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Riverside County Personal Injury Law Blog

Technology might help solve distracted driving problem

Developing technologies are beginning to address the distracted driving problem on California roads in new ways. A device called Groove is designed to be installed in vehicles. When the driver gets into the car, he or she plugs the phone into Groove, and the device is connected to the cloud, which lets the person's mobile provider know he or she is driving. Emails, social media updates, texts and other notifications are then blocked by the mobile provider until the person disconnects his or her device from Groove.

The inventor of the Groove device hopes his device will prevent distracted driving car accidents and save lives. In addition, some wireless providers have released apps that silence the phone in some of the same ways. Sprint's Drive First, AT&T's Drivemode and Verizon's Safely Go all hold incoming calls and texts. They also prevent the driver from sending texts.

Landlord responsibilities when dealing with drug-using tenants

Landlords in California have certain responsibilities when it comes to how properties are kept up. But are landlords also responsible for activities of tenants that may be illegal or unsafe? This was the question at the center of a case involving an eighteen-year-old individual who died from a drug overdose while at a property owned by another individual. A complaint filed by the decedent's parents alleges that the property owner should have taken steps to keep the house in "reasonably safe" condition.

This premises liability case raises several legal questions. An argument can be made that a property owner would assume the role of police officer if they had to report all suspicious or potentially harmful activities going on within properties they are renting or leasing. There's also the question of whether or not the a landlord who knew of such activities would be obligated to report them or legally responsible in the event of someone staying at the property being harmed.

Steps to take following a car accident

Even the most vigilant drivers in California can be involved in motor vehicle accidents, and the actions they take in the moments following a crash can either help or harm their chances of pursuing civil remedies successfully. Motorists may try to calm the situation and prevent tempers from flaring, but honesty is rarely the best policy following a crash.

Determining blame and assigning liability should be left to law enforcement, the courts and insurance companies, and auto policies usually include provisions that prevent policy holders from muddying the waters by accepting responsibility. Checking for injuries and contacting the emergency services is the first thing that drivers should do after crashing, and the police should be notified even if only property was damaged. Motorists can then begin to gather important information such as the names of any eyewitnesses.

Tesla criticizes news media for covering recent accident

Many drivers in California remain suspicious of self-driving vehicle technology. This may be because Tesla has developed its technology in a regulatory vacuum. While a research paper from the University of Michigan last year suggests that self-driving cars should be test-driven for 11 billion miles before they can be determined safe, Tesla has hardly reached this number. Its Autopilot program has recently been running into problems.

A Utah accident this May even provoked critical comments on social media both from the Tesla CEO and the company's supporters. The substance of these comments has made some even more suspicious of where Tesla's priorities lie. The accident was minor in terms of impact; the driver of a Tesla Model S crashed into a fire truck and survived with a broken ankle. While the Autopilot was on, she crashed because she was looking at her phone.

Bicycle accidents and brain injury: by the numbers

Riding a bicycle is an economical, sustainable and enjoyable way to cover some California miles, but it is also an inherently dangerous method of getting from one place to another. Even the strongest, most careful bicyclists cannot avoid all collisions, and this is particularly true when motorists drive distracted or otherwise fail to follow the rules of the road.

According to Reuters, bicycle riders made more than 494,000 emergency room visits and suffered more than 900 fatalities in 2013 alone. When cars and bikes collide, you, the cyclist, typically find yourself on the losing end, and if you suffer a head injury in such an accident, your injuries have the potential to affect you for the rest of your life.

Study finds southern California leads in fatal car accidents

While car accidents can occur anywhere in California, a study found that they occur more frequently in the southern part of the state. In fact, the study discovered that the Devonshire and Reseda intersection in Northridge was the most deadly and dangerous intersection in the state.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there were more than 36,000 deadly car accidents that occurred across the nation in 2016. It was estimated that about 10 percent of those accidents occurred in the state of California. A review of the numbers found that a majority of California's accidents occurred in the southern part of the state, which includes Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, Riverside County and San Diego County.

Operation Safe Driver Week: CVSA to target unsafe drivers

According to a study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, unsafe driving behavior is to blame for 88 percent of crashes involving passenger vehicles and 93 percent of crashes involving large trucks. Whether in California or in some other state, unsafe driving is the leading cause of all highway crashes.

The FMCSA, along with other industry and transportation safety organizations, is in support of the annual Operation Safe Driver Week. This event, hosted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, is meant to reduce injuries and deaths on America's highways. This year, the event will take place from June 15 to June 21.

Seat belt use reduces severity of liver injuries in car accidents

Drivers and passengers in California who buckle up tend to fare better when crashes occur, especially in regard to liver injuries. A research study of 51,202 liver injury car accident cases from 2010 to 2015 revealed that adult victims who wore seat belts generally experienced liver injuries of less severity and their chances of survival improved.

People wearing seat belts endured severe liver damage 21 percent less often than crash victims who did not wear seat belts. When a seat belt was worn and airbags were present, people had a 26 percent lower chance of serious liver injuries. Among more than 50,000 people with liver injuries as a result of a car crash, those with severe liver injuries were twice as likely to die as those with mild or moderate liver injuries. Severe liver injuries resulted in surgery for 14 percent of patients. Mild liver injuries by contrast only required 5 percent of people to have surgeries.

Zero auto accidents by 2050 is the goal of safety organization

In California, as in other states, there are automobile fatalities on an annual basis. Nationwide statistics show that approximately 100 people die on the road every single day. Many of these accidents are preventable.

The National Safety Council's goal is for there to be zero automobile accidents by the year 2050. The National Safety Council's CEO compared the goal of having zero automobile accidents to racing to the moon. She stated how half a century ago, the idea of going to the moon seemed impossible, but now it is a reality. The implication is that although having a fatality-free transportation system seems impossible, with the right leadership, commitment and technology, it can be done.

Afternoon rush hour: the peak time for texting and driving

Drivers in California know that texting and driving is all too common, but they may be wondering when peak texting takes place. According to app developer Drivemode, that peak time is between 3pm and 7pm: the afternoon rush hour. Drivemode came to this conclusion after studying a year's worth of data culled from its own Android app. Records show 6.5 million instances of messaging among 177,000 drivers.

Twenty-two percent of text messages were sent between 4pm and 6pm. It was between 5pm and 6pm that drivers sent the most messages: a national average of 6.87 per hour. A total of 10 states had a higher message rate than this, the first being New York (8.21 messages), followed by Hawaii (7.90) and Florida (7.87). Standard text messaging accounted for almost half of all instances, while Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp each accounted for about 20 percent of them.