December 1, 2012

California Cell Phone Tickets and Your Insurance Rates

Insurance companies are coming after your money! In the state of California, it's illegal for all drivers to talk on a cell phone and to text message behind the wheel. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), we are one of 10 states with such a law on the books. If the law isn't enough to keep you from using you phone at the wheel, drop your phone and grab your wallet!
According to FOX Business, insurance companies are now coming after drivers who text behind the wheel.

Our Modesto car accident attorneys have talked about the dangers that accompany distracted driving. Distracted driving increases your risks for an accident. You're 4 times more likely to crash when using a hand-held cell phone and 23 times more likely to crash when text messaging.

In California, the text messaging and cell phone law are primary offenses, meaning that an officer can stop a driver and ticket them for it. Still, there are far too many drivers engaging in these dangerous behaviors behind the wheel. For this reason, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTS) decided to drop $550,000 into a pilot program in Massachusetts and in Connecticut to see which enforcement efforts work best for getting drivers to hang up the phone. The truth of the matter is that enforcement efforts work. Now, it's just figuring out which ones work the best.

The insurance industry is paying closer attention now to what drivers are doing behind the wheel. They're not the best at having your back when you're in an accident, but you better believe they're going to be looking over your shoulder and call you out on your distracted driving violations. Even in states where texting tickets are not considered moving violations, and so don't result in points on your license, insurance companies are expected to begin using violations as a reason to increase your premiums.

According to the most recent statistics, more than 3,000 people die in distracted driving car accidents each and every year. Officials claim this number is actually much higher because distractions are not always cited on accident reports -- meaning that drivers aren't willing to fess up. There's no test that can determine if a driver was distracted at the time of the accident. In drunk driving cases we have breathalyzers and other tests. Unfortunately, there's nothing for distracted driving.

The state of California uses the driver's license point system for moving violations. Insurance companies use these points to hike your insurance rates.

DMV Point System in California:

-One Point: Child passenger violations, mechanics and equipment violations and minor moving violations.

-Two Points: Driving under the influence, hit-and-run accidents, driving on a revoked or suspended license and reckless driving.

If you get 4 points within a year, you're going to get your license suspended. The same thing goes for if you get 6 points in two years and 8 points with 3 years.

Continue reading "California Cell Phone Tickets and Your Insurance Rates " »

November 23, 2012

Modesto Premises Liability & Holiday Shopping Safety

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year as bargain-hunters hit the malls and stores to try to save on their Christmas shopping and score the hottest items of the year.

Unfortunately, what is supposed to be a fun holiday tradition can turn dangerous.

Many incidents of shopper aggression in recent years point to the risks that exist on Black Friday. From trampling incidents to shoppers discharging weapons or using pepper spray to gain an advantage, Black Friday has become a day that presents some serious dangers to shoppers. 737301_shopping_is_for_girls.jpg

Modesto injury attorneys urge you to exercise caution on this Black Friday holiday if you are hitting the malls. Remember, you need to be vigilant against people who take advantage of the holiday shopping rush to try to steal money or goods.

Tips for Staying Safe From Black Friday Crowds
Many of the reports of serious Black Friday injuries stem from crowd-control incidents. Stores and retail establishments are expected to take steps to keep their patrons safe from crowds, including setting up barriers and not letting too many people into stores at one time. Unfortunately, sometimes retailers fall short and people get hurt.

While stores can be held financially responsible for injuries that occur due to their failure to protect customers, it is far better to avoid being injured in the first place. To keep yourself safe:

  • Shop with a buddy and stay together. If one of you falls or is hurt, the other can get help.

  • Always wear comfortable shoes that provide good traction and good balance.

  • Leave a store or line if you suspect things are becoming dangerous.

  • Note where the exits are when you enter a store.

  • Don't sleep out overnight in store lines by yourself- always bring someone with you and one of you should be awake and alert at all times.

  • Ask security and store employees for help if you feel threatened.

  • Don't get into a confrontation with an aggressive shopper.

Above all, remember that no bargain or deal is worth risking your safety for.

Tips for Avoiding Black Friday Crime
You may also be at risk for having money or items stolen from you. The National Crime Prevention Council urges having a personal safety plan in place for Black Friday and provides tips to help you avoid becoming the victim of a crime. According to their suggestions you should:

  • Only buy what you can carry and bring a friend or ask a store employee for help if you are buying more.

  • Keep your credit card or money in your purse or wallet until you are asked to pay.

  • Consider using one-time use cards to pay during Black Friday shopping.

  • Avoid carrying a purse and keep your money close to you.

  • Approach your car with keys in hand and check the area around the car and back seat before approaching and getting in.

  • Refrain from leaving packages visible in the car. Instead, put them in the trunk or hide them where they cannot be seen.

  • Alert security if you see anything odd and ask for a store employee to escort you to your car if you are concerned about safety.

By following these safety tips, you can hopefully avoid becoming the victim of a Black Friday crime.

Continue reading "Modesto Premises Liability & Holiday Shopping Safety" »

November 20, 2012

Modesto Injury Lawyers Wish You a Safe Thanksgiving!

Over the Thanksgiving season, many people travel home to see their families.

In fact, according to a November report by AAA, holiday travel will be increasing this year for the third consecutive year. AAA indicates that an estimated 43.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this year to go home for Thanksgiving.

People tend to drive more during the Thanksgiving holiday not only to go home and see their families, but also because they have a four-day weekend for shopping and celebrating. Unfortunately, the increased number of drivers on the road can lead to more accidents and more injuries. 541531_traffic_jam.jpg

To help you stay safe this holiday season, our Modesto car accident attorneys urge you to consider these safe driving tips.

The Risks of Thanksgiving Holiday Travel
This November, the National Safety Counsel (NSC) took an in depth look at accident statistics in order to get a better understanding of the increased risk of auto accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday season. While there was no reliable data measure available to indicate exactly how many more people drive over the holidays than at other times of the year, the NSC reviewed the available accident rates with the assumption that driving does increase over the holidays.

According to the NSC report:

  • There are likely to be between 41,100 and 56,500 non-fatal disabling injuries caused by auto accidents during the 4.5 day Thanksgiving weekend. This year, this time period stretches from 6:00 PM on Wednesday November 21 through 11:59 PM on Sunday November 25.

  • Based on crash data from 2005-2010, the number of traffic fatalities over Thanksgiving is 9.8 percent higher than the average number of fatalities during comparable non-Holiday weekends.

  • 13.76 percent of traffic deaths during November of 2010 occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • 15.3 percent of November traffic deaths from 2005 to 2010 took place during the Thanksgiving weekend.

This data underscores that driving over the holiday weekend can be dangerous. The increased risk may be caused not only by more drivers on the road, but also by aggressive drivers trying to get to their shopping destinations or by people driving home from dinners and parties after having a little too much to drink.

Staying Safe During the Holiday Weekend
While some accidents cannot be prevented, you can minimize the risk of becoming involved in a holiday crash by following some basic safety procedures:

  • Leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination so there is no need to speed. Remember, you may encounter more traffic so account for this in your planning.
  • Stay away from areas that are likely to be congested, such as shopping mall parking lots over the holiday season.
  • Don't drive after you've had too much to drink or if you are feeling drowsy.
  • Don't talk on your cell phone or engage in distracted driving.
  • Consider timing your travel, especially long journeys, to off-peak hours when there isn't likely to be as much traffic.

Following these tips should hopefully help you to stay safe and avoid car accidents this holiday season.

Continue reading "Modesto Injury Lawyers Wish You a Safe Thanksgiving!" »

October 30, 2012

Modesto Injury Attorneys Note Autumn Road Risks

On the first Sunday in November, we're going to get to turn our clocks back. At 2:00 a.m., you officially gain an extra hour of sleep.

Unfortunately, this time change is going to affect our morning and evening commutes -- forcing more to drive while it's dark out. Every year, we see an increase in the number of car accidents because of this change. Many of these accidents are caused by drowsy driving or reduced visibility.

Whatever the causes, the truth of the matter is that you're more likely to get into an accident. Be safe and be cautious out there!
Our Modesto car accident lawyers are asking drivers to be extra careful when driving while it's dark out. Make sure you're getting plenty of sleep and pull over if you start to feel sleepy behind the wheel. Each year, there are more than 1,500 travelers who are killed in drowsy driving car accidents. Approximately 71,000 people are injured, too. And these are only the accidents that are reported.

To help to raise awareness about this problem, officials with the National Sleep Foundation have designated the 12th through the 18th of November as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

Everyone is at risk for one of these accidents. You might think that it could never happen to you, but you're wrong. For many of us, the drowsiness can just sneak up and we won't realize it until it's too late. Are you one of the ones listed below who are at increased risks for these accidents?

Who is at risk for a drowsy driving accident?

-Younger drivers are more likely to be involved. They're more likely to drive at night and they're less likely to understand the dangers of driving while sleepy.

-Shift workers and those working long hours. These drivers have a six-fold increase in drowsy driving accidents.

-Commercial truck drivers. These are drivers that log a lot of miles and do a lot of their driving at night -- at a time when your body is programmed to want sleep. These drivers are also at severe risk for sleep disorders.

-Those with sleep disorders. People who experience untreated obstructive sleep apnea are seven times more likely to get into a drowsy driving car accident. Those with insomnia experience similar risks as well.

-Those who travel frequently on business. These drivers are more likely to suffer from jet lag and spend more time on the road -- causing them to be sleepier.

You want to make sure that you drive at times when you would normally be awake. If you ever feel sleepy behind the wheel, make sure you pull over and stop driving. You never want to push through sleepiness. It's one of the most dangerous moves you can make.

Continue reading "Modesto Injury Attorneys Note Autumn Road Risks" »

October 20, 2012

Modesto Pedestrian Safety & Halloween Accident Risks

Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights out of the entire year for pedestrian accidents in Modesto and elsewhere, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
"Whether walking or driving, AAA urges all road users to utilize extra caution, be mindful of their surroundings and celebrate responsibly," said Linda Gorman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for AAA.

Our Modesto pedestrian accident lawyers are asking parents take care of their little ghost and goblins on this dangerous night. Make sure that you talk with them about the risks and make sure to share with them some simple safety tips to help keep everyone safe out there. The Modesto Police Department is here with some of these tips.

Halloween Safety Tips:

-Before heading out to go trick-or-treating, plan out your route. Make sure you choose a route that's well-lit, that has safe crosswalks or street corners, that is away from fast-moving traffic and that you are familiar with the area.

-Drivers are asked to be cautious of pedestrians during this time of the year, especially in residential neighborhoods. Travel through these areas slowly.

-Make sure that everyone's costume is safe. You should tie up loose ends, wear comfortable shoes, keep masks away and use face paint and make sure that everyone can be easily seen by passing traffic.

-Always walk along a sidewalk when there is one available. Don't walk on people's yards.

-Use fake candles or even glow sticks in your jack-o-lanterns to avoid a fire hazard. When using actual fire, never leave it unattended.

-Avoid using simulated knives, guns or swords. If such props are used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury.

-Never allow young trick-or-treaters to venture out on their own. Make sure they're supervised by a responsible adult.

-Always carry a cell phone with you should you encounter an emergency.

-Stay away from people and pets that you don't know.

-Instruct children to only take candy from the doorstep. Never go into a home of someone who you do not know.

-Allow parents to look at candy before it's consumed. Get rid of candy that has been open, that has been tampered with or items that can serve as a choking hazard.

During this time of the year, and especially on Halloween night, drivers are asked to be careful out there. Slow down, especially when driving through residential neighborhoods, and be on the lookout for little ghosts and goblins. Avoid driving at night if you can. If not, try to stay out of neighborhoods, but be on your best behavior when leaving or entering yours. Safety on All Hallow's Eve is a joint effort and takes cooperation for everyone.

Continue reading "Modesto Pedestrian Safety & Halloween Accident Risks" »

September 29, 2012

Modesto Auto Accidents - Road Rage & Aggressive Driving a Growing Problem

You might think you're calm behind the wheel, but far too many drivers aren't.

U.S. News reports that, of a survey of more than 500 drivers, about 90 percent of them said that they had either seen a road rage incident in the last year or they've been a victim of one. The issue came to prominence in the '90s, when several studies found there were nearly 220 people murdered and another 12,000 people injured because of these kinds of incidents. Vehicles and firearms were the most common weapons used in such cases.
Most are sparked by trivial matters, including parking spots, slow drivers and even horn honking.

Our Modesto car accident lawyers understand that many cases do not rise to the level of road rage, which is generally defined as a criminal offense like assault. However, aggressive driving is present in a large number of accident cases. These habits include tailgating, horn honking, making gestures to other drivers, changing lanes erratically and even shouting.

"Road rage is driving under the influence of impaired emotions," says Leon James with the University of Hawaii.

Road rage and aggressive driving behaviors are typically triggered by the assumptions that we are making about other drivers -- often drivers think another motorist is doing something intentionally to be bothersome and inconsiderate.

Recent studies have concluded that drivers of all kinds can succumb to road rage or aggressive driving behavior. For some drivers, it happens virtually every time they get behind the wheel. These are the drivers that are increasing the risks of accidents for everyone.

Aside from the accident risks, such aggression is just generally unhealthy. When you experience road rage, you're producing stress hormones that have the ability to raise your blood pressure and your heart rate. If you're engaging in this behavior every day, then you're increasing your risks of suppressing your immune system, giving yourself stress-related back pain, tension headaches, infertility, menstrual problems or rapid heartbeat.

Avoiding Aggressive Driving:

-Get enough sleep. You want to get at least 7 hours of sleep each and every night.

-Carry snacks in your car. Hunger increases irritability.

-Leave earlier to avoid rushing.

-Never travel when you're tired. Being sleepy increases irritability.

-Try to avoid traveling during rush hours. Congestion only increases anger for most drivers.

-Plan your car rides to take the least congested roadways.

-Take a moment to calm down when you start to feel frustrated behind the wheel.

-Start thinking about positive things.

-Pull over and stop for a break.

Take a deep breath and consider the consequences. Many an impromptu display of anger or frustration by a driver has led to a serious or fatal car accident. Talk about ruining your day! Too often, the consequences can last a lifetime.

Continue reading "Modesto Auto Accidents - Road Rage & Aggressive Driving a Growing Problem" »

September 21, 2012

Prescription Drugs & Modesto Traffic Accidents

Each and every day, there are about 10,000 people in the U.S. who celebrate their 65th birthday. More than 80 percent of drivers 65 and older regularly take medication. And two-thirds take five or more daily, according to FOX News.

Yet only half have talked with a medical professional about the possible safety issues related to driving and the medications they're taking. We encourage you talk with your elderly loved ones about the medications they're taking and how they may be impacting life behind the wheel. Urge them to talk with their doctor or physician about the effects that these prescriptions may be having on their ability to drive.

Our Modesto car accident lawyers know that medications aren't only affecting elderly drivers. This is a safety issue of growing importance nationwide. It's important that you're aware of the side effects of individual drugs, as well as what impact combining medications may have on your driving abilities. Take blood pressure medication for example. It's might help to lower your blood pressure, but it can negatively affect your driving. It can cause you to have problems staying within your lane, it can delay your reaction time, it can lower your vigilance, it may even cause you to have a tough time recalling where you were going. In certain instances, such medication can even cause you to lose consciousnesses, to have a tough time focusing and can hinder night vision. But how many people who are taking blood pressure medicine know about these side effects? Not many.

There are some drugs, like antidepressants, that can cause you to have the same reaction times as a drunk driver. These medications increase your risks of an accident by more than 40 percent. Knowing how your medications affect your driving skills is the first step you can take in preventing these kinds of accidents.

To help to educate drivers about their medications, officials with AAA have created the Roadwise Rx tool. This is a website that allows you to enter in the prescriptions that you're currently taking and receive customized feedback regarding possible side effects and drug interactions.

If your prescriptions are hindering your ability to drive and you need these drugs to function, then you have a number of options. Talking to your doctor may reveal other medications, which when substituted may not have the same negative impact on your driving abilities.

Take this time to talk with your loved ones about the risks and the dangers that might be associated with the prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that they're taking. Sit down and enter this information into Roadwise Rx to see how exactly your driving skills are being impacted.

While your doctor or pharmacist should be able to provide invaluable assistance, Roadwise Rx is also an important tool. Whenever your medicines change, or you begin taking a new over-the-counter medication, reexamining your risks will help keep you safe behind the wheel.

Continue reading "Prescription Drugs & Modesto Traffic Accidents" »

August 30, 2012

Labor Day Car Accidents in Modesto Drive CHP Safety Campaign

The California Highway Patrol and several other local law enforcement agencies will be ramping up patrol efforts over Labor Day Weekend, in hopes of curbing drunk, distracted and reckless drivers. tunneldrive.jpg

Modesto car accident lawyers know that this is by far one of the most dangerous holidays for travel, in California and throughout the country.

Last year, nearly 30 people were killed in traffic crashes last Labor Day weekend. Another 1,500 were arrested for DUI.

Last year, there were two more fatal accidents in southern California during Labor Day weekend than there were the year before. Here's a round-up of how last year's Labor Traffic Fatalities:

  • An 18-year-old rear-ended a vehicle on southbound 52nd Street, causing both vehicles to burst into flames, killing a nearby pedestrian and critically injuring three others. The 18-year-old driver was arrested on charges of DUI and second-degree murder.
  • A pickup truck driven by a 17-year-old male flipped over on the 710 Freeway near the 91 Freeway. A female passenger was killed, and three others were seriously hurt.
  • A 23-year-old man in a Honda Accord was killed when his vehicle swerved off the 105 Freeway. He was speeding when he struck a tree and a power pole. His female passenger suffered moderate injuries.
  • A motorcyclist was killed in a crash near the Pacific Coast Highway.

Each of these tragedies was preventable, and were mostly attributed to inexperienced drivers who were irresponsible - either intoxicated, speeding or distracted.

While these kinds of crashes happen all year round, Labor Day poses particular risks because there are so many more vehicles on the road than there would be otherwise, despite the fact that many people are off work. They are often traveling to a relative's or friend's home. Too often, people are sleep deprived or don't arrange for a designated driver if they've been drinking all day.

Also, many students see Labor Day as sort of a "last-hurrah," a chance to have one final bash before the end of summer and the start of the new school year.

What's more, September is among the most dangerous months for traffic fatalities in California, according to the California Highway Patrol. In 2010, it ranked third for statewide traffic fatalities, just behind November and July.

In an effort to help drive those numbers down, CHP will be settling up checkpoints and initiating saturated patrols throughout the state. This should help to address some of the problem, but of course, law enforcement can't be everywhere.

Some tips to travel safely this Labor Day weekend:

  • Leave yourself plenty of time to travel. That way, a traffic jam or some other incident won't throw you off and have you rushing.
  • Don't speed. It's one of the top factors in fatal crashes.
  • Don't tailgate - especially with trucks or vehicles larger than your own.
  • Get directions ahead of time so you can put all your focus on the road in front of you.
  • Don't drink and drive.

Continue reading "Labor Day Car Accidents in Modesto Drive CHP Safety Campaign" »

August 25, 2012

Modesto Car Accidents: California a Leader in Distracted Driving Prevention

With distracted driving resulting in more than 3,000 deaths each year (and more than 415,000 injuries), the federal government is awarding grants to states like California, which have enacted primary enforcement laws addressing the issue. blackcellphone.jpg

Modesto personal injury lawyers understand that $17.5 million has been set aside to divvy up among those 10 states, plus Washington D.C. and Guam, that have deemed use of handheld cell phones while driving a primary offense.

Having the measure as "primary offense" means that an officer in California can stop you and cite you solely for talking on the phone or texting while driving. In states where such actions are considered "secondary offenses," it means that an officer can't stop you solely for talking on your phone, but if he or she has another legitimate and lawful reason to stop you, you can be cited for it.

The grant has been awarded by Congress under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (also known as MAP-21). The only requirement is that the state have a comprehensive, primary law that forbids texting while driving.

California has some of the stiffest laws on the books. Handheld devices used for either talking or texting are considered a primary offense for ALL drivers - not just teens, as is the case in some states.

Still, distracted driving deaths continue to be a major problem. And it isn't just teenagers.

Anyone using a cell phone is four times more likely to be involved in a crash than someone who isn't, and distracted driving causes nearly as many accidents as drunk driving and speeding. That's according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. In fact, multiple studies have indicated that talking on a cell phone or texting while driving leads to the same type of reaction delay as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent - which in all states is the threshold for drunk driving.

These state laws are clear and this increased awareness initiative will mean they have no excuses for continuing to do anything other than drive behind the wheel.

States can decide what to do with the money once it's been awarded, though it is expected that it will be used for increased law enforcement on the roads, ongoing public awareness campaigns and possibly a push in some places to enact tougher penalties for violations.

Congress has set aside an additional $5 million for national distracted driving awareness.

The announcement of the grants coincided with the release of a series of public service announcements from "Glee" cast members. It's part of the "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks." campaign, which kicked off in October of last year.

Some things to keep in mind to help you avoid distracted driving:

Turn your phone completely off or turn it to silent mode before you even get in the vehicle.

  • If you need to make a phone call, pull over.
  • Ask a passenger to make a call for you.
  • Know your route before you get in the car.
  • Make sure your pets are properly secured before you start the car.
  • If you have a situation you need to handle involving children, pull over to do it.

Continue reading "Modesto Car Accidents: California a Leader in Distracted Driving Prevention" »

July 31, 2012

Modesto Car Accident Risks Increase with Economic Recovery

Car manufacturers might be trying to build safer cars and transportation officials might be trying to make our roads safer for everyone, but the truth of the matter is that we're seeing more and more fatal accidents on our roadways.

According to CNN Money, the first three months of 2012 showed a near 15 percent increase from the number of fatal car accidents during the same time in 2011. Risks are expected to continue to increase as the economy recovers.

During the first four months of this year, there were nearly 8,000 people killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. During the same time period in 2011, only about 6,700 people had been killed on our roadways, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Our Modesto car accident attorneys understand that there are a number of reasons why transportation officials think we may be experiencing this increase. One of the top reasons is the unseasonably warm weather we've seen this year. More residents are tempted to get out there and take that road trip to their vacation destination. With more vacationers out and racking up those miles, more accidents are happening and were losing more lives. It's a correlation we've seen over and over. More vehicle miles traveled equates to more roadway fatalities.

"AAA agrees that warmer-than-average winter weather may have contributed to higher
vehicle miles traveled, and ultimately more fatal crashes," said Jacob Nelson with the Automobile Association of America.

Unfortunately, this significant increase comes after a couple years of decreasing numbers. All of that progress was just wiped out in the matter of 4 months.

What might be most shocking is that typically the first four months of the year are some of the safest. In recent years, the number of fatal car accidents only increased each quarter as the year progressed. Experts say that it's usually because of the winter weather. When the cool wind blows in, families aren't as excited to travel. The colder it gets, the safer our roadways become.

Officials are realizing that way more needs to be done and a few safety campaigns to tackle distracted driving and seat belts aren't going to cut it.

If the current statistics hold true and the year follows the trend of previous years, then we're in for some trouble. The first quarter numbers represent the second largest year-to-year quarterly increase in traffic deaths since the government began recording them back in 1975.

From this year to last year, speaking in vehicle miles traveled, we've seen a near 1.5 percent increase.

Drivers should take this news as a warning and use it as an incentive to change driving habits. Only safe and responsible driving habits can help to bring these numbers back down. No amount of enforcement efforts and campaigns is going to make a difference unless drivers decide that they want to do it for themselves.

Continue reading "Modesto Car Accident Risks Increase with Economic Recovery" »

July 15, 2012

City Officials Warn of Heat Injuries in Modesto during Summer

We've been experiencing temps in the mid to upper 90s for quite some time now.

With the summer come high temps as well as risks for heatstroke and other heat-related injuries in Modesto and elsewhere. For that reason, officials with the City of Modesto are working to raise awareness about these conditions and these injuries.
Officials with the City of Modesto have even teamed up with those at the Modesto Regional Fire Authority and a number of other agencies to help to monitor any changes in the weather and to relay the information to residents. As of now, the National Weather Service has not issued any Excessive Heat Outlooks, Warnings or Watches for the state, but that could change any day. Currently, there are no plans to open cooling centers. It's important to remember though that that could quickly change. City officials remind residents that now is the perfect time to freshen up your hot weather safety know-how.

Injuries from the heat can occur to a child left in a hot car, or at youth sporting events or on the job site. Take care to avoid the heat and make sure those in your care are doing the same.

Our Modesto personal injury attorneys understand that with the heat comes increased risks for child injury, too. In 2011, there were more than 30 kids under the age of 14 who were killed after they were left inside of a hot car. Some of these accidents are committed by the most loving and caring parents. Others occur at daycare centers or schools. Heatstroke is number one cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for this young age group. To help to raise awareness with the City of Modesto, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have joined forced with Safe Kids Worldwide.

Throughout the entire month, officials will be conducting events nationwide to help to clear up the confusion about these kinds of accidents and to offer preventive tips to help to avoid these injuries and fatalities.

"We're working to get the message out to families with young children to take basic precautions to ensure a heatstroke tragedy never happens to them," said Ray LaHood with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

The recent partnership between the NHTSA and Safe Kids Worldwide is being used to build on the NHTSA's campaign, "Where's baby? Look before you lock."

Nearly 550 children have died because of vehicular heatstroke since 1998. Most of these fatalities were of children who were under the age of 4.

Parents, guardians and childcare providers are urged to check the entire car before getting out and locking up. Keep an eye on vehicles near you. If you see a child alone in a car, call local authorities. It's not wise to keep children in a car alone with the windows cracked and the air conditioning on. The same rules apply for pets. Remember that it only takes less than 10 minutes for a child's body to heat up to dangerously hot and deadly temps.

Continue reading "City Officials Warn of Heat Injuries in Modesto during Summer" »

June 30, 2012

Drunk Driving Accidents in Modesto a Leading Summer Threat

In a recent drunk driving car accident in Modesto, a local police officer was injured after his car was hit from behind by driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol. Just after midnight, the officer was stopped at a red light on Standiford Avenue and Sisk Road when he was rear ended by the suspect, according to the Modesto Bee.
The driver was arrested for driving on a suspended license and on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Our Modesto accident attorneys understand that about third of all fatal car accidents involve a drunk driver. According to the recently-released statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 10,230 people who were killed in alcohol-related car accidents in California and elsewhere in 2010. These kinds of accidents and every single one of these fatalities are preventable. In addition, there were hundreds of thousands more who were injured in these crashes.

California ranked in at second place for having the most alcohol-related accident fatalities throughout the year. During this time, there were more than 920 people who were killed in these accidents in our state. These accidents accounted for more than a third of all roadway fatalities. What's most alarming about these deaths is that they were avoidable. Each and every drunk driving accident could have been avoided. There are a number of preventative measures that can be taken to avoid this kind of accident. You can:

-Designate a sober driver before you leave your house.

-Call a cab.

-Take public transit.

-Call a family member or a friend to come get you.

-Stay at a family member or a friend's home.

Drivers are asked to be careful out there during the weekends and during the evening hours. These are the times when you're most likely to be involved in one of these accidents. As a matter of fact, the rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2010 was four times higher at night than during the day.

If you think you've spotted a drunk driver, California State Police urge you to report them to the local authorities. Here are some tips on how to do so:

-Call 911 and tell them that you would like to report a drunk driver. You're not obligated to give your name.

-Give them the exact location of the vehicle, including the name of the road or cross street and the direction the vehicle's driving.

-Give the dispatcher a complete description of the vehicle, including make, model, color, plate number if possible and a description of the driver if you can.

-Never follow or try to stop the suspected drunk driver. Leave that to the professionals.

Continue reading "Drunk Driving Accidents in Modesto a Leading Summer Threat" »

June 15, 2012

Teen Car Accidents in Modesto Likely, According to Recent Statistics

As we recently reported on our Modesto Injury Lawyer Blog, the state of California might not be tough enough on our teen drivers. Our state's Graduated Driver's Licensing (GDL) program could toughen up its restrictions to help to reduce the risks of accidents for our young drivers.
According to the newly-released stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents in Modesto and elsewhere continue to be the number one cause of death for teens across the country. In 2010, there were more than 1,960 teen drivers who were killed in car accidents in Modesto and elsewhere. There were another 185,000 young drivers who were injured in these kinds to accidents during this time.

California led the country when it first passed its GDL law back in 1997. We put this program into place in an effort to reduce the number of teen car crashes and to help to reduce the number of teens who are injured and killed each year. Under this program, teens between the ages of 15½ and 17½ must:

-Take and finish a driver education class.

-Hold a provisional learner's permit for six months.

-Complete at least six hours of professional driver training.

-Finish at least 50 practice hours with an adult over the age of 24.

In the state of California, there were more than 110 teen drivers who were killed in auto accidents in 2010. Our state ranked third deadliest, behind Texas and Florida. In these accidents, there were an additional 100 passengers who were killed, another 89 occupants of other vehicles killed in these accidents and 65 more nonoccupants killed. When you tally all of these numbers up, the state of California ranked in 2nd place for having the highest number of young people killed in accidents involving teen drivers.

Our young drivers are out on summer break and they're hitting our roadways hard during this time. This is also when they see significant increases in their risks for accidents. Parents are asked to discuss the dangers associated with irresponsible driving habits. It's important that you talk about the risks that are associated with drinking and driving. Our teenage drivers may not be old enough to buy or to legally consume alcohol, but many of them are going to anyway. According to the NHTSA, more than 20 percent of the young drivers who got into fatal car accidents in 2010 were drinking. About 40 percent of these young ones who were killed in alcohol-related car accidents were 19-year-olds.

Be sure to sit down with the young driver in your life and talk to them about the importance of safe driving habits. Your talk could help to save their life. Do it today!

Continue reading "Teen Car Accidents in Modesto Likely, According to Recent Statistics" »

June 10, 2012

California GDL Rules & Teen Car Accidents in Modesto

There are five components that states can enact to their Graduated Driver's Licensing (GDL) program to help to reduce the risks of teen car accident in Modesto and elsewhere.

With all five components, we could save about 500 teen lives and prevent about 10,000 car accidents in Modesto and elsewhere every year. What are these components? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):

-Nighttime driving restrictions

-Better driving hour requirements

-Passenger restrictions

-Minimum driver's licensing age and a minimum permit age, according to the
Our Modesto car accident attorneys understand that our state may not have the strictest Graduated Driver's Licensing (GDL) laws in the land. Research shows that states with the toughest laws typically see the lowest rates of accidents among drivers aged 15- to 17-years-old. Where our GDL program lacks, parents are asked to step up, to enact their own household driving rules and to enforce them among their teen drivers to help keep them safe on our roadways. With parent involvement, we can help to further reduce the risks of accidents among our newly-licensed drivers.

"Even the best states can do better," says Anne McCartt of the IISH.

California's GDL Laws:

-Teens must be at least 15-years-old to apply for a learner's permit.

-Drivers must hold a learner's permit for at least 6 months before applying for a restricted driver's license.

-During the restricted licensing stage, drivers must complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving time, 10 of which must be completed at night.

-At 16-years-old and after having a restricted license for at least 6 months, a driver may apply for an intermediate license.

-During an intermediate license stage, a driver cannot drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

-During the first 12 months of the intermediate license stage, drivers can have no passengers under the age of 20, except for immediate family.

-All restrictions are lifted when a driver turns 17-years-old.

To help to improve teen driver safety, officials with the IIHS suggest that the state of California raise its minimum age to get a learner's permit to 16-years-old. Older drivers equates to safer roadways. Officials also suggest that the state add more supervised driving time to its requirements. Lastly, officials with the IIHS suggest that our young drivers follow restrictions until they're at least 18-years-old. Lifting the restrictions at 17-years-old is doing nothing to keep teens safe on our roadways. Many believe that lifting these restrictions too early works to put these drivers at serious risks for accidents.

Where our state's GDL program lacks, parents are asked to step in. Make sure that your teen is provided with plenty of supervised driving and that they have strict household rules pertaining to driving. Make sure they have a curfew and understand what's expected of them behind the wheel.

Continue reading "California GDL Rules & Teen Car Accidents in Modesto " »

May 30, 2012

Motorcycle Accidents in Modesto a Summer Threat

You may have heard it in the news. The number of roadway fatalities is at a low not seen since 1949. What officials aren't crowing about is that the number of fatal motorcycle accidents in Modesto and elsewhere continue to be near record highs.

Over the last two years, we haven't seen these numbers budge despite all of the safety and awareness campaigns. Even with the near 2 percent decrease in the number of overall motor vehicle fatalities across the nation in the last year, we still saw about 4,500 motorcyclist fatalities in 2011 and about the same in 2010. Motorcycle fatalities continue to be one category of highway safety where there is pretty much no progress being made.
"It is disappointing that we are not making progress in motorcycle safety," said Troy Costales, GHSA Chairman, "particularly as fatalities involving other motorists continue to decline."

Our Modesto accident lawyers understand that there are a number of reasons why officials believe these numbers are staying the same. Some believe that it's because of the improving economy. They're saying that residents have more disposable income and many are using it on these two-wheeled vehicles, according to MSNBC.

Others are saying it's because of the steep gas prices, saying that residents are looking for a cheaper way to get around town. Whatever the reasons may be, it's known that motorists aren't doing much to help to reverse the trend. Drivers of all kinds need to be aware of one another on our roadways to help to keep everyone safe and sound.

Although California state law says that anyone and everyone on a motorcycle is required to wear a helmet that meets all safety requirements, many experts blame the relaxed motorcycle laws throughout the country for this continued trend in motorcyclist fatalities.

Although the end of May closes out Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, awareness needs to continue to be a top priority in California year round. Our state provides us with motorcycle-riding weather all year long and for that reason we see some serious risks for accidents. With the summer season here, we can expect to see a ton of these vulnerable riders on our roadways. Visitors will be flocking to the state to enjoy the California sunshine and residents will be hitting the road in route to their summer destination. Be on your best behavior behind the wheel to keep our motorcyclists safe!

During the first nine months of 2011, motorcycle accident statistics for the state of California were not available. It's more than likely that our state saw some of the highest numbers of these fatal accidents as we do year after year. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration consistently reports that California leads the nation in the number of fatal motorcycle accidents.

Continue reading "Motorcycle Accidents in Modesto a Summer Threat" »