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Riverside County Personal Injury Law Blog

The importance of keeping up with traffic

When driving, it is customary to pass other vehicles using the left lane. However, if someone is going too slow in that lane, it may become necessary to pass on the right side of the road. This could lead to confusion and increase the risk of an accident. In fact, California law requires cars on two-lane roads to pull over if there are five or more vehicles trailing it.

Driving while distracted may cause a driver to go below the speed limit or otherwise impede the flow of traffic. In 2009, 20 percent of accidents that resulted in injuries were caused by distracted drivers. Those who are on vacation may slow down to admire the sights such as leaves changing colors. They may also drive slower because they are not familiar with the area.

Using headlights during the day

California motorists may be interested to learn more about the impact that running headlights during daylight hours can have on accident rates. Many drivers are accustomed to using their headlights only at night or during inclement weather conditions. However, studies have shown significant increases in road safety when drivers habitually run their headlights during the day as well.

Drivers will perhaps feel hesitant to use their headlights during the day for fear of the additional economic costs that this might entail for them. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the added cost involved would actually be very negligible. Moreover, the NHTSA believes that the important reductions in car accident rates more than compensates for the cost of replacing headlamps a little more frequently than before.

Many drivers recognize danger of texting but still do it

People using their smartphones behind the wheel is a common sight in California. Although the hazards of that behavior are well known, the results of a survey conducted by Progressive Insurance revealed contradictory attitudes about texting and driving. Most view it as unsafe and think it should be legally prohibited, but significant percentages of young people and men believe that they can text and drive successfully.

The insurance company collected responses online from about 1,000 people 18 and older. Age produced a clear division in attitudes. Over 60 percent of people between 18 and 34 expressed confidence in their ability to text while driving. Among people age 55 and older, just under 6 percent expected themselves to text behind the wheel safely.

Fall road conditions can be dangerous for drivers

With the fall season on its way, many California drivers think about the changing of the leaves and pumpkin spice lattes. However, what they may not realize is that fall weather can actually be quite dangerous, particularly because drivers are more likely to encounter different types of road hazards they are not used to.

Fall's changing weather can create hazardous road conditions. For example, the first few fall rain showers can leave puddles of water on the road. Drivers who go too fast over these puddles are at risk for hydroplaning and losing control of their vehicle. As the leaves change color and fall, they can make the road slick, especially when the leaf piles become wet. The leaves and other fall debris can also potentially hide potholes and cracks in the road.

Property owners overlook common danger to consumers

Businesses and non-profits in California can suffer or even go under due to dangerous property conditions. A survey by an authority on slip risks shows that many property owners and managers are not aware of common risk areas in their facilities. The survey also found that a common method of addressing fall risks can actually make the problem worse.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics consistently found that slip-and-fall accidents are the leading category of injuries on the job. Anecdotally, it is well known that businesses failing to address slippery areas used by customers are at risk of premises liability lawsuits. The survey by New Pig showed that businesses routinely fail to recognize the number risks. In one example, nearly half of respondents claimed to have less than three risk areas for a same-level fall. However, survey results showed over 10 risk areas.

Choosing Safe Halloween Costumes For Your Kids

Halloween falls on October 31, but the costume planning and costume selection process may take days, weeks or even months. It can certainly be a lot of fun seeing your children get excited and creative about costumes, and there are many opportunities for bonding and making memories that are sure to last a lifetime.

Of course, it is also important to keep safety in mind, so here are a few tips for selecting safe Halloween costumes.

IIHS study reveals the value of crash avoidance technology

California residents are likely aware that many modern cars and SUVs are fitted with sophisticated accident avoidance technology. Features like lane departure warning systems and blind spot alerts use sensors and radar arrays to monitor road conditions and warn drivers of impending dangers, and a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that more than 50,000 traffic accident injuries could be prevented each year if all vehicles were so equipped.

Researchers from the Virginia-based nonprofit group, which is funded by auto insurers, used accident data compiled in 2015 to gauge the effectiveness of lane departure and blind spot warning technology. More than 5,000 car accidents involving vehicles equipped with these systems were studied, and the researchers found that the technology reduced sideswipe accidents and front-end collisions by 11 percent. The researchers also noticed that injury rates were 21 percent lower when accident avoidance systems warned drivers of looming dangers but failed to prevent a crash.

Law to prevent truck accidents challenged by Congress

California state law currently recognizes the risk of having a fatigued driver in a large commercial truck by requiring more rest periods for drivers than under federal law. However, two of California's representatives to the U.S. House are looking to overturn any state's ability to enhance roadway safety with more breaks than are federally mandated.

The federal law on trucker rest stops only forces drivers to stop once during their first eight hours for 30 minutes. California labor law preempts the federal requirement by forcing commercial drivers to take a 10-minute break every four hours and another 30-minute break for eating every five hours. The bill in Congress would allow interstate drivers to ignore California labor law, which some worry will increase the risk of truck accidents caused by fatigue. Kentucky and Colorado state labor laws would face a similar fate.

Doctors' families file wrongful death lawsuits

Many Californians have likely heard about the tragic case in Boston in which two doctors were killed in their home by an intruder. The couple, who lived in a condominium in a building, were slain in May.

According to news sources, the victims' families filed wrongful death lawsuits against the building's owner. The lawsuit alleges that the trust that owns the building had inadequate security, which allowed the intruder to gain entry. The murderer had previously worked at the building but had lost his job, and authorities believe that the doctors let him into their home believing that he was still employed by the building.

Autonomous vehicles face many challenges

The U.S. Department of Transportation has noted that human error plays a role in about 94 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents around the country, and the figures suggest that even the development of sophisticated electronic automobile safety systems has done little to make the nation's roads safer. However, many technology experts and road safety advocates believe that self-driving cars, which have been tested in California for some time, could one day eliminate accidents caused by human recklessness and negligence entirely.

Several companies have vowed to introduce a fully autonomous vehicle within five years, but industry experts point out that these manufacturers must first overcome a number of thorny issues. New regulations must be developed for self-driving cars, and continuously refining and updating the mapping data used by autonomous vehicles will likely be a major challenge. However, some of the most vociferous opposition to self-driving cars is expected to come from groups that are threatened by them.