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Riverside County Personal Injury Law Blog

Lawmakers introduce automatic emergency braking bill

The number of deadly accidents involving semi-tractor trailers rose sharply in California and around the country in 2017 according to data gathered by the National Safety Council, and many of these crashes were caused by truck drivers who were distracted, fatigued or impaired. Road safety advocates have long lauded the merits of automatic emergency braking systems, and a bill currently before the House of Representatives Highways and Transit Subcommittee would make the technology mandatory equipment on all commercial vehicles in the United States.

In a July 17 press release, the lawmakers behind the Safe Roads Act said that engineers had done their part by developing and testing potentially life-saving safety systems and it was now up to the government to see that the fruits of their efforts are put to good use. However, the legislation faces an uphill battle. Similar bills were introduced in 2011 and 2015 following fatal truck accidents, but they both failed to garner the support needed to reach the president's desk.

Police reports fail to collect enough crash data

California and other states are doing a poor job of collecting motor vehicle accident data, according to a new report by the National Safety Council. As a result, it is more difficult for traffic safety organizations to prevent car crashes.

The NSC reports that no state in the nation fully collects the data needed by safety experts to analyze crashes and come up with effective ways to prevent them. For example, no state accident reports have a place for law enforcement officers to record driver fatigue levels at the time of an accident. In addition, 32 states fail to record a driver's hands-free cellphone use, 32 states fail to record specific drug types following a driver's positive drug test, and 26 states fail to record a driver's texting activities. Meanwhile, all 50 states fail to record a driver's use of driver assistance technologies, 47 states fail to record a driver's use of in-vehicle infotainment systems and 35 states fail to record a teen driver's license restrictions. Six states, including California, fail to record alcohol impairment levels below .08, which is the legal limit.

Tesla faces wrongful death suit for March 2019 crash

Drivers in California should know that Tesla will be facing a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of a man who was killed while operating one of its vehicles. The lawsuit was announced on August 1, 2019, and will be filed at the Palm Beach County court in Florida. The family is suing for $15,000 in compensatory damages.

On March 1, 2019, the man was driving a 2018 Tesla Model 3 south toward Delray Beach when it collided with an eastbound tractor-trailer truck. The car had its roof torn off, and the driver was killed. Crash investigations are still pending.

Older drivers often distracted by in-vehicle tech

Older drivers in California tend to be more distracted by in-vehicle technology than those who are younger, according to a new study published on July 25. Unfortunately, this problem could increase the risk of getting into a car accident.

For the study, researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah had 128 drivers use in-vehicle GPS and infotainment systems from various 2018 vehicles, including models manufactured by Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Mazda, Nissan and Volvo. The drivers were asked to complete a series of tasks with the systems, such as making phone calls, inputting navigation destinations, texting and changing radio stations. The researchers found that drivers between the ages of 55 and 75 took up to 8.6 seconds longer to complete the tasks than drivers between the ages of 21 and 36. Older drivers were also slower to react to system commands, which caused them to take their eyes off the street longer than younger drivers. The authors of the study say their findings suggest that manufacturers need to design their in-vehicle information systems to be less confusing for drivers of all ages.

IIHS calls rear car seats a "danger zone"

California residents may think that the rear seats of their vehicle are safer because they are away from the windshield and dashboard, but this is not necessarily true. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has called rear seats a "danger zone" and has pointed out several areas of deficiency.

First, there is a lack of rear seatbelts with force limiters. These devices release extra belt webbing to mitigate the force with which the belt cinches up to the passenger to hold him or her in place. The second concern is that rear seats do not have forward airbags, though it may not be long before these are developed. Third, seats do not have side curtain airbags to prevent passengers from hitting hard surfaces.

How to handle a dog bite

Dogs are the top pet in the country, with millions of households calling at least one a part of the family. With so many dogs around, there is an increasing risk of a scary encounter.

It may not take much for you to find yourself on the wrong end of a situation with a dog. Knowing what to do should you find yourself the victim of a bite is essential to preserving your rights.

Woman sues Drake over injuries sustained at concert

California fans of singer and rapper Drake may be aware that attendees of his concerts sometimes get too enthusiastic. A New York woman believes that the Canadian singer and the people who put together one of his Madison Square Garden shows didn't take proper precautions to prevent her serious injuries. The 24-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit against the singer, the venue and the entertainment company that put on the show.

The woman claims she sustained a traumatic brain injury that has resulted in seizures after being struck by a beer bottle at a concert that took place in early August of 2016. The concertgoer further contends her injuries have prevented her from attending medical school. In the filed court papers, the woman states she was "maliciously and without just cause provocation" subjected to battery while attending the event.

Causes of slip-and-fall accidents

The slip-and-fall lawsuit is one of the most frequent types of personal injury lawsuits in California and the rest of the United States. One reason for the frequency of these cases is that there are many reasons a slip-and-fall incident can occur. In situations in which individuals trip or slip and then fall on property that belongs to another party, and the property owner failed to take the necessary actions to prevent or correct an issue that resulted in the slip and fall, that property owner may be financially liable for injuries sustained on the property.

One common condition that can result in someone slipping, falling and incurring an injury is the accumulation of ice. There are usually no laws that require property owners to remove snow or ice that buildup around their buildings because of the weather. However, if the state of a property results in the unnatural accumulation of snow or ice, the property owner may be held negligible for any resulting slip-and-fall accidents.

Women are not protected as well by seat belts as men

Seat belts have saved thousands of lives since they became mandatory safety equipment in all passenger vehicles sold in California and around the country, but the results of a recent study suggest that they protect men far more effectively than they protect women. Researchers from the University of Virginia looked at police investigations into 22,854 front-end collisions that took place between 1998 and 2015, and they discovered that women who buckled up were 73 percent more likely to be injured than men who fastened their safety belts.

The researchers took factors such as the severity of the crash, the age of the car and the age, weight and height of the occupants into consideration, and they found that women were especially vulnerable to leg, back and abdominal injuries even when they were properly restrained by a seat belt. The study concludes that more work needs to be done to find the cause of the injury disparity between male and female accident victims.

California ranks high for dangerous driving

According to Allstate Insurance's 2019 Safe Drivers Report, 6 of the 15 cities with the highest rates of car crashes are located in California. In 2017 alone, more than 6.4 million drivers across the country were involved in a car crash according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There are a number of factors involved in accidents, ranging from city infrastructure to distracted and dangerous driving. In all cases, people may find themselves suffering from serious injuries as a result.

California topped the 50 states for the number of cities linked to a high percentage of car crashes. It is not surprising that some of the busiest and most heavily trafficked cities in the country also suffer more auto accidents. The Allstate report aims to rank the 200 largest metropolitan areas in the country for their roadway safety each year and is timed to coincide with the Fourth of July. Every year, Independence Day marks the most dangerous holiday for serious car accidents. The study's results indicate a link between population density and the likelihood of a crash. While all of the areas included are metropolitan in nature, some are far more spread out than others. Many of the safest areas were located in states like Texas, Idaho or Colorado, all with significant amounts of open space.