally eradicate, the incidents of distracted driving in the State of California.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Even Luxurious, High-end Cars Get Recalled

Car Accident Lawyers | Luxury Cars on Recall

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Cars often undergo tough and complicated manufacturing processes. As expected of carmakers, assembling every car part, both exterior and interior, must be done correctly. Also, every feature should be in good, working condition. But then, even after every finished unit has been distributed to car dealers and showrooms, recalls happen.

Whenever there’s something wrong on a certain vehicle part, car manufacturers are expected to announce a recall as soon as possible especially if it possesses a potential hazard for those who have already them. Common ones that get recalled are those that we see on the street; surprisingly, even luxury cars that amount to six-digit figures even experience recalls.

In fact, here are some of the luxurious, high-end vehicles that have been recalled recently:

•    Rolls-Royce, 2010 Ghost models. The reason for the recall of nearly 600 of the 2010 Ghost models was that the “circuit board could fail and, ‘in extreme case,’ lead to the ‘smoldering of the water pump’ that helped to cool the turbocharger on the V-12 engine.” Such defect could lead to a fire. Price of a single unit of the vehicle is over $200,000.00.

•    Lexus, 2004 and 2006 models. The recall of about 137,000 units was brought about by a condition where the crankshaft pulley was misaligned, which would make steering difficult. Fortunately, no reports of accidents or injuries happened because of such defect.

•    Porshe, Carrera S models. Models of such that were manufactured between October 26, 2011 and January 24, 2012 were recalled by the automaker due to a potential fuel line disconnection. If not corrected, the vehicle may cause a crash due to stalling, or may cause a leak that might set the over $100,000.00 car on fire.

We can definitely see here that even high-end cars have manufacturing defects. People who own such cars should always be aware of the announced recalls, and that they must also do their part in detecting defects through periodic tune-ups of their vehicles. As every Los Angeles car accident lawyer suggests, vehicle defects are one of the main causes of accidental injuries or deaths among motorists.

Friday, March 15, 2013

NHTSA Reminds Motorists to Avoid Drunk Driving on St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated this Sunday, March 17. Although it is not a legal holiday here in the U.S., it is widely recognized and observed as the celebration of Irish and Irish-American culture.

The celebratory mood of St. Patrick’s Day is filled with religious observances, especially among Catholics. Since the day falls on a weekend, it is expected that parades and festivals will draw large crowds, featuring the color green and the 3-leaved shamrock; two things associated with the saint.

Of course, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day involves plentiful amounts of alcohol. Unfortunately, the alcohol-filled mood induces drunk driving, resulting into accidents and eventual injuries and deaths to motorists. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-impaired crashed claimed a life every 53 minutes during St. Patrick’s Day 2011.

Moreover, a third of the deaths that happened that time were due to drunk driving. On average, motor vehicle deaths as a result of alcoholism in 2011 stood at about 31 percent.

In this regard, the agency is urging the public to celebrate responsibly and never drive drunk. In its press statement released just recently, the NHTSA advices those who will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day to designate a sober driver before consuming alcohol at a local parade/festival or at a party with friends in a local bar.

The NHTSA even provided some helpful safety tips. Here are some of them:

•    Aside from designating a sober driver, it is also important to plan for an alternate transportation before starting the party.
•    If you cannot designate a sober driver, call a cab, friend, or family member to fetch you. You may also stay where you are and wait until you are sober enough to drive.
•    Don’t ever let your friend drive home drunk. Before the party, arrange a plan for them to get home.
•    Because there are drunk drivers on the road after the party, it is best to buckle up so that you can defend yourself against one of them on the road.

This St. Patrick’s Day weekend, keeping yourself safe is the best thing to do to avoid any injuries on the road because of drunk driving. For every Los Angeles car accident lawyer, drunk driving contributes to the injuries and deaths of many motorists and unsuspecting pedestrians. They are likewise reminding those who plan to go out this weekend to designate a sober driver.

“Game of Change”: Breaking the Racial Barrier in American Collegiate Sports

Racial Discrimination | Los Angeles Laywers

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There have been many instances in American history where the racial barrier was broken in many facets of life. One of these facets is in the realm of athletics, particularly in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

In fact, one of the memorable moments in the tournaments’ history happened exactly 50 years ago that defied the segregation sentiments of the nation. It was the matchup between the Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers and the Mississippi State University Bulldogs (then called the Maroons), in what was to be called the “game of change.”

It was during March Madness 1963 when the college athletics was marred with politics, especially with all the segregation between African-Americans and whites. During those times, collegiate basketball was still predominantly white. Many teams that time only had two to three black players on their rosters. Loyola had four in their starting lineup.

The tournament kicked in with the Ramblers beating an opening round opponent, paving way to their matchup with the then-called Maroons. But then, due to the segregation issue, many felt the two teams shouldn’t go up against each other. In fact, the Maroon’s center Bobby Shows was even aware of an unwritten law in which “no college basketball team from Mississippi would ever play against blacks.”

To add fuel to the fire, then-state governor Ross Barnett, a known segregationist, issued an injunction that would stop the Maroons from going to East Lansing, Michigan, where the game was to be held. Fortunately, the state university’s president, Dean Colvard, along with the coaches, team manager Jimmy Wise, and the players decided to leave before they could be served with the injunction.

The game was held March 15, 1963. Before the opening tip, the two team captains, Joe Dan Gold of the Maroons and Jerry Harkness of the Ramblers, walked to midcourt and shook hands. It was a pivotal moment not only in the world of collegiate sports, but also in the world of sports. For Harkness, “it was more than just a game. This was history being made.”

The game ended with the Ramblers winning over the Maroons 61-51. The former went on to win the 1963 national championship. Meanwhile, the Maroons won the consolation game and went home to a cheering crowd of fans.

Indeed, the “Game of Change” helped signal the end of the segregation policy during the troubled period in American history. From then on, collegiate teams fully integrated African-American players into their athletics programs, totally destroying the racial barrier in the country.

For many Los Angeles employment lawyers, these are one of the moments in American history which inspired others to stand up for their rights and also paved the way to equal opportunity not only in sports, but also in many other facets of life.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Dilemma of Liability in an Accident Involving a Driverless Car

Driverless Car, Autonomous Vehicle

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The world of motoring and transportation has been changed forever with the emergence of technology that would make autonomous driving a reality. In just a matter of years, driverless cars may be roaming around on the major thoroughfares in the United States.

Such technology would help address the issue of accidents on the road. In fact, this could save thousands of lives on an annual basis. To begin with, human error accounts for about 90 percent of fatal car crashes in the United States.

The slow yet steady development of driverless cars also comes with the needed legislation on both federal and state levels that would incorporate these vehicles into the road. In fact, a few states have adopted laws that would determine the needed safety and performance regulations that would allow driverless cars to be tested and later on be operated on their state roads and highways. The first one was the State of Nevada, followed by California, which happened a few months ago last year.

Despite the promise of this new advancement in both technology and transportation, there are certain issues that need to be addressed, especially with regard to the legal issues. One of them is liability in a car crash. Simply put, who’s to blame when a driverless car crashes into a motorist or to a property?

Legal experts such as Los Angeles personal injury attorneys know that accidents on the road—collisions, hit-and-runs, damage to property—are often caused by negligence. When this happens and the plaintiff who was injured in the crash filed a claim against the liable party, the latter may be forced to pay compensation for the damages suffered of the former.

As it is, there’s always a legal risk when accidents occur on driverless cars, and the automobile industry players are aware of it. For Dan Gage of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, they “have great exposure as an industry in terms of product liability.” He also went to say that “most of us (automakers) suspect that there will always be someone in that driver’s seat.”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

International Women’s Day: “Gaining Momentum” on Gender Equality

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Come March 8 and throughout this month, the whole world will celebrate International Women’s Day. Ever since it was established nearly a century ago, the observance of this yearly event has been focused on the empowerment of women, in which respect, appreciation and love towards them are highly regarded.

As it is with other celebratory events, the International Women’s Day is often bound by themes that are political and social in structure. Global institutions, from organizations, governments, to women’s groups, often have their own themes each year with regard to the struggle of women and other relevant issues on both the global and local levels.

Recent themes celebrate the vital achievements that women garnered amidst the dominance of men within the political, social, and economic strata. In fact, the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.

Women and gender equality

On a related note, the United Nations (UN) has its own theme for this year, and that is A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women. As we all know, the recent news reports of violence against women, physical abuse or otherwise, have been on the rise. Despite the measures to solve such issues, institutions have been aggressively promoting women’s rights in all aspects of society, letting the world know of the daily struggles and hardships that they strive to do just to be recognized equally.

Looking at the theme for the upcoming International Women’s Day, addressing the issues with regard to equal rights of women have been, so to speak, gaining momentum. Current institutions have been instrumental in keeping up with the times as regards to this common goal. As we all know, women nowadays have become catalysts for change, continuing the ongoing fight to sustain what their predecessors have fought for.

Changes in the employment scene

One of the most pressing issues that are often tackled during this time of year as regards to women and their rights is in the realm of employment. As it is, discrimination and harassment have become even more and more rampant despite employment and labor laws. In most, if not all, cases of such unfair treatment often target women.

The common challenges that they face in employment include getting sexually harassed by their employers and receiving less than the amount of pay and benefits than their male counterparts. Any employment decisions that are motivated by gender or sex and degrade the value of women are deemed unfair and wrong in the eyes of the law.

Thankfully, agencies on the federal level such as the EEOC, as well as those on the state level, have been pursuing the rights of aggrieved women by going after employers that discriminate against them.

Incidentally, Los Angeles employment lawyers and other legal experts hope that giving importance to women and their accomplishments shouldn’t be made on one day only. People must realize the impact of women in the society, and recognize that they, too, are gaining momentum in terms of achieving and sustaining equal rights.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Big Fight against DUI Preventing Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers

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The responsibility that comes with driving your vehicle
Driving a vehicle entails a lot of responsibility. Most people think that they are the only ones that will be affected should an accident happen because of their recklessness. Little did they know that these mishaps can also affect the lives of others on the road.

For one, drunk driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled and prohibited substance has been one of the major causes of vehicular accidents in the country. In California alone, thousand of crashes happen every year that causes millions of damage to property, gets thousands of people either injured or dead.

The government’s campaign to stop DUI

That is why the government, through the Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as well as other law-enforcement agencies like the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has been doubling their efforts in try to put a stop to senseless road accidents from happening. These efforts seem to be paying off quit well.

Recent DUI apprehensions

Just recently, controversial rapper Bobby Brown has been arrested yet again and sentence to 55 days in jail and four years of summary of probation for being caught driving under the influence of alcohol. This is his latest of a series of the government’s drunk driving arrests over the years. Catching a prominent personality is one major boost in raising awareness about the government’s campaign to put a stop to drunk driving.

Brown is just one of the many celebrities that were apprehended and jailed due to driving under the influence of alcohol or any controlled or banned substances. Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and others have also been apprehended for the same offenses.

This is just the beginning
The government’s intensified campaign against drunk driving is just one of the many efforts that are put in place to help bring down the number of road accidents in the country. A Los angeles injury lawyer lauded this move by the government as he believes that by getting drunk or drugged people off the steering wheel, there would be lesser chances of accidents happening, making our roads safer for everybody. Many people and organizations are supporting this effort by the government by helping organize events to help reach out a much people as possible. This show that everybody, celebrity or not will be dealth with accordingly depending on their offenses.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New “Cool” Car Features That Would Help Elderly Drivers

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On a cultural standpoint, most cars that are perceived as being “cool” and “hip” often catch the attention of many driving enthusiasts. In fact, one can name cultural icons and personalities who are very much associated with the vehicles they drive.

One of them is Rowan Atkinson. We all have watched him in character on many TV and cartoon series, as well as movies, being the childish jester doing funny antics while occasionally driving around on his Mini with his best friend, Teddy. In real life, Atkinson, who had his own share of misfortunes (including what had happened to him recently), is well-recognized for his overwhelming passion for cars.

Sure, personalities such as him, as well as other people of the middle or high level of society, can very much afford cars that are considered “cool” in both appearance and performance. However, such vehicles don’t only catch the eye of enthusiasts, particularly the younger generation of drivers. Apparently, “cool” cars now have features that would help the elderly drive easier.

While research shows that it is more likely for elderly drivers to wear seatbelts and drive slowly but surely, aging is still a primary contributing factor as to they get involved in accidents on the road. There are certain conditions in which driving can become a bit difficult, which is why carmakers today are doing its best to design vehicles for the benefit of the elderly, especially those who are physically limited.

One of them is the push-button ignition. For some elderly drivers who can’t turn the car keys on the ignition upon the vehicle’s startup, pushing the button would do the trick. Another feature in future cars is that the car doors are wider, enough for the driver or passenger to get in or out. For those who have difficulty turning their heads, or have poor peripheral vision, vehicles with lane-assistance technology are for them.

Incidentally, every Los Angeles car accident attorney is elated with this new development in the motoring industry, as these will not only help elderly drivers operate such vehicles comfortably and easily, but would likely decrease injuries and deaths in road accidents within the age group.