Vehicle crash avoidance systems live up to the hype and save lives, according to two new studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, another study by the same organization shows that some drivers become too reliant on the warning systems, get distracted by the systems' dashboard displays or choose to turn the warning systems off because they find them annoying.

In the first study, researchers collected police-reported crash data from 25 states involving vehicle models that offered lane departure warning systems as an option. They found that the technology reduced the rates of single-vehicle, head-on and sideswipe accidents by 11 percent, and, when crashes did occur, it reduced the number of injuries by 21 percent.

The study also found that lane-keeping systems cut fatal crashes by 86 percent, but Jessica Cicchino, vice president for research at IIHS, explained that that number may be high because of the study methodology that was used. The data, which was from 2009 through 2015, only contained 40 fatal crashes. As a result, researchers chose not to control for factors like a driver's age, gender or insurance risk.

However, Cicchino said that even a 50 percent reduction in fatal crashes involving lane changes would be significant. Currently, 25 percent of all fatal crashes involve vehicles that have veered from their lane. IIHS estimates that 85,000 crashes would have been prevented in 2015 alone if all vehicles had lane-keeping warning systems installed.

Cicchino said that the study provided the "first evidence that lane departure warning is working to prevent crashes of passenger vehicles on U.S. roads."

Meanwhile, a second IIHS study discovered that blind-spot detection systems dropped the rate of all types of lane-change accidents by 14 percent. When a lane-change accident did occur, injuries were reduced by 23 percent. The study estimated that there would be up to 50,000 fewer lane-change accidents per year if all vehicles were equipped with blind-spot detection systems.

While this news proves that collision warning systems do indeed make U.S. roads safer, drivers still need to make some improvements in the ways that they use the auto safety technology. For example, another study by IIHS and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AgeLab discovered that car owners with parking assist systems spent 46 percent of the time staring at the dashboard display while their vehicle was helping them park. In comparison, drivers only looked at the dashboard display 3 percent of the time when not using a parking assist system.

Further, drivers that ...
Coastal Texans are no strangers to the extreme dangers of hurricanes. While the dangers of the storm itself are obvious, there are still many other risks of accidents and injuries to residents, commuters and those who visit the affected areas after the storm has passed. With Hurricane Harvey, many buildings and homes have been damaged structurally, and downed power lines and trees can be found throughout the area. Traffic lights and signals have been rendered inoperable, and that makes both driving and walking dangerous.

Carbon monoxide poisoning
Many people simply aren't aware of the perils that exist after a hurricane passes. With the lack of power in many areas, portable generators are often in use. Given the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, generators should never be used indoors. Since carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, innocent victims can be unaware of it and die from breathing it.

Driving in floods
Roads will remain flooded long after Harvey is gone. Obstacles both on and under the surface water of flooded roadways also pose dangers to drivers and passengers. Flood currents alone can overtake a vehicle and sweep it away. Six children perished from Harvey's flooding like that. At least one other driver is known to have died under the same circumstances.

With blackouts comes the need for light. After Hurricane Hugo in 1989, a total of nine people died from fires started by candles. Be sure to have flashlights and batteries on hand at all times.

Construction work is dangerous. Falls, electrocutions, being struck by an object and getting caught between two objects have been characterized by the federal government as the "fatal four." Accidents involving those four causes are certain to occur during the Texas rebuilding process. They account for about 62 percent of all construction accidents. Both workers' compensation and third party personal injury claims will be made.

Increased truck traffic
Once the water recedes, expect both small and large truck traffic in and around Houston to thicken up for quite awhile. Materials, heavy equipment and crews need to be brought in for removal of debris and rebuilding. Like New Orleans, some areas might not ever be rebuilt, but once traffic starts moving again, accident lawyers can expect injuries from motor vehicle accidents.

Property damage
Part of the job of any personal injury lawyer is to read and interpret the language of insurance policies. With hurricanes, compensation for damage ...
Some states like Florida have enacted statutes that limit non-economic damages that are available to a medical malpractice victim. Those damages aren't so easy for a jury to put a price tag on because they're not quantifiable. They might consist of pain and suffering, loss of a normal life, permanent disability or disfigurement or loss of consortium.
The proposed cap on non-economic damages
Most states don't have non-economic damages award caps in medical negligence cases. For example, Florida has a limit on these damages, and that limit is set at $500,000. Should injuries involve severe non-economic harm caused by catastrophic injuries, total non-economic damages recoverable from all practitioners is limited to $1 million. If proposed federal legislation in the Protecting Access to Care Act is passed, Florida's $500,000 limit would be cut in half, and all states would be limited to a maximum of $250,000 for non-economic damages. That would be a radical change in medical malpractice law that doesn't operate in the best interests of anybody except for the insurance companies. People falling under the purview of the proposed legislation include:

Medicare and Medicaid recipients
Those receiving benefits under military or veterans health care plans
Those who are covered under the Affordable Care Act

Drastic changes in medical malpractice law could be coming
By the time the bill winds itself through the legislative process, other individuals could be affected. It's tort reform again under a different name, but with strong Republican representation in all three branches of government now, the bill might be enacted in one form or another regardless of the rights of the states and the individuals affected by it. On top of the non-economic damages limit, the bill would provide immunity to drug manufacturers and health care providers if patients are harmed by prescription medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. That immunity would apply even if the medication was wrongly prescribed or administered. Other drastic changes in American medical malpractice laws that are contained in the bill include:

A federal statute of limitations for those who fall under the purview of the proposed act
Repeal of collateral source rules that reduce an insurer's financial exposure
Repeal of joint and several liability should a person or entity found liable not be able to pay
A prohibition against a severely injured victim receiving a jury award in a lump sum in excess of $50,000
Restrictions on attorney fees
Non-disclosure ...

As per the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, distracted driving consists of "any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving." In the context of electronics, these activities might include:

Using a smartphone or cellular phone
Using a navigational device

The three distractions
Driving a motor vehicle requires visual, manual and cognitive functions that become diminished as soon as a driver touches a cellular device. Visual distractions occur when you take your eyes off of the road. A manual distraction occurs when one or both of your hands are off of the steering wheel. A cognitive distraction occurs when your brain isn't targeted on what you're doing. When a driver is looking at a mobile device, all of those cognitive functions are significantly diminished.
Drive a football field blindfolded
The Virginia Tech Traffic Institute reports that five seconds is the average time that your eyes are off of the road while texting. At a speed of 55 mph, that's sufficient time to travel the length of a football field blindfolded. That's also sufficient time to place everybody around you on or off of the road in danger of severe injuries or death. That's old news though. It's just texting. Now we have smartphones.
State Farm Insurance reports that more than 80 percent of all adults own smartphones. The biggest increase of smartphone ownership has been with adults 40 and older. With the popularity of smartphones comes increased risk. Drivers will not only have conversations while driving, but they can also read and answer texts and emails.
The old law
Up until 2017, it was against the law for a motorist to use a cell phone to read, write or text while a vehicle was being operated on a roadway. The law allowed hands-free use of a cellular phone, but it wasn't specific as to how somebody would go about doing so.
What is Assembly Bill 1785 and the new law?
AB 1785 became California law on January 1, 2017. The intent of the new law is to enhance public safety through limiting the use of mobile devices when a person is operating a motor vehicle on a public highway. Drivers are prohibited from holding a mobile device for any reason while they're operating a motor vehicle, regardless of whether it's in hands-free mode or not. The mobile device has to be mounted to the vehicle's dashboard or windshield outside of ...

Popular transportation network Uber could be in big trouble in the Big Apple. Two New York women have just filed official suits against the company after two different drivers made them feel extremely unsafe.

According to an article on the New York Post, the first woman claims that she asked her Uber driver to drop her off on the Upper East Side. For some strange reason, the drive drove her all the way to the Bronx. When the woman told the driver he was going in the wrong direction, he allegedly ignored the passenger and kept driving. Once the driver stopped at a red traffic light, the woman decided to quickly exit the vehicle and run far away from the Uber car. After leaving the car, the woman called Uber's Customer Care division to report the driver. An Uber staff member offered the woman a $20 Uber gift card and told her the driver would soon be fired.

The second NYC woman allegedly had an even more harrowing incident in an Uber car. She told reporters her Uber driver appeared extremely fatigued and even swerved into oncoming traffic two times. After narrowly avoiding a serious collision, the driver apparently told this woman he had been driving for a long time and that was extremely tired.

When this second woman called Uber to complain about this driver, she says her trip data was completely erased from their app. Without this information, she couldn't report the name of the driver or Uber vehicle to the Taxi & Limousine Commission.

The only comment to come out of Uber's headquarters on this case was that it did not delete any driver information on the second woman's app.

This is not the first time Uber has gotten in trouble over its drivers. Recently a 24-year old woman in Dallas sued the company after her Uber driver ran a red light and crashed with another vehicle. Milburn is now paralyzed from the chest down and undergoing extensive physical therapy.

Only after this horrific accident did Milburn learn that her driver, Arian Yusufzai had a long criminal history. The car Yusufzai was using was actually a stolen vehicle. Uber has yet to officially comment on this case.

There have been numerous other reports in recent years criticizing Uber's hiring practices. There have been at least 15 officially reported fatalities allegedly caused by Uber drivers within the past few years. ...

Legal information and legal advice are often confused, or believed to be one in the same. However, they are very different; in general, legal information can be given by anyone, whereas legal advice can only come from a licensed attorney or a lawyer.

When a person is given legal information, it typically comes in the form of facts about certain aspects of the law. These generalizations can vary, but they will usually sound similar to the following:

“You can usually file a lawsuit for car accidents.”
“Gun laws don’t prohibit firearms in this state.”

While they do provide an overview of legal policies, they do not and cannot provide specific recommendations regarding what a person should do, or how they should go about following a specific course of action.

Legal advice, on the other hand, essentially tells a person what they should do in their specific legal situation. This typically comes from a consultation with an attorney, and creates an implied agreement between the attorney and the client. As opposed to legal information, legal advice requires in-depth knowledge of laws and legal principles, and uses this knowledge to apply the law to a client’s specific set of circumstances. This can sound comparable to the following:

“Based on the evidence and your injuries, you can file a lawsuit against the other motorist who caused the accident.”
“Here is the paperwork that you will need to fill out in order to obtain a gun permit in this state; however, know that you can only concealed carry in specific areas.”

As you can see, these statements are much more specific than the ones that are considered legal information; the above statements provide direct information based on the client’s interests and concerns, while the others just give an overview of what any person could know to be true.

Overall, legal information can come from a variety of different sources, including family, friends and most legal websites. However, legal advice can only come from an attorney or lawyer, who is educated and licensed to practice law. They are different primarily because of how specific they can be, and because legal advice creates the basis of an agreement between an attorney and his or her client.

The LAPD has faced its fair share of criticism in recent years for fatally shooting three unarmed young men. Most recently, 29-year-old Brendon Glen was shot and killed in 2015 by the police on Venice Beach. Also in 2015, an officer shot and killed the 35-year-old Sergio Navas in Burbank. Before these fatalities, 25-year-old Reginald Doucet Jr. was shot in 2011.

All three of these shootings caused major uproar in the local community. Many locals gathered outside City Hall to protest what they perceived to be excessive police brutality.

In an attempt the begin to heal the wounds between the LAPD and the families of slain loved ones, LA's city council just announced they will pay over $8 million to settle all three of the lawsuits surrounding these men. This is the highest amount paid by LA's city council in the past decade.

Brendon Glen's family will reportedly get $4 million, Navas's family will receive $2.5 million, and Doucet's family will get $1.65 million. The vote at City Council came in at 12-1 to fund this $8 million by issuing judgment obligation bonds. Once the council officially decides to issue these bonds, they will need to take another vote next year to send them out.

Paul Koretz, a Democratic Los Angeles Councilman representing the Fifth Council District, made a public statement about this recent spate of fatal LAPD shootings. Koretz said he feels these recent shootings are "very distressing." He went on to say, "It seems like we're going in the wrong direction, and it appears that police departments across the country are having the same problem."

Koretz was referring to reports of increased racial profiling in police departments across the USA. Some critics believe police departments are unfairly profiling African Americans. Both Glenn and Doucet were African Americans.

In order to address this issue in LA, the Los Angeles civilian board has been getting more active in suggesting policy changes for the LAPD. A few measures the civilian board is interested in include changing training programs, including courses on how to handle situations without lethal force, and changing some of the department's rules on how to handle police brutality.

Economic analysts believe using judgment obligation bonds is the best way for Los Angeles to pay off these lawsuits. Los Angeles has used this borrowing tactic before in 2007 to handle issues of police misconduct, and economists believe Los Angeles must use the bonds in order to have enough ...
An entrepreneur visiting San Diego was tripping from a party the night before.

He ended up naked in a ravine!

While this sounds like the beginning of a hilarious story, it is the beginning of a story of a violent attack on an unarmed civilian.

December 12, 2016, NBC LA released a video which shows a horrifying degloving injury.

Here the dog can be seen with a mouth full of blood.

With the major arteries that run through the leg, I have to wonder, did they just want to permanently this person, or did they actually want him dead?
More lawsuits likely?
At this point you would expect someone from the department to inform the public what steps would be implemented to ensure nothing like this EVER happens again. Instead, a statement is released "...While the split second decisions of police officers are easy to second guess when you know the outcome, keep in mind the deployment of our K9 is intended to prevent the situation from escalating...”


In 1995, LA settled with 55 dog bite victims.


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A brand new study released by AAA may make you think twice about skimping on your sleep. Researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety told reporters that if you only slept between five to six hours the night before, you just doubled your risk for a car crash.

Sleep experts have been telling us for ages to schedule enough time each night for sleep. For how long should we be sleeping? At the very least, as this AAA study doubly confirms, we all should get seven hours of sleep each night.

In our fast-paced digital world, unfortunately, few of us get the kind of rest our bodies require. Heck, most of us are lucky to sleep some nights. But AAA is urging all Americans to get serious about sleep health, especially during the holiday season.

To obtain their data, AAA took a look at almost 7,300 drivers, 4,571 of whom crashed their cars. All of these drivers were observed between the hours of 6AM and midnight from 2005 to 2007.

All of this information was filed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. This means that AAA researchers had access to data on how many hours each driver slept 24 hours before he/she crashed his/her car.

As hinted at above, the researchers found that the risk for a crash increased in proportion to how little sleep a person got. The less sleep time, the higher the chance of a serious accident.

While this may not seem like a shocking revelation, AAA researchers were surprised at just how much a lack of sleep hinders a driver's performance. Researchers said drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving in many cases.

AAA's research actually confirms a 2012 study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine that suggested how similar drowsiness was to drunk driving. This study, which took place in France, interviewed a total of 679 patients involved in a car crash. These patients were hospitalized in Bordeaux, Toulouse, and Limoges between the years 2007-2009. Researchers found that "sleepiness carried almost as much risk as alcohol ingestion" in every case. The researchers recommended both public "information and education" to combat this problem effectively.

This is all horrendous news, especially considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its own report this year revealing that over one-third of American adults fail to get seven hours of ...

New California law expands restrictions on use of cell phones behind the wheel

On Monday, Sept. 26, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill prohibiting a de facto pastime among the state's drivers -- a practice that a fraction of those motorists no longer have the capacity to abandon.

California Assembly Bill (AB) 1785 significantly expands restrictions on the use of cell phones behind the wheel, prohibiting drivers from holding and operating their phones for any reason. It allows drivers to activate their devices' functions through a single swipe or tap, but the phone must be mounted on the car's dashboard or windshield.

The new law also prohibits other uses of cell phones while driving, including the examination of maps, the adjustment of playlists, taking of photographs and streaming of video. It does not apply to factory-installed devices already in the vehicle.

It also does not apply to emergency service vehicle operators using such devices in performance of their duties. School and transit bus operators, however, are liable under the current law.

The bill, which takes effect Jan. 1, was written by Hayward Democrat Bill Quirk, whose Assembly passed it August 23 following a series of amendments in 2016. The state Senate approved it days earlier.

“This bill," Quirk said in a statement following the governor's action, "targets the deadliest cause of distracted driving-related crashes, the use of an electronic device while driving. The accidents, injuries and deaths associated with this form of distracted driving are completely preventable. I am proud that Governor Brown has agreed that it is time that we update our archaic laws on the issue and do our part to make sure drivers are focused on the road."

The bill cites research from the University of Utah that found that using a cell phone, even hands free, delays a driver's reactions to the same degree as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08, California's legal limit. Similarly, it says, a Carnegie Mellon University study found that driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

"The distracting effect of cell phones," the bill asserts, "is not limited to the fact that drivers look away from the road to use them."

It's already illegal for California drivers to text or call from behind the wheel without a hands-free device, but the current bill fails to address advances in technology, such as transmission and ...
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