Will the Legal Definition of "Drunk" be Altered Soon?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Recently the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) has made a recommendation that could have a major impact on drunk-driving laws throughout the United States. Currently, all states consider a person drunk if their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is measured at .08 or above. But now the NTSB suggests lowering that to .05.  The goal is to lower the number of serious motor vehicle accidents that involve drunk drivers.

NBC News reports that every year  almost 10,000 people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents and 170,000 are seriously injured. Though that is a big improvement over the last 30 years when there were 20, 000 fatalities each year from DUI -related accidents, MADD, many law enforcement officials and other supporters of tough DUI laws want more done to discourage drunk driving. Now that this federal agency has spoken, action may be forthcoming because, despite harsh sentences for DUI and increased public awareness of the dangers involved, "roughly 4 million people admit to driving while under the influence of alcohol" each year. These facts and the NTSB's significant influence may lead to the legal definition of "drunk" being altered soon.

Of course, despite the dangers that driving under the influence poses, not everyone supports the lowering of the legal threshold.  Restaurant owners and trade organizations argue that lowering the BAC level to .05 will not stop repeat offenders or the people most prone to driving while drunk. Instead, they argue, responsible adults may be discouraged from having a drink or two with dinner or at social gatherings for fear of harsh reprisal. But for critics of the NTSB proposal, success does not look promising: nearly every country in the world that has drunk-driving laws makes a BAC of .05 the legal threshold for being drunk. Iraq and the United States are the only two exceptions.

Perhaps trade organizations and some moderate drinkers will aggressively protest the changing of the law. But even for the most ardent civil libertarians, arguing that the threshold should not be lowered is fairly difficult. And, for people who have heard the stories or have actually lost loved ones or endured catastrophic injuries as the result of a drunk-driver's negligent and irresponsible behavior, even .05 may be too generous.

Children Recovering from Injuries in San Bernardino Dog Bite Attack

Friday, May 17, 2013

Two children, who suffered serious injuries after they were attacked by a pit bull in a dog bite attack in San Bernardino, are still recovering from their injuries.

The two children who were attacked were one and two years old. According to police officers, the children and their parents were visiting a friend in San Bernardino. The two children were playing in the backyard of the house, when they were attacked by the friend’s dog.

It was a savage attack, and the pit bull bit one of the children right in the face. The parents rushed to help their child, and when they were trying to save the one-year-old child from the dog’s bites, the pit bull turned right around and attacked the 2-year-old child.

Both of the children suffered injuries, which were fortunately, not life-threatening. The children were transported to the local hospital, and received stitches on their face. According to the San Bernardino City Animal Control, the pit bull has been quarantined with no plans to euthanize it.

This is the 2nd pit bull attack in San Bernardino County that Los Angeles dog bite lawyers have come across recently. Just a few days ago, a 74-year-old woman had been injured in a dog bite attack involving a pit bull. In that incident, officers responding to the scene tried to pull the dog off the woman, but the dog turned on them as well. The officers then shot the dog.

The incidence of dog bites reported from around California is likely to increase over the next few weeks, as summer begins. Summer is typically dog bite season around California because dogs as well as adults and children, who happen to be the biggest victims of dog bites in California, head outdoors.

Advances in Microsurgery Help Heal Lower Extremity Injuries May

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Some of the most common injuries that motorcyclists suffer when they are involved in an accident are lower extremity injuries, or leg and foot injuries. These injuries often occur when the motorcyclist is dragged several yards on the ground upon impact, resulting in severe injuries to the legs. In some cases, these injuries can be so severe, that they require the limb to be amputated.

However, over the past few years, there have been a number of advancements in microsurgery that help surgeons repair the badly damaged muscle and tissue of the legs and feet, without necessarily amputating the limb. That has meant a remarkably improved prognosis and better quality of life for an injured motorcyclist, who would otherwise face the prospect of an amputated limb.

You don't even have to be involved in a very serious motorcycle accident to suffer such injuries. Even a moderately severe motorcycle accident can result in such lower extremity injuries that can have a devastating impact. In many cases of lower extremity injuries that Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers come across, there's severe damage to the muscle, tendons and tissues of the legs. Earlier, a leg with this kind of damage would be considered too injured to save.

However, surgeons are now using complex micro-surgical procedures that can help save the leg. Muscle, fat and skin from other healthier parts of the body can be transplanted to the injured leg in order to save the limb. The success rate from such micro surgeries is very high.

However, it is best to reduce the risk of lower extremity injuries in a motorcycle accident, by wearing full length pants and boots while riding.

New iBook Aims to Raise Awareness about Motorcycle Safety

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has released a new iBook that is available for exclusively for the iPad. The iBook is titled Intersection: Sharing the Road and is meant to educate motorists about threats to motorcyclists, as the year's busiest motorcycling season kicks off.

The iBook has been designed in an interactive format, and contains illustrations, diagrams, images, photographs and videos that users can use to have a look at dangerous accident situations from a motorist’s perspective. The iBook has been designed through a motorist’s eyes, to educate drivers about the very specific threats that face motorcycles, and what motorists can do to reduce these risks.

Any Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer knows that most motorcycle accidents are caused by negligence of motorists. In fact, most accidents are caused the failure of the motorist to yield to motorcycles, and failure to look out for motorcycles. Both of these factors account for a majority of the motorcycle accidents that occur in Los Angeles every year.

Apart from negligent motorists, motorcyclists also have to deal with the fact that motorcycles have a narrow frame, and can be very easily missed by motorists and truckers. Very often, motorcyclists fall in the blind spot of motorists with very dangerous consequences because a driver may not notice the motorcycle until it’s too late to avoid an accident.

However, there are no excuses for motorists to remain ignorant about the presence of motorcyclists on the road. Motorcycling as a recreational activity has increased in popularity over the past decade, and there are now more motorcycles on the road.

As a motorist, always look out for the presence of motorcycles, especially in your blind spots like right behind your vehicle. Always yield to a motorcyclist’s right-of-way.

California Bill Aimed at Keeping Pedestrians Safer

Saturday, April 06, 2013

A new bill that was recently introduced in the California legislature is aimed at improving roadway divider safety on California Streets by removing panhandlers who typically walk these areas, asking motorists for money.

The bill, SB 674 would make a change to the California Vehicle Code, and specifically affects panhandlers who work at several local intersections. These people walk these areas asking people for money. It's fairly common to find these people standing at these intersections with a handwritten sign, asking for money, and hoping to make a few dollars.

However, according to law enforcement officials, this is a dangerous practice because very often, these panhandlers cross the street illegally or when there is a stop light. Los Angeles car accident lawyers know that all of these are dangerous practices, and increase the risk of an accident for panhandlers.

According to the promoters of the bill, the point is not to remove panhandlers from the dividers, but to keep them safe. In many cases, these panhandlers try to attract motorists by doing tricks, and this distracts motorists and exposes both motorists as well as pedestrian panhandlers to the risk of accidents. A motorist, who is busy watching a panhandler do his stuff, is likely to miss an important accident cue, seriously risking injuries to himself as well as to other people on the road.

However, the bill is likely to see quite a bit of a fight from civil rights activists as well as homeless groups. The panhandlers insist that they are not distracting or delaying traffic. If the bill is approved, they would have to move their activities to the sidewalk. Panhandlers as a group are likely to strongly oppose the bill, because according to them, it is impossible to make any money on the sidewalk.

Legislation to Ban Google Glass Already in the Works

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Google is all set to take the next step in wearable computing, with the much-anticipated launch of the Google Glass. However, lawmakers are already very concerned about the potential effects on drivers, who are wearing these interactive glasses while they are at the wheel. A new bill that has been proposed in West Virginia would ban driving while wearing a Google Glass device, although the device has not yet been released in the market.

It's highly unlikely that the lawmakers who have introduced this proposal have even tried out the Google Glass, but they have been concerned enough about its possible effects on driving, to move to enact a preemptive ban on the use of the device behind the wheel. The bill would ban wearable computing test devices like Google Glass that come with a head-mounted display.

It's not so surprising to Los Angeles car accident lawyers that lawmakers would be concerned about the negative effects of wearing such devices, because there's already a wide body of research that confirms the negative effects of cell phone use and texting while driving on a person's driving skills. Arguably, the Google Glass is all set to take those distractions to the next level.

Google is all set to begin testing on its Google Glass Explorer program, and will begin testing in at least 1,000 subjects, who will receive a pair of the reality glasses. A person who wears the glass can perform a number of activities including taking pictures and recording video of everything that he sees, instantly.

Experts already predict that this could be the next wave of technology that sweeps through the American population, and it is highly likely that over the next few months, as these glasses become available and more affordable, we will see large populations of users wearing these glasses behind the wheel too. In this context, the West Virginia bill makes sense.

Researchers Recommend Mandatory Auto Cell Phone Blocking Technologies

Thursday, March 21, 2013

California is one of several states in the country that have attempted to reduce the number of distracting drivers by banning both texting while driving as well as the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. However, it is clear to Los Angeles car accident lawyers, that these measures have had very limited success in reducing these practices. Two researchers from West Virginia University have a radical suggestion to eliminate distracted driving. They suggest that all automobiles come with cell phone blocking technology that absolutely prohibits motorists from texting, e-mailing, having cell phone conversations, and using apps on their smartphones while the car is in motion.

It isn't difficult to imagine that automakers will be able to come up with technology like this. Therefore, the researchers want automakers to invest in coming up with technology that will prohibit motorists from using their cell phone for any purpose as long as the car is in motion.

The researchers have the facts on their side. After all, there are statistics to confirm that distracted driving is a growing menace on our streets. According to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, cell phone use behind the wheel causes as many as 333,000 injuries and 2,600 fatalities on U.S roads every year.

Other bodies of research also confirm the devastating effects of using cell phones while driving. According to research from the University of North Texas Health Science Center, texting caused more than 16,000 accident fatalities between 2001 and 2007. It is highly likely that those are conservative estimates. In states, where there is no ban on texting while driving or cell phone use while driving, it's hard to estimate exactly how many people are killed by such devastating practices.

Brake Problems Suspected in California Bus Accident

Friday, February 15, 2013

Investigators at the scene of a devastating tour bus accident in San Bernardino County over the weekend are focusing on brake problems as a cause of the accident.

The tour bus rolled over on its way down from Big Bear, where the passengers had spent a weekend. Many of the passengers on the bus were from Mexico. At some point, the driver lost control of the bus, and the bus flipped over, ejecting many of the passengers.

At least 8 passengers are confirmed dead in the accident, and dozens have been injured, many of them critically. Los Angeles bus accident lawyers expect the fatality count in this accident to rise.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have already begun their probe. Other investigations have begun. According to a preliminary investigation, the driver has reported that there were problems with the brakes during the journey. That statement has also been confirmed by witnesses who say that they saw the bus speeding out of control.
The Los Angeles Times has also published an analysis of the records of the bus company which owns this particular bus. That analysis shows that the bus company Scapadas Magicas that operated the bus has been cited several times for safety violations.

There is also speculation that speeding was a factor in the accident. There's no doubt that this was a high-impact accident, judging from the wreckage of the bus. According to reports, the wreckage has been strewn for yards around, and the bus has been completely damaged. The front part of the bus is completely ruined, and part of the roof has been crushed.

Revolutionary New Motorcycle Helmet Design to Prevent Brain Injury in Low-Speed Crashes

Friday, January 11, 2013

The conventional motorcycle helmet that is being used currently is designed to absorb impact in major, high-speed accidents. However, when a motorcyclist is involved in a low-velocity accident, the helmet may not do much to help prevent a concussion or any other mild brain injury. Scientists at a California-based company have developed an intriguing helmet design that Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers believe can prevent injuries in these low-speed accidents.

The company, 6D Helmet has created a design that distributes impact much more evenly across the helmet. According to the company, the goal was to design a helmet that performed much better than traditional helmets at protecting the head. The design is based on creative engineering concepts, and the result is a motorcycle helmet that the company claims can significantly reduce the amount of energy that is transferred to the head during impact. This in turn reduces the risk of a brain injury or concussion, giving a motorcyclist wearing this helmet much greater protection than one wearing a traditional helmet.

The helmet also integrates several other safety features that are designed to reduce the risk of other types of injuries. For instance, it has additional padding in the chin area to reduce the risk of injury to the sternum, as well as safety features that allow the sides of the helmet to collapse, preventing collarbone fractures.

The design looks very promising, and could create a buzz in the market, although the final pricing has not been set yet.

Statistics by the National Traffic Safety Administration show that wearing helmets significantly reduces a motorcyclist’s risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury. Wearing a helmet not only increases your chance of surviving an accident, but can also reduce your medical expenses as well as hospitalization costs.

Drunk Driving Accidents Expected to Spike in December

Thursday, December 06, 2012

According to Mothers against Drunk Driving, every 52 minutes, a person is killed in an accident caused by an intoxicated driver. Los Angeles car accident lawyers expect those numbers to spike over the next couple of weeks, as we head into the holiday season, and see an increasing number of drunk drivers on our roads.

It's with good reason that the White House has dedicated December as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. President Barack Obama has dedicated the month of December to the prevention of impaired driving. As we get closer to Christmas and New Year's, Los Angeles roads are likely to see a major influx of intoxicated or drugged motorists, who are in no condition to drive.

There is enough reason to be worried. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1/3 of all crash fatalities involve a motorist driving under the influence of alcohol. Approximately, 30 people on an average die in an alcohol-related car accident every day in the country. There's one fatality in an alcohol-related car accident occurring every 48 minutes. Annually, drunk driving accidents cost the US economy $51 billion dollars.

Some categories of drivers are at a special risk for intoxicated driving. For example, young people at all levels of alcohol intoxication are at a much higher risk of being involved in a crash compared to senior drivers. Many of these young drivers are aged between 21 and 24. The 2nd largest group of at-risk drivers for drunk driving is between the age of 25 and 34.

As we enter the holiday season, remember that friends don't let friends drive drunk. Designate a driver when you're out in a group, and avoid drinking and driving at all costs. Remember that impaired driving includes not only driving under the influence of alcohol, but also driving after taking drugs like marijuana.

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