Los Angeles Bike-Sharing Program on Hold

July 12, 2013,

The public bike-sharing program we were look forward to might be delayed a little longer than we thought. According to CBS Los Angeles, Angelenos might not be able to rent a bicycle from a kiosk for some time yet.

This setback comes about a year after officials with the city announced a more than $15 million partnership with Bike Nation. This bike program would be the second-largest bike sharing program in the country.
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Tustin-based Bike Nation kicked off operations in Anaheim back in July of 2012. This operation included 10 kiosks and 100 bikes. But an advertising snag has delayed a similar launch in the city of L.A. after the company planned to advertise on the 400 kiosks where you would rent bikes.

Our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers understand that a City Council Transportation Committee report released back in April said that an advertising contract already in existence between the city and two other firms will likely prevent any deal from being made in the short term. As you know, we've got to fund these kinds of programs to keep them running. Unfortunately, a corporate sponsorship may be our last hope in getting this program off the ground. But that's not expected to be on the table until next year (at the earliest).

Many bike enthusiasts in the area are bummed, saying that this bike-sharing program would be able to help save our environment and get people back on track to healthy living.

Back in May, New York City launched its bike-sharing problem (called Citibike). In just the first 10 days of the program, residents and visitors took 100,000 rides. Clearly it's a success!

But this success comes with a price -- increased risks for bicycle accidents.

In 2011, our nation saw close to 700 bicyclist fatalities. While it's lower than the 830 fatalities we saw in 1995, it's a number that could be on the rise with more riders out there.

The current numbers represent just over 2 percent of the total number of people killed in traffic crashes in 2011. . However, we know from research into hospital records that only a fraction of bicycle crashes causing injury are ever recorded by the police, possibly as low as ten percent.

If you're hopping on two wheels any time soon, remember that cyclists may ride on sidewalks unless they exhibit "willful" or "wanton" behavior (in Los Angeles). In San Francisco it is forbidden, except for bike riders under age 13.

Our city has more than 1,000 miles of bike trails. Unfortunately, many of those "trails"
are along busy roadways in which bicycles and motor vehicles have to compete for travel space. It's important to remember that we all have a right to the road and we have a right to share it safely. Be safe and lookout for one another out there to help to reduce your risks of an accident.

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California's 'Move Over Law' to Save Lives

July 10, 2013,

After responding to a recent car accident on 10 Freeway in Temecula, a firefighter was hit and killed by a passing motorist. According to CBS Los Angeles, the firefighter worked for Cal Fire as a fire apparatus engineer and paramedic for eight years.

It happened when he was responding to an accident on 10 Freeway by Palm Desert. A 60-year-old driver who allegedly hit and killed the firefighter. The emergency worker was taken to Desert Regional Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

"This tragic accident affects the entire Cal Fire family and deeply saddens all of the firefighting community," said Chief John R. Hawkins of Riverside County Fire Department and Cal Fire.

Our Riverside car accident lawyers understand that, by law, all drivers in the state of California are required to move over or slow down when approaching emergency vehicles with lights flashing while stopped on the side of the road. The law is SB1610, and it includes safely steering clear of CalTrans workers, police officers, fire trucks, ambulances, and tow trucks. It's known as the "Move Over" law. If you're busted not following this law, not only do you run the risk of causing an accident, but you also run the risk of getting slapped with a $50 fine.

Move Over laws are commonly included as extensions to pre-existing laws directing a driver to slow and pull to the side of the road to allow emergency vehicles with warning devices activated to pass. These laws have been modified to include driver guidance when approaching and passing stationary emergency vehicles along the roadside.
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"We are not trying to trick anybody on this. We are just trying to keep ourselves safe," said California Highway Patrol Officer Art Athans. "Nothing in the vehicle code and enforcement of traffic laws is a gotcha make-money scheme. We are not trying to make money on this stuff."

According to FBI statistics, car accidents claim the lives of more police personnel than any other cause of death in the line of duty, including shootings. The FBI says last year, close to 50 officers died in crashes across the country. Thirteen of those law enforcement officers were struck and killed by passing vehicles while they worked outside their patrol cars.
Officials with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are so passionate about this law, that they created a California Move Over Law PSA to make sure that everyone understands how it works.

So the next time you're approaching and emergency response vehicle or any other kind of government or tow vehicle with their amber lights on and flashing, make sure that you move over a lane to help ensure everyone's safety. It you're unable to move over, make sure you slow it down. There's no need to rush by and increase the risks for accidents, injuries and fatalities by carelessly passing.

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California Traffic Accidents Causing More Accidents!

July 8, 2013,

Emergency responders rushed to the scene of a pedestrian-car-motorcycle accident recently in the eastbound lanes of Rancho California Road, near Moraga Road.

According to the Southwest Riverside News Network, a 24-year-old was crossing the street just after 9:00 p.m. when he was hit by a passing car.
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After the accident, the driver of that vehicle ran into the road, waving his hands and trying to stop other traffic. Within just a few minutes of that, a motorcycle became involved in the accident. The motorcycle ran into the open door of the man's vehicle. Both the pedestrian and the motorcyclist were taken to local hospitals.

"I heard (the driver of the sedan) yelling 'stop! stop! stop!' but (the motorcycle) hit the open door," said a witness.

Our Riverside car accident lawyers understand that accidents can be a scary place, not only because of the accident that occurred but because of other accidents that can result. This is why it's important that you keep an eye out for safety even after an accident -- particularly after an accident.

Do you know what to do after an accident?

-First, you want to check that everyone involved is OK. Call 911 immediately if anyone needs assistance. You will probably also have to call the police; it helps to have a police report filed in any case.

-Make sure you get the insurance and personal information of all parties involved. Try to obtain the name, address, telephone numbers (the more the better), vehicle registration, insurance company and policy number of the other drivers involved.

-Make sure you make a mental note of the scene of the accident. It's not a bad idea to jot down a sketch either. You'd be surprised by how much you can't remember after leaving the scene.

-Ensure the scene is safe. Switch off all engines, turn on hazard warning lights and alert oncoming traffic about the accident.

-Get everyone out of the way. Move off of the street if possible and get away from traffic.

-Remember that accidents are stressful, but it is essential that you do not admit you are to blame or offer to pay anything, as it could be difficult for us to manage your claim and may also affect your rights.

-State only the facts, and limit your discussion of the accident to the police and your insurance agent.

-Ask anyone who witnessed the accident to give their names, addresses and vehicle registrations. These may come in useful later in the event of insurance claims or judicial action.

-If your physical condition permits, it is a good idea to take photographs of the accident scene as soon as possible after the collision occurs. Many cell phones incorporate cameras that enable you to record the scene immediately.

Remember that being prepared for the worst can make the process easier, ensuring that you get back to the things that matter as quickly as you can.

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Fourth of July and Drunk Driving, A California Danger

July 4, 2013,

Californians love to celebrate the Fourth of July with food, fun family, friends and fireworks, but all too often this holiday turns into a drunk driving mess. The fact of the matter, this iconic American holiday is also one of the deadliest holidays of the year on our roadways.
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Each year nearly 10,000 people die on the road due to drunk driving. In order to stop this deadly epidemic, cops are cracking down on drunk driving. And they'll see you before you see them, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Our Costa Mesa car accident lawyers understand that cold brews and icy drinks to together with the Fourth of July weekend just as much as fireworks do. Unfortunately, that's also why drunk driving car accidents are so common during this time, too. This is why we are taking the time to remind you of the risks and the possible consequences of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated over this holiday weekend.

In 2011, there were 9,878 fatalities in crashes involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher - 31 percent of total traffic fatalities for the year. The sad truth is that these accidents are more likely to occur during holiday weekends -- especially on the Fourth of July.

In the state of California, there were close to 2,800 people who were killed in traffic accidents in 2011. Of these fatalities, close to 900 of them were killed in alcohol-related car accidents. These fatalities accounted for about a third of all of the accident fatalities reported in the state during the year. And it's these accidents that are completely preventable.

If you'll be drinking over the holiday weekend, make sure you've found yourself a designated driver. If you find yourself without one of those, it's imperative that you find yourself an alternative (and sober) ride home. You should call a taxi, a friend or a family member to come pick you up. Don't rely on anyone else who has been drinking.

If you can't get a hold of anyone to come get you and you can't find the number to a taxi, try turning to public transportation.

And if that doesn't work, don't worry, you've still got other options.

No sober ride home? Find a safe place to stay. Grab a hotel room or stay at a friend or a family member's home. Whatever you do, you don't want to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Not only could you wind up in jail, but you would wind up in a fatal accident.

And don't forget to help your friends. If you see someone who has been drinking and has keys in their hand, get the keys from them and help them to find a safe and sober ride home. Your intervention could wind up saving lives.

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California Water Dangers and the Fourth of July

July 3, 2013,

The California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) reminds boaters to use caution on the water this Fourth of July. DBW's boating accident data shows that more boating accidents occur during this holiday than any others during the summer boating season.
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"The need for boaters to become familiar with the rules of the road is critical in ensuring a safe boating experience," said Lucia Becerra, DBW's Acting Director.

Our Los Angeles accident lawyers understand that the Fourth is to boating as American is to apple pie. Unfortunately, boating safety is too often lacking. It's important that boaters learn the rules of the water before heading out this year. Inexperience is one of the leading cause of boating accidents across the nation. According to the Coast Guard, hundreds of people are involved in boating accidents each year in the U.S. Most of these accidents do not involve fatalities or even injury, but many do.

In 2012, there were close to 500 boating accidents in the state of California, injuring more than 20,000 and leading to more than 50 fatalities. Most of these accidents happened on the Northern Lake, but they're subject to all bodies of water.

When looking at the property damage that these accidents cost, you'll see that 2012 accidents rang up a bill of more than $5,790,000.

Like we said before, July is the most dangerous month of the entire year for boating accidents in California. In 2012, there were 100 boating accidents observed during this month. The next most dangerous month for these incidents was the month of June, with a mere 73 accidents recorded.

When heading out on the water during the Fourth of July weekend, make sure you do what you can to help to keep you and your crew safe. Accidents happen too fast on the water to reach for stowed life jackets. Most boating fatalities are drownings - and 84 percent of those who drown aren't wearing a life jacket. You should also review the following safety tips and share them with your fellow boaters:

-Make sure all young children are wearing the proper life jacket at all times. Make sure a life jacket is available for everyone on board.

-Avoid drinking while boating. Alcohol use is a major contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in more than 15 percent of boating fatalities.

-Know California's safe boating laws before heading out. You can find them here.

-Make sure that your boat is safe and ready to go. Officials with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary even offer free vessel safety checks and classes. Sign up for one today!

-Always take a look at weather reports before heading out. If you see clouds rolling it, make sure you roll out.

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Modesto Firework Dangers and the Fourth of July

July 2, 2013,

If it explodes or leaves the ground, it's illegal in California, according to the City of Modesto. Safe and Sane fireworks may only be purchased from a State Fire Marshal licensed retail stand from noon on June 28th to noon on July 5th. Only fireworks that come with the Safe and Safe seal are legal in the state.
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Our Modesto firework injury lawyers understand that fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain, and even death. In 2011, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff conducted a study of fireworks injuries from June 17 to July 17. Here's what we learned:

-There are roughly 200 people who visit an emergency room each and every year because of a firework-related injury in the month around the Fourth of July.

-Close to 70 percent of these injuries that happened in 2011 happened around this holiday.

-Homemade and illegal fireworks were involved in all Fourth fireworks-related fatalities, according to the CPSC.

Most of the injuries in these kinds of accidents happen to the fingers and the hands. These injuries account for about half that occur. Other common injuries oftentimes happen to the eyes, heads, faces, ears, trunks, arms and legs. More than half of these injuries are burns.

These kind of accidents happen to individuals between the ages of 25 and 40. They actually accounted for about 40 percent of all firework-related accident victims. And more of them are men, too -- close to 70 percent to be exact.

But what kind of fireworks are most likely to cause these kinds of injuries? Check the list below:

-More than 15 percent: sparklers.

-Roughly 14 percent: reloadable shells.

-About 13 percent: firecrackers.

-Roughly 7 percent: roman candles.

-More than 5 percent: bottle candles.

So before you engage in that light-up Fourth fun, we're asking you to review a few safety tips with your friends and family members:

-Make sure that all children stay away from fireworks.

-You should never try to pick up or re-light a firework that was not fully ignited in the first place.

-Make sure that there's always a bucket of water nearby. If you don't have a bucket, keep a hose close.

-Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.

-Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks and use them only in the manner in which they were intended.

-Make sure that all the fireworks that you're lighting off are legal to use in the state of California.

-Once you've lighted a firework, make sure you back up quickly. Never stand by a lighted firework.

-Make sure that the area you're lighting off fireworks is legal to do so.

Continue reading "Modesto Firework Dangers and the Fourth of July" »

Fourth of July Travel Expected to be Deadly in California

July 1, 2013,

Nearly 5 million Californians are expected to go out of town to celebrate Independence Day. Are you one of them? If so, you had better listen up! According to the California State Automobile Association, this is a 5 percent increase from 2012 numbers and the most Fourth of July travel in the state since back in 2003.
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"As summer begins, so does the appetite for travel," said Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson.

Our Costa Mesa car accident lawyers understand that the declining gas prices have a great deal of influence on the increase in travel this year. A month ago, our average gas prices sat at about $4.29. Now, the average cost of a gallon of gas is $3.89, according to the Livermore Patch. On the other hand, many officials believe that the price of a gallon may start to rise around the Fourth, so fill up your tanks now.

But there's more to worry about than your gas tank. It's also one of the most dangerous holidays to be out there on our roadways. With the increase in traffic, we'll also be seeing a significant increase in the number of car accidents and fatalities, too. The combination of travel, alcohol and fireworks has made July the nation's deadliest month and the 4th of July our most dangerous holiday.

To help to make this a safe holiday for you and your fellow travelers, consider the following safety tips:

-Keep off the cell phone while you're in the driver's seat. If you've got to use the phone, pull over to a safe place and stop before doing so.

-Make sure that you're always wearing a seat belt - every trip, every time. Everyone in your vehicle should be buckled in during every car ride.

-Never leave a pet or a child in a vehicle unsupervised.

-If your Fourth of July plans involve alcohol, make sure that they involve a designated driver, too. Never get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. The NHTSA has already launched its Fourth of July Impaired Driving Prevention Campaign.

-Make sure that your teens understand the risks that accompany this holiday.

-If you're heading out on a road trip, make sure you leave for your destination with plenty of time to spare. Extra time will help you to avoid rushing and to avoid aggressive habits behind the wheel.

-Avoid tailgating of flashing your lights at other drivers. Remember we're all in this together. Let's work as a team.

-Avoid driving during the evening hours if you can. Your risks for an accident are typically higher during this time anyway.

Each year, officials with the National Safety Council predict that hundreds will die in traffic accidents during this holiday period, and this year is no different. Stay calm out there and keep safe driving as a number on priority!

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Teens Face Serious Risks Behind the Wheel this Summer

June 29, 2013,

Speeding may have been the cause of a recent single-car accident that took the life of a 19-year-old from Orange County. According to the Los Angeles Times, the accident happened just before 1:00 a.m. when the teen driver slammed his vehicle into a tree along Susan Street.
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Darren Wood with the Costa Mesa Police Department believes that the driver was "probably going too fast."

Officers are still investigating and it has not been determined if alcohol played a factor in this collision. There was one passenger in the vehicle who sustained some injuries and is still recovering in the hospital.

Our Costa Mesa car accident lawyers understand the risks that teenage drivers face out there behind the wheel. Their inexperience alone already puts them at some serious risks for an accident. That's why it's important for parents to step in and help. This is especially important during this time of the year when many teens are enjoying summer break from school and are spending more time behind the wheel.

The relationship between age and driving behavior has interested highway safety researchers and administrators for many years. Traffic accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for teenagers across the country. Drivers aged 16 to 19 years of age have the highest average annual crash and traffic violation rates of any other age group.

In the state of California, there were more than 215 teenage drivers killed in traffic accidents in 2011. There were more than 160 passengers of young drivers killed in these accidents, too. It's clear that these drivers' inexperience behind the wheel is affecting everyone out there.

But they're not just hurting the occupants of their own vehicles. They're also killing other motorists. As a matter of fact, teen drivers killed close to 150 people in other vehicles and close to 100 people who were outside of a vehicle (pedestrian, bicyclist, etc.)

So parents, what can you do to help?

You can start off by enacting a parent-teen driving contract. A
Parent-Teen driving agreement is a formal agreement between parents and their teen driver that outlines specific guidelines that parents and teens agree to follow. The agreement also establishes consequences and provides discussion points for not following the agreement. The agreement includes elements of California's Graduated Driver Licensing Law to ensure that teens follow state law.

In this agreement, you should include rules that lay out your teen's driving curfew, their passenger restrictions, communication tools and all of the consequences for breaking any of these rules. Having an understanding is the first step toward safe driving habits.

You should also make sure that you're riding along with them frequently. This is the best way to see what improvements can be made to their driving habits. Learning early is the best way to develop responsible and safe driving habits for a lifetime.

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Preventing Baseball Injuries Among Young Athletes

June 27, 2013,

It's as American as apple pie and mom. It's the quintessential all-time American game, loved by everyone from 8-year-old Little League players to the parents playing on company teams. Baseball: nostalgic, beautifully orchestrated, and hazardous to your health.
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Unfortunately, injuries in young athletes are on the rise. Elbow and shoulder injuries in children are on the verge of becoming an epidemic. Thousands of children are seen each year complaining of shoulder and/or elbow pain. Damage or tear to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is the most common injury suffered and is often caused by pitchers throwing too much. When it is damaged, it can be difficult to repair and rehabilitate.

Our Los Angeles child injury lawyers understand that our little athletes need to know the importance of staying safe out there on the field. They need to understand the importance of avoiding hits to the head as their chances for a concussion are quite high in the game of baseball. To help, you should make sure that your young one has all of the proper safety gear at all times, even in the dugout.

If you think your child has sustained a concussion or serious brain injury:

-Get your child off the field immediately.

-Make sure that you take your athlete to a professional. They're better able to judge the injury.

-Don't allow the athlete to return to the field the day after the injury. They should only get back in the game when a healthcare provider says it's okay.

Another important factor in preventing these injuries is to make sure that they've got the right helmet. You can do this by making sure that your child's head is measured by a soft tape measure. Measure just above the ears and the eyebrows. Make sure the tape measure is level from front to back.

It's also important to remember that helmet sizes vary from brand-to-brand. Make sure that your child is with you whenever you pick them up a new helmet. You want them to try it on each time to make sure it's an adequate fit.

Never allow your child to wear anything under their helmet unless it has been recommended by a physician. This even includes a baseball hat. When this is done, it prevents the helmet from fitting the right way.

You've got to make sure that you're maintaining the helmet too. Never allow them to use a helmet that has been cracked. You want to make sure it's got adequate padding inside as well. Spray the inside of the helmet regularly with warm water or some kind of mild detergent. Never soak the helmet. It's also not a good idea to let friends and teammates share a helmet.

if you follow these few simple safety rules and tips, you can help to make sure that your young athlete makes it to another seasons safety. Good luck and play ball!

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Reducing Your Risks of a California Roadside Mishap

June 25, 2013,

It's that time of year again -- when a lot of us plan to head out on summer road trips.

Unfortunately, those summer trips come with some serious dangers. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is here to help to better ensure all travelers' safety.
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Our Costa Mesa car accident lawyers understand that, as the busy summer driving season begins, motorists need to take simple, yet necessary, precautions to help to make sure that your vehicle is excellent driving condition before you hit the road. In addition, we're asking you to avoid dangerous or aggressive driving behaviors that could potentially place travelers in danger.

First you want to make sure that you're keeping up with the regular maintenance of your vehicle. Make sure you're getting enough oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotations and battery checks. All of these measures go a long way in helping to prevent a breakdown.

Tires: Avoid a flat tire by making sure that each one is properly inflated before heading out. It's a good idea to even keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle with you at all times. You should be checking the pressure at least once a month. And not only is this going to help you to avoid a flat tire, but it's going to help to save you fuel and energy.

Hoses and Belts: You want to make sure that you're taking a regular look under your hood. Check to see if the belts and hoses are in good shape. You don't want any signs of cuts, cracks or blisters. In the hot summer heat, these conditions are more common and can be awfully dangerous.

Windshield Wipers: You want to make sure that you check the condition of your wipers before leaving on a road trip. The last place that you want to realize that these aren't working is on the road in the middle of a rain storm.

Cooling System: When the engine is cold, you want to get under the hood and peek at the coolant levels. Make sure they're topped off. If you haven't had it done in a while, have the system flushed and refilled. This is going to help you vehicle from overheating during the long haul.

Lights: Make sure that all of the lights on your vehicle, including the headlights, taillights, emergency flashers, and blinkers, are working properly. If you're towing a boat or a trailer, make sure that the lights on that extra luggage are working properly as well.

-Air Conditioning: This is most important for you. Make sure that the A/C is blowing out cold air. If anyone in your vehicle suffers from poor health or any medical conditions, this could have a serious and negative affect on them.

-Emergency Kit: In case none of that works and you still experience a roadside mishap, you want to be prepared. Make sure you've got an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times, including flares, a white flag, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, a cell phone, some jumper cables, extra water, the proper medicines and some nonperishable food.

Continue reading "Reducing Your Risks of a California Roadside Mishap" »

Cell Phones Increasing Your Risks for Red Light Accidents

June 23, 2013,

Close to 60 percent of American adults have a smartphone. That's up from about 35 percent just 2 years ago. According to NBC News, now is the first time across the world that smartphones are being shipped more than feature phones.
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Our Costa Mesa car accident lawyers understand that more smartphones means more risks for car accidents. Although all drivers in the state of California are banned from using a hand-held phone behind the wheel, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), drivers just aren't listening.

The truth of the matter is that 90 percent of Americans have some kind of mobile phone. Two years ago, more than 15 percent of Americans didn't even have a phone. We bet even some of you are reading this very blog on your smartphone (hopefully not while driving).

Smartphone ownership is particularly high among younger adults, especially those in their 20s and 30s, something that has been the case since it started measuring smartphone adoption about two years ago.

And it's these smart phones that are causing accidents and irresponsible driving. According to the AutoBlog, more than 10 percent of all red light violations are the result of a distracted driving. It's all in the write up from a recent study from FocusDriven and the National Coalition for Safer Roads.

Researchers with the organizations looked at nearly 120 intersections over three months to determine just who was running the lights. According to the numbers, about 12 percent of these drivers were distracted. These numbers lead researchers to believe that close to 7.5 million red light infractions are caused by these kinds of drivers each and every year.

According to the IIHS, red light running is the number one cause of traffic collisions in urban areas. When you factor in the fact that the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that cell phone use is a factor in over 20 percent of all traffic accidents, it's easy to see why we're concerned.

It's important to remember that there's more to distracted driving than cell phone use. Distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road or your hands off the steering wheel - especially texting and cell phone use, whether hands-free or handheld.

It's easy to understand why drivers are lured to smartphones. They're pretty much your life in the palm of your hand. You've got communication with your friends and family members, social media connections, email, phone, text messages, scheduled appointments and more. But the risks just shouldn't be worth it. Is any of that worth risking your life for?

If you avoid an accident, you still run the risk of getting caught. If you're busted talking on a cell phone, you're facing a $159 and that's a major distraction to your wallet, too!

Continue reading "Cell Phones Increasing Your Risks for Red Light Accidents" »

California Car Accident Fatalities on the Rise

June 21, 2013,

Drivers have been warned. Your risks for an accident are on the rise. According to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of car accident fatalities increased last year for the first time since before the start of the economic downturn.
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Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers understand that Region 9 (including California and Arizona) saw a close to 10 percent increase in the number of traffic accident fatalities in 2012. Throughout the nation, there were more than 34,000 people killed in traffic accidents last year. The national increase for roadway fatalities is just over 5 percent, much lower than our California increase. If these projections are realized, 2012 will be first year with a year-to-year increase in fatalities since 2005.

But why the increase all of a sudden?

There are a number of reasons that could have led to this increase. Some would say that it's the increased habits of distracted driving, some would say that it's the irresponsible habits of drivers and others would say that it's because of the economy. While all are true, one of the top influences is the economy. As our economy continues to improve, more people are spending time on our roadways. They feel more comfortable spending at the pump (with lower gas prices, too) and they're spending more time commuting to and from work.

Unfortunately, the full 2012 statistics for the state of California have not been released yet, but we're here with the latest California Traffic Safety Score Card from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

According to this report, this is yet another year in which we're seeing traffic accident fatalities rise. From 2010 to 2011, we saw a near 3 percent increase, too.

Alcohol-related traffic accidents accounted for close to 775 of the fatalities we saw throughout the year. Meanwhile, DUI arrests dropped in 2011 to 180,212 as compared to 195,879 in 2010. As a matter of fact, the 2011 DUI arrest figure represents the lowest DUI arrests since 2002. And it's these incidents that are completely preventable.

The distracted driving numbers aren't much better. According to the report, more than 10 percent of drivers are using their cell phone behind the wheel at any given daylight time. That's a number that has climbed more than 7 percent from the previous. It's all in the numbers -- hand-held cell phone convictions increased more than 200 percent in 2011. During this time, there were more than 361,000 drivers convicted.

Fixing these numbers and making our roadways safer is in our hands. Make sure that your full attention is on the road at all times. We know the proper behavior to display behind the wheel -- it's time we make it happen.

Continue reading "California Car Accident Fatalities on the Rise" »

Bieber Injures Photographer in Los Angeles Car Accident

June 19, 2013,

Teen pop star Justin Bieber might not be the best driver. According to Reuters, the teen hit a photographer with his Ferrari as he was leaving a Los Angeles comedy club. Officers have not yet determined this accident to be a hit-and-run.
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Thanks to the paparazzi, there is video of the accident. According to TMZ, Beiber asked for the photographers to get out of the way and he was going to leave, but apparently he ended up punning one of them between his Ferrari and a parked car as he attempted to pull out. Reports indicate that he drove away following the incident.

"The investigation is ongoing," said LAPD spokesman Bruce Borihanh.

Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers understand that Beiber is already being investigated for an accident that happened back in May. That's when his neighbors filed complaints that he was driving way too fast in the community.

Unfortunately, celebrity car accidents aren't all that rare. They seem to make headlines all the time. Just take a look at Yahoo, they rattle off a list of 5 celebrities who have been killed in car accidents.

-Jayne Mansfield

-James Dean

-Princess Diana

-Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly)

- Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes

Is still stands true that someone is killed in a car accident every 16 minutes (or about 89 people each and every day), whether it's a celebrity or now. In 2011, there were close to 5,500,000 traffic accidents reported to police officers. In these accidents, there were close to 32,500 people killed and another 2,217,000 people injured. And that's not all! Another 3,788,000 accidents resulted in property damage only.

Some of these people were drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, scooter riders, photographers, moms and dads.

In 2011, 4,347 young drivers ages 15 to 20 years old were involved in fatal
crashes -- a close to 50 percent decrease from the 8,325 involved in 2002. Driver fatalities for this age group decreased by 48 percent between 2002 and 2011. But the decrease doesn't mean we're in the clear. They're still some of the most accident-prone drivers out on our roadways -- regardless of celebrity. That's why it's important to make sure that they're provided with an ample amount of supervision during their learner's permit stages. This is going to help ensure that they're developing the habits that are going to help ensure a lifetime of safe driving.

Until we fix up our own driving habits, there's going to be no change out there on our roadways. Whether we're fighting off the paparazzi or we're just heading home from the grocery store, it's important that we're aware of our surroundings at all times. In traffic there are no second chances. We've got to get it right the first time and stay one step ahead of everyone around us to help ensure a safe ride home (or back to wherever you're going).

Continue reading "Bieber Injures Photographer in Los Angeles Car Accident" »

Medications and Your Risk for a Drowsy Driving Car Accident

June 19, 2013,

Your sleep meds might not be as strong as they once were. That's if officials with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have their way.

According to CBS News, medications like Ambien might leave drivers feeling too groggy in the morning and might actually be increasing their risks for a potentially fatal accident.
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The FDA wants you to know that a lot of medications can actually have this effect on you. Allergy medicine is one of them. So maybe it's time you take a look through your medicine cabinet to identify your risks.

Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys understand that we're in the heart of allergy season and residents and visitors throughout the state are loading up on those antihistamines. But it's those same individuals who should be cautious when they get behind the wheel.

"Any of these reactions can negatively interfere with driving or operating heavy machinery," Dr. Jane File with the FDA.

When you encounter something you might be allergic to, your body takes control and starts to product histamines. When this chemical is released into the body, you get stuffy because the tissue in your nose swells. When you take the medicines that can block these histamines, you can feel slow, unfocused and even drowsy -- which is why you shouldn't be driving.

Your best bet is to take a look at the label before consuming. If you have stuff to do during the day, like operate machinery, drive or any other focus-driven activity, then you should be taking your medicines at night.

You also want to make sure that you're not mixing antihistamines and alcohol. This can increase your level of drowsiness and can also have some serious side effects.

Make sure you're reading the label of your medications -- front and back. If your medicine isn't working for you -- the answer isn't to just up the dosage. In this scenario, you want to talk with a healthcare professional to find an alternative treatment.

According to drowsydriving.org, roughly 60 percent of adult drivers - or close to 170 million people - say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than a third have actually fallen asleep at the wheel! In fact, of those who have nodded off, close to 15 percent say they have done so at least once a month. Four percent - approximately 11 million drivers - admit they have had an accident or near accident because they dozed off or were too tired to drive.

Never get behind the wheel if you're feeling sleepy. Drowsy driving is more powerful than you think and could wind up taking your life.

Continue reading "Medications and Your Risk for a Drowsy Driving Car Accident" »

Automakers Making (or NOT Making) Vehicle Recalls!

June 15, 2013,

Officials with Ford have recalled close to 500,000 vehicles because the fuel tanks have posed some serious fire risks amid hundreds of reported leaks. Included in this recall are 2013 Ford Explorer, Taurus, Flex, Fusion, Interceptor Utility and Interceptor Sedan, as well as the Lincoln MKS, MKT and MKZ, according to CNN Money.
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The company says that it isn't aware of any of these incidents sparking a fire as of yet, but has received close to 1,000 complaints about fuel leaking from the vehicles.

Our Costa Mesa car accident lawyers understand that the last recall involving Ford and a fuel leak urged drivers to stay out of the car until the problem was corrected. With this recent recall, not such instructions were issued.

On the other hand, we've got Chrysler Group, who isn't as willing to make the necessary recalls. As a matter of fact, CNN reports that the company is refusing to recall more than 2.5 million vehicles after safety officials have deemed unfit for the road.

The vehicles in question are the 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002 to 2007 Jeep Libertys.

The problem here, according to safety officials, is that the tank design is dangerous and serves up some serious risks for injuries (and even death) in the event of a collision. Chrysler officials say the design and placement of the gas tank is just the same as many other SUVs on the market and that the only time it serves a threat is when involved in a high-speed accident (which is the case for all vehicles, regardless of where the gas tank is located).

But safety officials aren't buying it. They're saying that there's a problem here and action needs to be taken now to prevent injuries and fatalities.

"The only way to prevent more fire deaths is for NHTSA to order a mandatory safety recall and require Chrysler to design an effective remedy," said Clarence Ditlow, the Center for Auto Safety's executive director, in a letter to the NHTSA.

The big question being thrown back and forth here is whether or not Chrysler is concerned about motorist safety of if the company is looking to avoid the costs of making a massive recall.

Either way, it's your responsibility to make sure that you're in the know with the latest vehicle and safety recalls. You can do this easily by heading over to SaferCar.gov. This website is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the nation's only agency authorized to conduct defect investigations and administer safety recalls on everything from vehicles and equipment to tires and child safety seats. You want to make sure that you're checking the list regularly to help to head off any problems before they catch you behind the wheel.

Continue reading "Automakers Making (or NOT Making) Vehicle Recalls!" »