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Tougher Penalties Could Help Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Texting while driving is an epidemic in the United States, but Americans also admitted in a recent study that they want to see tougher penalties for motorists using texting devices while driving.

According to the poll conducted by the National Safety Council, approximately 70% of Americans wanted stricter enforcement of laws that ban texting while driving. They also wanted to see tougher penalties for violators of these laws. Compared to this, the percentage of persons who found the current laws and enforcement satisfactory was just 22%.

Many Americans also wanted to see penalties that included a point system, leading to driver’s license revocation, or higher car insurance premiums. Approximately 52% of the respondents wanted to see penalties like these. Approximately 50% of the respondents said that they wanted heftier fines for cell phone law violators, and 50% believed in the need for more stringent penalties for repeat offenders.

Approximately 21% of all car accidents are directly linked to the use of a cell phone while driving. This includes the use of handheld cell phones and hands-free sets. A California law bans the use of cell phones while for texting while driving and the use of handheld cell phones for having conversations while driving.

Other research also supports more stringent penalties for texting while driving offenses. One study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that the risk of being involved in an accident increases by 23 times when a motorist is engaged in texting while driving, compared to when he's performing other activities at the wheel. Previous studies also suggest that although Americans are very aware of the risks of texting while driving and the increased chances of being involved in a distracted driving accident, many of them continue to use cell phones at the wheel.

Studies Find Side Curtain Airbags Can Prevent Injuries in Rollover Accidents

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Side curtain airbag systems are very beneficial in helping reduce the risk of injuries to passengers in side-impact accidents. New studies, however, find that these systems also do a very good job of protecting occupants from injuries in the most devastating types of accidents – vehicle rollovers.

According to studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, side airbags can reduce the risk of front seat fatalities in rollover accidents by as much as 41%. According to estimates by the federal agency, as many as 30% of all 2014 model year automobiles now come with side curtain airbag systems. These systems are expected to become standard features on more automobiles very soon. There are different types of side airbags available. However, approximately 83% of 2014 model automobiles come with curtain plus torso airbags.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, curtain plus torso airbag systems reduce the risk of front seat occupant death by as much as 31%, while combination head/torso airbags reduce the risk of fatality by as much as 25%. Curtain airbags on their own reduce risks by 16%, while torso airbags reduce the risk by 8%.

Side impact accidents, like broadsiding accidents, have a very high risk of injury because occupants sitting at the sides typically have very little protection from serious injuries. In a frontal impact or head-on accident, a combination of airbags and seatbelts can help reduce injury risks. However, an occupant may be at a high risk of serious injuries or fatalities in side impact accidents even when he's wearing a seatbelt.

Auto technologies like side airbag systems have played a major role in helping reduce the number of people killed in accidents in recent years.

Summer Driving Risks for Teenage Drivers

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Drivers below the age of 19 are at a much higher risk of being involved in accidents over the summer. In fact, the 100 -day period between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays account for some of the most dangerous days of the year for teenage drivers. A teenage driver’s risk of being killed in an accident during these 100 days is higher than it is during the other days of the year.

Summer is when parents need to get much more serious about setting limitations on their children's driving. As a responsible parent, you no doubt have conversations about your children driving safely. It's time to have those conversations in time for summer. If you haven't already done so, it is also time to sign a parent-teen driving agreement with your child. This agreement should include all safe driving rules. Also include penalties that will apply, if those rules are violated. A parent-teen driving agreement helps your child understand that driving is a privilege, not a right. It involves responsibilities that must be taken seriously.

Reduce the amount of time that your child spends driving with friends. It isn't easy to do this, but as a parent, you have to set down strict limitations. Nonessential driving is one reason why teen accident fatalities spike during the summer months. Driving around aimlessly with teenage passengers increases dangerous driving behaviors, and teenagers are also much more likely to be distracted by their friends’ conversations. That's one of the reasons why California's novice driver laws set the limitations on teen passengers.

The long hot days of summer don't have to be this dangerous for teenage drivers. As a parent, you can do much to protect your child.

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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.