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Riverside County Personal Injury Law Blog

Teen drivers may need more than high school driver's ed

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in California and around the country between the ages of 15 and 18. More than 100,000 young people are killed or injured on the nation's roads each year, and many road safety advocates expect this grim figure to rise still further in the years ahead as mobile technology grows ever more pervasive. Most American teens attend driver's education classes in high school, but the way their parents behave behind the wheel often contradicts what they are taught in the classroom.

Researchers have long known that the children of parents with bad habits often develop those same habits themselves. This can lead to tragedy when the bad habits include using cellphones while driving, exceeding posted speed limits and becoming enraged by other road users. Parents who wish to provide their children with more appropriate examples now have options available as intensive teen driving skills classes are offered in many parts of the country. These classes are designed to give young drivers real-world skills that driver's education classes may not provide.

Be prepared for winter driving

Winter is on the way, and that means inclement weather could strike at any time in Northern California. While snow and ice may not be an issue here in the southern part of the state, it can be treacherous traveling to other parts of the country. The fact remains that it is best to be prepared for vigilant driving and the possibility of roadside emergencies in any season.

AAA recently published several driving pointers to benefit wintertime drivers. First, it is important that everyone wear a seat belt. Plus, the driver needs to be certain that he or she had plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel. Fatigue can be a real contributor to auto accidents under any circumstances.

Drunk driving is a serious Halloween safety issue

California residents who plan to take their children trick-or-treating this Halloween may wish to remain especially vigilant when crossing busy roads. Accident data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that drunk driving accidents are worryingly common during the annual fall holiday with the hours between 6:00 p.m. on Oct. 31 and 6:00 a.m. on Nov. 1 being particularly deadly.

During this time, accidents involving at least one intoxicated driver account for 44 percent of all traffic fatalities, and nearly half of those killed each year are between the ages of 21 and 34 according to NHTSA. However, there are steps that people of all ages can take to safely enjoy the celebrations. According to the American Automobile Association, people attending Halloween parties should choose a designated driver or leave their vehicles behind and rely on taxis or lift sharing services to get them home. They should also be willing to step in when they see somebody who has had too much to drink get behind the wheel.

Common risks factors for pedestrians in Palm Springs

The cooler weather will be bringing out locals and snowbirds alike in Palm Springs and the surrounding desert area, meaning more people on the road and walkways. Although most traffic accidents involve vehicles, an increasing number occur with pedestrians. In fact, fatalities among foot traffic have risen 33 percent the last few years, reports the local news.

You can lower the odds that you will be a statistic by knowing common risk factors and how you can mitigate them.

Club floor collapses during party, injuring dozens

California partygoers may wonder about the safety of the nightclubs and party sites they visit, especially when elevated floors and balconies are involved. At one clubhouse near Clemson University in South Carolina, the floor collapsed in the early morning hours of Oct. 21 while a party was in progress. Dozens fell down into the basement as the floor gave way, and 30 people were hospitalized after the incident.

Police said that none of the injuries were life-threatening and that no one was trapped. However, the incident was disturbing and painful for the dozens who suddenly crashed through the center of the dance floor. The venue was the site of a private party when the incident happened. According to partygoers, the room was packed with people, many of whom were jumping up and down and dancing. After the crash, people said that victims were visibly bleeding and falling over one another. One person said that he saw what appeared to be many people with broken legs or ankles. The incident was reported to local police shortly after midnight.

Scientists investigate genetics of spinal cord injury treatment

Spinal cord injuries can be life-changing for accident victims in California. These kinds of injuries could lead to a loss of sensory function, loss of motor abilities and even paralysis. Many doctors and scientists are researching the causes and effects of these injuries and looking for new treatment mechanisms that could help to restore lost functionality. In one study, researchers at the University of British Columbia found a gene signature that switches on and off in response to spinal cord injuries; it appears to be tied to the severity of the damage sustained.

There are still no widely available ways to treat spinal cord injuries or repair lost motor function. However, these researchers think that further analysis of the genes involved could pinpoint biomarkers that help to predict the likelihood of recovery and indicate fruitful areas for treatment.

Deadly limo accident happened at dangerous intersection

When people in California hire a limousine, they might not be aware of limousine safety issues. A deadly limousine crash that grabbed national headlines has highlighted some dangers associated with limousines. Locals already considered the intersection where the crash occurred dangerous. Only a stop sign marked the intersection where one state road met another state road at the bottom of a steep hill.

A distracted driver could have easily missed the stop sign. Although investigators have not determined if the limousine driver had been distracted by a phone, the rise of smartphones has accompanied an increase in traffic accidents. In 2013, researchers recorded 5.7 million accidents. By 2017, the figure had risen to 6.4 million accidents.

Safety groups consider all vehicle autopilot systems flawed

Partially autonomous systems in vehicles meant to assist drivers and prevent accidents have proven popular with California motorists. Automotive safety groups, like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Thatcham in the United Kingdom, caution people against crediting autopilot features with perfect capabilities. They all require an attentive driver, and some systems should only be used under narrow circumstances.

For example, the manual for the Tesla Model S specifically states that autosteer should only be used on restricted use roads like freeways. Autosteer is designed to keep a vehicle between the painted lane lines. Self-driving features have been targeted by critics who say that some people might rely on the autonomous systems too much and misunderstand their limitations.

Recent trends in car crash deaths

Many drivers in California have been involved in a car accident at some point during their lives. Most of these accidents are minor, but car accidents continue to be a significant cause of death every year. According to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fatalities from car accidents decreased from 2016 to 2017.

According to the data, there was an overall decrease in deaths from car accidents of about two percent. However, deaths from SUV and tractor-trailer crashes increased by 5.8 percent, and deaths from large straight-truck accidents were up by 18.7 percent.

Over-reliance on car safety tech can backfire on drivers

Technology is changing the way that many California residents drive, and not always for the better. Over-reliance on collision avoidance systems and other safety features can make drivers complacent and a danger to themselves and others. A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has analyzed this trend and come up with some startling statistics.

For instance, 80 percent of drivers are unaware that their blind-spot monitoring system has only a limited ability to detect fast-approaching vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. 20 percent put so much trust in this feature that they never look for oncoming vehicles when changing lanes.