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Motorcycle Crackdown Coming To Santa Monica

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 6, 2014

If you live in Santa Monica, California or expect to be passing through, then you should know about an upcoming law enforcement crackdown in the area.  The effort, which will be carried out by the police department of the city, will focus on any safety violations that could compromise the safety of motorcyclists.  That means that officers will be keeping an eye out for automobile drivers and motorcycle riders alike who are committing citable offenses.  Set to take place the day after Valentine’s Day, the crackdown will see an increased officer presence at those locales that typically see an influx of motorcycle traffic.

Follow this link for more about the operation.

Officials Look To The Future Of Vehicle Communications Technology

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 4, 2014

Many of the crashes that occur throughout the country happen at intersections.  Cars are either unable to stop in time at a red light or they willfully drive through.  Drivers trying to turn left may underestimate how fast an incoming vehicle is traveling, or they may simply overlook the presence of something like a motorcycle.  And someone turning right may think they have the opportunity to turn because an incoming vehicle is in the far lane when that car is actually scooting over to the right.

The government and private enterprises have been thinking up ways to reduce this threat, and today those efforts appear to have borne fruit.  Yesterday, the Transportation Secretary of the United States announced the Transportation Department’s intention to push for Vehicle to Vehicle technology in the coming years.  If widely implemented, these systems could help prevent the types of crashes described above.

They help avert disaster by way of radio communications between vehicles.  Imagine that the road you’re driving on is replaced with a blank grid, with all nearby buildings and other obstacles wiped off the board.  Then imagine every car on that grid is represented by a dot emitting a frequency that can travel up to 300 yards.  Now, if one dot is approaching an intersection and looks to be traveling fast enough that their course would bring them directly into another dot, those two dots would detect each other and be able to hit the brakes accordingly to eliminate the risk of an accident.

This is the latest salvo in the Department of Transportation’s bid to move toward a more preventative approach to automobile safety.  In years past, much of their efforts focused on making vehicles more able to withstand collisions once they occur.  With this newest bid for safety, the agency believes that four out of every five fatalities that take place every year could be averted.

Research geared toward this technology has been ongoing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where officials have been able to keep track of 3,000 automobiles outfitted with the technology.  If plans continue apace, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that they could enact standards related to the technology by the time the President leaves office in a few years.

There is still work to be done to be sure.  Automobile manufacturers will need to start adopting these systems within the vehicles, and the time this would take is one of the reasons the Transportation Department is making the announcement so early, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s president.  And before the technology can roll out universally, the Transportation Department is asking the FCC to safeguard that part of the radio spectrum that these V2V systems would use.

Understanding How Pothole Dangers Can Be Avoided

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 4, 2014

There are many hazards that crop up on the roadways, but some risks are so common that we tend to overlook them.  One such risk might be that posed by potholes.  We largely think of them as a mere nuisance, but they can do some fairly serious damage to automobiles and even leave one more susceptible to a collision.  So that you might avoid such circumstances, think about some of the tips provided by the Insurance Bureau of Canada in a press release.

When you’re approaching a pothole, you don’t want to slam on the brakes or swerve far out of the way, as this can actually put your vehicle more at risk, not just from the pothole but from any cars you’re sharing the road with.  Instead, the release advises simply lowering your speed, drifting toward and over the pothole.

So that you can maintain control of your vehicle on particularly large potholes, make sure not to be lax with the way you’re gripping the steering column.  A pothole can shoot you off-course, and even a slight alteration can send you toward nearby obstacles or vehicles.

In the winter, you also have to take precautions when your ability to see potholes is obscured by snow cover or runoff.  What looks like a slight accumulation of water could actually hide a substantial pockmark in the road, so be wary during less than ideal weather conditions.

San Francisco Benefitted From Increased CHP Presence During Super Bowl

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 4, 2014

A new report takes a look at the California Highway Patrol’s efforts to protect citizens in the San Francisco area at the close of the Super Bowl this past Sunday.  Extra officers were made available to look out for intoxicated drivers up until early Monday morning, the hope being that they could crack down on persons who could otherwise pose a distinct threat to safety on the roads.  A similar effort last year led to 390 people being arrested for drunk driving across the entirety of California.  The Office of Traffic Safety provided grant money that enabled the CHP to beef up their efforts even more this year than they normally would.  The CHP was particularly attuned to conditions on the road this year because of the heavy rains the Bay Area has been privy to recently.

Follow this link for more about the operation.

Crash Hazard Leads To Recall Of Over 5,000 Aston Martin Vehicles

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 4, 2014

Various types of vehicles of model years ranging between 2008 and 2014 are being recalled by Aston Martin because of an issue that has the potential to cause a crash.  The recall affects just over 5,000 Rapide, Rapide S, Virage, V12 Vantage, V8 Vantage S, V8 Vantage, and DB9 automobiles.  A breakage of the accelerator arm is a possibility due to a shortcoming during production.  When this defect occurs, the vehicle can become stuck in idle mode, and in the middle of transit, the inability to accelerate appropriately could contribute to a crash.  The recall should start by the end of this week, and owners can thus expect to hear from Aston Martin.  Repairs can be sought from dealers at that time.

For more about the recall, follow this link.

Research Shows Fatigued Driving Rule Could Have Positive Impact

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on February 3, 2014

A new report in the Huffington Post takes a look at the effect that new regulations geared toward preventing fatigued driving among truckers may have.  A study has arrived from the Washington State University that shows the beneficial impact the rules can have on the roads.  Between last January and July, 106 drivers submitted data that highlighted how exhaustion was diminished when required breaks saw two nights pass rather than one.  The new law requires two such breaks, designated as being between 1 and 5 in the morning, to take place before an interstate trucker can start a new 34-hour cycle.  Previously, only one such timeframe had to pass.

For more about the study, click here.

Report Provides Guidance On The Future Of Caltrans

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 31, 2014

A report hailing from the University of Wisconsin’s State Smart Transportation Initiative acknowledges the many changes that will need to take place in order for the Department of Transportation of California to remain efficient well into the future.  The report came at the request of California’s State Transportation Agency, and that entity’s secretary of state noted his desire for the ideas contained within to be put to good use.  The report called for a premium to be placed on innovation and handing control over certain decisions over to local bodies.  It also pointed out the benefits of reducing sprawl and focusing future development efforts in targeted areas.

For more about the report, click here.

Drunk Driving Has No Place At Super Bowl Parties

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 30, 2014

The Super Bowl is just a few days away, and whether the end of the game finds you drinking your sorrows because your team lost or toasting in celebration to the team that just won the championship, you have to make sure that your actions aren’t going to endanger other motorists.

No doubt this Sunday will see a rise in the number of drunk drivers on the road, and we don’t want you to fall into that same trap.  When you get behind the wheel while intoxicated, everyone who shares the road with you is put at risk, and a crash could lead to a hefty ticket and a criminal conviction if someone is harmed during the collision.

Although a couple years old at this point, a guide from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides some great insights into the ways that persons who plan on drinking at a Super Bowl party can stay safe.  Make sure that you keep these in mind.

The most important thing you can do is designate a sober driver.  That way, there will be no question as to how people are going to get home.  If you’re hosting a party, figure out the designated driver situation before the big game so that you know none of your intoxicated guests will be tempted to drive themselves home at the end of the night.

If you’re going to be drinking, please realize that the Super Bowl is a long game, and it starts early.  Game time is 6:30 on the East Coast, which means festivities will start at 3:30 (with the party maybe starting even before that) here in California.  That’s a long time to be drinking alcohol continuously.  So that you don’t drink to the point where you’re obliterated, take your time when it comes to alcohol consumption.  You don’t need to pop one beer open the moment you set one down, and you don’t need to do a shot every time you hear the word “Omaha.”

As a host, you also have a role to play when it comes to limiting alcohol consumption.  Make sure there are sodas and even non-alcoholic mixed drinks available so that people aren’t only drinking booze.  And rotate in new food on a regular basis so that no one ever suffers from an empty stomach.  You might also have a cut-off point once the third quarter is up, choosing that time to cease serving alcohol and letting desert and coffee be served in its stead.

When all else fails, call a cab.  There’s no excuse to drive drunk, especially when so many others might be making that same fatal mistake.

Fatigued Driving To Be Tackled By Australian Research Group

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 30, 2014

Much of the media attention in the modern world is focused on distracted driving, and while that topic is certainly something that deserves attention, there’s another road threat that sometimes gets overlooked:  fatigued driving.  Fatigue leads to a number of serious accidents in both the workplace and on the road, and some of these accidents prove deeply injurious or even fatal.

Now, though, an entire organization has been developed in order to come up with systems that could potentially reduce the threat of fatigue.  Monash University has announced the formation of something called the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety, and Productivity.  The goal of this consortium will be to create technology that limits exposure to fatigue.

The Research Program Leader provided an example of the type of device that could be in the offing thanks to this group.  For instance, they could unfurl a system that can measure saliva or sweat to determine if a person is fatigued enough to be dangerous.  If they meet a certain threshold, that person could be barred from their driving or heavy machinery job until they rest up.

They will also try to figure out better ways to deduce the presence of sleep apnea and come up with lighting systems that could potentially reinvigorate workers when they’re feeling exhausted.

How To Oversee The Safety Of Commercial Drivers

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 29, 2014

It’s one thing to have to take care of your own automobile, but quite another to oversee dozens if not hundreds of vehicles.  Such is the responsibility of persons who have to look after entire fleets at commercial enterprises.

We tend to underestimate how many of these vehicles could be on the road at any given time.  Yes, the most high-profile commercial vehicles are tractor trailers on the interstate, but you must also realize that businesses of all sorts require employees to use company trucks or vehicles during the normal course of business.  And some may let their employees drive their own cars during business hours and at other times of the day.

In order to increase safety and even to avoid potential liability, the persons who manage all these vehicles have to take certain steps.  A new report out of the United Kingdom offers some insights in this regard, and fleet managers here in California should remember them when it comes time to make safety upgrades.

Preventative maintenance is going to be key, and oftentimes, you can improve safety by not leaving the decision-making up to each specific driver.  There should be rules in place in regard to how often commercial drivers are required to check things like tire pressure, tread depth, and other things that are going to be vital to proper driving.  Problems should be reported and fixed at once so that there is never an opportunity for someone to be piloting around an unsafe vehicle.

Although not mentioned in the report at the link above, we would like to add two more policies that need to be implemented:  no distracted driving and no drunk driving.  Employees should understand that violations of either of these rules are grounds for punishment.  For distracted driving, that could mean a reprimand or a suspension or a firing, and in the case of drunk driving, an immediate firing may be warranted, especially if the incident leads to a crash.

Every employee who is going to be asked to drive for work should be put through training that emphasizes best driving practices.  Before they’re ever allowed out on the road, drivers should be required to provide proof of insurance and a valid license, and these must be updated as necessary over the course of the employees’ tenure.  This should be something to stay up to date on even if employees provide their own automobiles.

Finally, consider investing in the types of systems that monitor driver behavior and can alert you when unsafe actions are being performed.  These are a great way to instill a sense of responsibility in drivers, as they’ll be hesitant to engage in unsafe maneuvers if you’re looking over their shoulder.

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