U.S. DOT Proposes Speed Limiting Devices for Commercial Trucks

February 3, 2017 Truck Accidents

In response to a staggering increase in truck accident fatalities over the past five years, officials at the Department of

Blue and white truck in motion blur on the highway at sunset

In response to a staggering increase in truck accident fatalities over the past five years, officials at the Department of Transportation (DOT) have proposed that all big rigs and heavy trucks have speed limiting devices installed. Federal authorities hope that by implementing speed governors on commercial vehicles (weighing more than 26,000 pounds), highway safety will improve substantially.

The speed limiting technology would cap large truck speeds at 60, 65 or 68 mph miles per hour. According to research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), tractor trailers and trucks not using speed limiters were in twice as many high-speed crashes compared to those using them. A separate study found that more than 40 percent of all commercial vehicles crashes in 2014 involved trucks traveling at 60 mph or greater.

The DOT estimates that limiting large trucks to 65 mph would save between 63 to 214 lives annually.  “Even small increases in speed have large effects on the force of impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and the environment,” offered Mark Rosekind of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Speed limiters for heavy commercial vehicles

If the Department’s initiative is passed, the regulations would affect all newly manufactured commercial vehicles, including buses, trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds.

Requiring speed capping devices on large trucks would not only save thousands of lives each year, regulators say it will also provide $1 billion per year in fuel cost savings. The proposed regulation has garnered support from the American Trucking Association (ATA). A spokesperson for the ATA offered that truckers who already use speed limiting devices have found numerous benefits, including increased safety, better fuel efficiency and equipment longevity.

The proposed rule has also drawn criticism for its narrow approach. Steve Owings, founder of RoadSafeAmerica, supports speed-limiting technology in commercial carriers but says that such devices should not be restricted to only new trucks, as it blunts the safety benefits to all motorists. Owings suggests that this life-saving technology should be utilized in all big rigs and heavy vehicles, not just newly manufactured ones.

Truck injuries, crashes on the rise

Statistics from the NHTSA underscore the increasing dangers facing motorists, who share the highways with thousands of heavy commercial vehicles:

  • Collisions involving big rigs and other commercial carriers jumped 44% between 2009 – 2014
  • Truck accident fatalities increased 20% from 2009 to 2015.
  • Injuries arising from commercial vehicle crashes spiked 50% between 2009 – 2014

The average tractor trailer tips the scales at 80,000 pounds, putting smaller, lighter passenger vehicles at a distinct disadvantage in a collision. Given the speed and weight of the vehicles involved, many of these accidents result in catastrophic injury and loss of life.

Injured in a commercial vehicle accident?

DOT’s proposal for speed limiting technology is a positive step for improving road safety. Until these regulations are fully implemented, motorists are still at risk for suffering serious harm in the event of a collision.

In the wake of an accident involving an 18-wheelers or heavy truck, there are many liability issues that need to be examined to ensure that victims are properly compensated for their losses. Los Angeles commercial vehicle accident lawyer Sean Salamati has a thorough understanding of negligence laws, and can help outline your options for legal recourse. You can schedule a free consultation by calling 888-259-4060.

Additional Commercial Vehicle Speed Limiter Resources

  1. FMCSA, U.S. DOT Proposes Speed Limiters For Large Commercial Vehicles https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/us-dot-proposes-speed-limiters-large-commercial-vehicles
  2. com, US DOT Wants Electronic Devices to Stop Trucks From Speeding https://www.trucks.com/2016/08/26/transportation-department-speed-limiter-rule/
  3. RoadSafeAmerica, RULE FOR HEAVY VEHICLE SPEED LIMITERS SHOULD APPLY TO EXISTING LARGE TRUCKS http://roadsafeamerica.org/proposed-rule-for-heavy-vehicle-speed-limiters-should-apply-to-existing-large-trucks/
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DUIs Down, But Alarming Totals Continue

January 18, 2017 Auto Accidents

While new data shows there are fewer drunk drivers on the road today than there were a few short years

 A set of car keys in the foreground and a glass of whiskey behind.

While new data shows there are fewer drunk drivers on the road today than there were a few short years ago, the millions that continue to drive under the influence each year are still alarming. Recent information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests that while we are making strides in the area of driving under the influence, there is still much work to be done to make the roads safer for drivers in Los Angeles and across the country.

Drops in DUI span 12 years

SAMHSA released their latest report on December 27, 2016, using data collected from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The information includes self-reported drug and alcohol use before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and spans 2002-2014. Although the rates of driving under the influence declined (from 15.3 percent in 2002 to 11.1 percent in 2014), there were still around 27.7 million drivers age 16 and over that got behind the wheel after drinking.

Some of the biggest drops in driving under the influence occurred among drivers between the ages of 21 and 25. These adults had a rate that dropped from 29.9 percent in 2002 to 18.9 percent in 2014. The research also found that rates of driving under the influence peaked by the age of 29 and then continued a steady decline all the way up to the senior years. Just 4.1 percent of adults age 65 and older reported driving after drinking in 2014.

“Although it is heartening to see a downward trend in the levels of driving under the influence of alcohol, it still kills thousands of people each year and shatters the lives of friends and loved ones left behind,” Frances Harding, Director of SAMSHA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, was quoted as saying in a press release on the organization’s website. “We must strive to save lives by reducing this public health threat through education, prevention and all other possible measures.”

Male drivers had higher rates of driving under the influence than females across all age brackets. Men were also more likely to drive under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. According to this new report, a total of 10.1 million, or 4.1 percent of the population age 16 and over, drove under the influence of illicit drugs during 2014. Another 2.5 percent got behind the wheel after using a combination of illicit drugs and alcohol during that same year, compounding the problem of impaired driving in this country.

Impact of DUI

While positive progress has been made, the number of drivers operating a motor vehicle is still extremely concerning, considering that 31 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2014 related to alcohol use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that more than 9,900 people were killed in accidents involving impaired driving during that year. Over 1.1 million were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in 2014, which made up only one percent of the total number of people that reported driving while impaired during that year.

Los Angeles car accident attorney Sean F. Salamati has seen firsthand how impaired driving can change lives in a split-second. Our team works with victims of these accidents every day to help them get the financial compensation they are entitled to for injuries, medical bills and lost wages. To get a free assessment of your particular case and answers to all of your legal questions, contact the Salamati Law Firm today.

Additional DUI victim resources

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The Rate of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol has Steadily Declined from 2002-2014, https://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/press-announcements/201612271200
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Drunk Driving, https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving
  3. MADD, Drunk Driving Statistics, http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/drunk-driving-statistics.html
  4. CDC, Impaired Driving: Get the Facts, https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html
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5 Reasons to Always Wear a Motorcycle Helmet

January 4, 2017 Motorcycle Accidents

Hard data shows that the use of motorcycle helmets saves lives – hundreds of them each and every day. Riding

Driver riding motorcycle on the empty asphalt road

Hard data shows that the use of motorcycle helmets saves lives – hundreds of them each and every day. Riding without the benefit of protective gear puts motorcyclists at increased risk for severe head injuries, lasting brain trauma and death. According to recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmet use among riders can prevent up to 37 percent of fatalities, and states with strict helmet laws – including California – report fewer motorcycle accident related deaths.

California Vehicle Codes 27802 and 27803 stipulate that all riders must wear safety helmets when operating or riding passenger on a motorcycle. Failure to do so can result in steep fines, but even more importantly, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of injury. While many seasoned bikers relish the freedom of riding without a protective helmet, here are five compelling reasons why you should never hit the road without wearing one.

5 Reasons to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet

  1. Protection from serious head trauma – It doesn’t take a high speed collision to leave a biker with lasting injuries caused by head trauma. Even the smallest of spills can result in permanent harm when motorcyclists forgo a safety helmet. Bikers who wear helmets are three times more likely to survive a head injury compared to those who do not wear helmets, according to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration.
  2. It’s the law in California – California motorcycle laws state that it is illegal to operate a motorcycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a DOT compliant helmet. Motorcyclists who fail to wear helmets run the risk of being pulled over, ticketed and fined.
  3. Increased weather protection – Helmets with clear visors help to protect eyes from wind, dust, rain and sun glare, thus reducing vision impairments and increasing comfort. Furthermore, research has shown that motorcycle helmet use does not interfere with vision or hearing.
  4. Road debris protection – Road debris and environmental obstacles are of serious concern for all motorcyclists who may be forced to contend with rocks, gravel and other fallen materials from vehicles ahead. Helmets that are equipped with faceguards can protect the face and eyes from flying objects and debris that can cause a crash.
  5. Better visibility – An estimated 30 percent of motorcycle-car crashes occur because the vehicle driver fails to register the motorcyclist. Helmet use, along with reflective clothing, can help increase visibility and prevent accidents.

Legal advocacy in Los Angeles

There is ample evidence demonstrating that helmet use decreases the number of motorcycle accident brain injuries and deaths. Motorcycle riding is exhilarating, but also inherently more hazardous than driving a car. If you were injured in an accident and need skilled legal assistance, call the Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers at the Salamati Law Firm for a free case review.

Attorney Sean F. Salamati is well-versed in California legislation regarding motorcycle rider rights and offers his services on a contingency-fee basis. Arrange your free consult today.

Additional California motorcycle helmet law resources

  1. BikersRights.com, Mandatory Helmet Law http://www.bikersrights.com/states/california/california.html
  2. California DMV, California Motorcycle Handbook https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/af13374c-aa57-4f2b-9ac9-aa3fdc419cc9/dl665.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
  3. CDC, Helmet Use Among Motorcyclists Who Died in Crashes and Economic Cost Savings Associated With State Motorcycle Helmet Laws — United States, 2008–2010 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6123a1.htm
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Importance of Taking Photos after a Truck Accident

December 30, 2016 Truck Accidents

When faced with a serious – often catastrophic – event like a truck accident, things tend to move at lightning

trucks on highwayWhen faced with a serious – often catastrophic – event like a truck accident, things tend to move at lightning speed. From emergency responders giving medical care to law enforcement working to clear the scene and get traffic flowing again, there are a lot of moving parts and most are concerned with something other than a victim’s legal rights.

Especially in the fast-paced Los Angeles and surrounding Southern California area, it is not always possible to take the time to have an expert truck accident attorney in Los Angeles review the scene in person. Photos taken at the time of the accident offer irreplaceable insight into the scene that assist lawyers, expert witnesses, and jurors to determine what happened, why, and what the damages or injuries were. They also can capture information that does not appear in the police report and capture details that witnesses forgot in the heat of the moment or that the victim missed when overwhelmed by the terrifying experience.

The value of taking photos at the scene of an 18-wheeler accident

Photographs orient people and things in time and place. After the scene has been cleared, photos that were taken at the time of the crash will later help determine who and what were in a given place at a given time. One thing to keep in mind, then, is to use a time-stamp function to assist in building a timeline with the images.

Truck accident lawyers see the same types of factual questions come into play in lawsuit after lawsuit and these questions impact legal liability. To help answer these questions, some of the photographs you should try to capture include:

  • People – Anyone present at the scene – including parties and witnesses, police, fire, and other first-responders – should be included. Especially important is any injury, even if it does not seem very serious at the moment.
  • Places – Be sure to capture evidence of where the accident occurred and how the vehicles were positioned. It is easy to over-focus on the smallest details after a serious accident but obtaining bigger picture photos that include objects like street signs and other location identifiers help others, after-the-fact, visualize where the details existed at the time of the crash.
  • Things – Objects on and around the vehicles give clues about the physics involved in the crash and the injuries and damages that resulted. Try to capture images of any objects that were damaged in the collision, including parts vehicles, guardrails, and even skid marks on the road.

When this information is captured by the camera, it can be a major factor in establishing who breached a traffic duty, what mechanism may have failed, how immediately the injuries were apparent, or any number of other elements that may arise in the course of a case.

Los Angeles truck accident attorney

The Salamati Law Firm serves personal injury victims in the Los Angeles area and throughout California. We fight for the rights of victims of trucking accidents and other auto crashes throughout the state. We pride ourselves on diligent representation with integrity and compassion. If you or a loved one have been involved in an 18-wheeler accident, call us for a free consultation.

Additional truck accident resources

  1. California Highway Patrol, SWITRS 2013 Report, https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-services/services-information/switrs-internet-statewide-integrated-traffic-records-system/switrs-2013-report
  2. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, Large trucks, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks
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Los Angeles Man Killed Following Altercation in Bar

December 23, 2016 News

In the early morning hours of December 16, a Los Angeles man was struck and killed by a car following

Paramedics with man on stretcher in ambulance, low angle viewIn the early morning hours of December 16, a Los Angeles man was struck and killed by a car following an altercation in a North Hollywood bar. The victim, whose name was not immediately released by police, evidently had been drinking in the bar and fought with the bouncer shortly before closing.

He and the bouncer, Ernest Reyes, struggled until he fell in the street. At that point, the victim was struck by a car which accelerated and left the scene without stopping.
The car was described in the Los Angeles Times as a “dark-colored vehicle with dark-tinted windows.”

Police arrested Reyes, who is 34, on suspicion of murder. His bail was set at $2 million. The Times noted that the sequence of events was unclear, including whether Reyes shoved the man into the street. Police are currently investigating. They are also exploring whether security cameras can yield a picture of the car and driver who struck the victim.

Multiple legal claims possible

While law enforcement is still investigating and fault cannot yet be assigned, the incident illustrates several points of California law regarding vehicle accidents, pedestrian responsibility, and personal injury.

Negligence laws in California apply to both vehicles and pedestrians. A car that strikes a pedestrian is not always at fault. Hypothetically, if a pedestrian darts into a street directly before a car, a jury could find the pedestrian 100% at fault. If, however, a pedestrian is jay-walking and a car is going too fast to stop, a jury might find that the driver bears the preponderance of blame. Under state law, a jury could find the driver 75% negligent and the pedestrian 25%. Any damages awarded would be split accordingly.

Second, there is the issue of driver behavior. News reports indicate that the victim was killed by a hit-and-run accident. A hit-and-run is an accident in which the driver of a vehicle that has struck someone does not stop. Under California law, drivers who strike someone, whether they are injured, killed, or unharmed, must stop. It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident. If someone was killed in the accident, leaving it is a felony offense.

If the driver is found, the victim’s family in this case could bring civil charges under California hit-and-run law.

Third, the incident raises the issue of personal injury law. Under California personal injury statutes, someone can be responsible for personal injury if they carelessly caused personal injury or death. Careless means that a person knew or should have known a situation was dangerous but did not take proper care to prevent it.

While we do not know the circumstances until the police investigations are complete, a party who pushes another party into the path of an oncoming vehicle could be found to have caused personal injury. However, if the victim stumbled rather than was propelled into the roadway, or did not notice an oncoming vehicle due to inebriation, a jury might find that the victim was partly or even entirely responsible. Because the victim was hit by a car, the driver of the car may also bear a large responsibility.

In this particular case, the accident resulted in death. The families and loved ones of the deceased can bring suits in cases of car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and personal injury.

Have you lost a family member in a hit and run or other traffic incident?

The Salamati Law Firm specializes in vehicle and pedestrian accidents and personal injury cases. If you or your family face any of the situations above, contact our skilled Los Angeles car accident attorneys today for a free, no-obligation consultation. There is no fee unless we win your case. We have years of experience fighting for the rights of people like you.

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California Becomes First State To Allow Lane Splitting For Motorcyclists

December 20, 2016 Motorcycle Accidents

California becomes the first state in the union to define rules for cars and motorcycles to share the road with

motorbike rides on the street

California becomes the first state in the union to define rules for cars and motorcycles to share the road with the passage of a bold new law set to go into effect on January 1, 2017.  Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorneys at the Salamati Firm say the passage of AB 51 can be an incredible asset to a personal injury lawsuit, but does not necessarily guarantee safety for motorcyclists or motorists.

Old California lane splitting rules

Lane splitting is a practice where motorcycles pass other vehicles moving in the same direction, within the same lane. Though it has been used by motorcyclists as a way to lessen congestion and help them maneuver out of harm’s way for decades, there has been no law explicitly allowing or prohibiting it. According to the OC Register, lane splitting sparks contention among some motorists, who say “it is reckless and burdens them to be on guard.”

Prior to August 19th 2016, California lane splitting rules were more like informal guidelines, asking that drivers and cyclists practice “common-sense traffic safety”. The law recommended that riders wear protective gear, abstain from intoxicating substances, avoid blind spots, and “ride responsibly,” within the designated speed limit. Motorists were expected to “stay alert” and use common courtesy on the road, allowing motorcycles to pass.

The publication of guidelines for safe lane splitting on the California Highway Patrol website in 2012 sparked a formal complaint from an individual who said there was no regulatory basis for the recommendations, calling them “underground regulations.” For a time, the CHP removed the guidelines from its website and curtailed their educational outreach campaigns, but they have resurfaced in a formal new bill.

New California lane splitting laws

The new California lane splitting law is still in the process of being drafted, but it will give the California Highway Patrol the authority to create laws on lane splitting. They also agreed to consult the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation, the Office of Traffic Safety, and a motorcyclist safety organization to draft the legislation.

The previously published CHP guidelines stated:

  • Lane splitting by motorcyclists is not illegal in California when done in a safe and prudent manner.
  • Motorists should not take it upon themselves to discourage motorcyclists from lane splitting.
  • Intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist in a way that could cause harm to the rider is illegal.
  • Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcycle is illegal.

They reminded drivers to avoid driving distracted, check mirrors and blind spots, signal before merging or changing lanes, and allowing 3-4 seconds of following distance when trailing a motorcycle rider.

Additional guidelines in the new California lane splitting law are expected to include:

  • The maximum speed motorcyclists are allowed to travel when lane-splitting is 30 mph.
  • The maximum speed motorcyclists can travel when lane-splitting in heavy traffic is 10 mph faster.
  • Lane splitting is safest in the furthest left lane, away from ramps or exits, and not around other lane splitters.

Furthermore, authorities say, it is not safe to lane split when:

  • There is no room to fit due to narrow lanes or wide motor vehicles like trucks, buses and RVs.
  • Dangerous road conditions exist like water, grit, construction, slippery pavement, metal grates, etc.
  • There is a blocked view and no visible way to get out of the space.
  • The road is curved.
  • Cyclists are not fully alert, aware and comfortable with the surroundings.

The more specific recommendations are based upon a 2015 study out of UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center. The OC Register says that an earlier version of AB51 would have prohibited lane-splitting above 50 mph or more than 15 mph faster than traffic, but the CHP struck these details from the bill because they wanted to comprehensively study what will work best. At its heart, the law will clarify to motorists that “lane-splitting is legal”, and serve as a reminder to motorcyclists “not to go too fast.”

California motorcycle accident lawyer

Formally defining lane splitting guidelines is a good step toward improved traffic safety in California. Motorcyclists who lane-split will be viewed as acting in accordance with the law, rather than brazen outlaws. Ideally, motorists will allow a little more time and space for these exchanges to take place. Unfortunately, laws cannot create perfect conditions for every situation and every driver. When accidents occur, the lawyers at the Salamati Firm will find an easier time assigning fault and pointing to areas of negligence with these laws more clearly defined.

Additional CA lane splitting resources:

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Negligent Hiring by Trucking Firms Puts Motorists at Risk

December 16, 2016 Truck Accidents

There are over 3.5 million commercial truck drivers in the United States. They are vital to the American economy –

trucks on highwayThere are over 3.5 million commercial truck drivers in the United States. They are vital to the American economy – but, weighing up to 80,000 pounds, these trucks can be extremely dangerous with the wrong person behind the wheel.

Our truck accident attorneys in Los Angeles have found that many crashes can be traced back to negligent hiring practices by trucking companies.

Past history of violations

All too often, trucking firms – desperate for workers – hire employees with poor driving records. Companies should carefully screen new hires for prior convictions like traveling at unsafe speeds, tail-gaiting, recklessness, or driving under the influence. They should avoid hiring truckers who have had previous suspensions or revocations. While it is not illegal to hire a driver with a past record of motor vehicle violations, companies who knowingly do so can be held liable if the driver continues to break the law behind the wheel.

Does the driver have the proper license credentials?

A person must hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in order to lawfully drive a commercial truck. Drivers must receive specialized training and pass exams administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Prospective employers must investigate the preceding three years or more to see that the new hire’s identification and employment information can be verified and that there were no serious issues leading to accidents.

Drivers require special credentials on top of the CDL when operating trucks with:

  • Double or triple trailers
  • Tanks and explosives
  • Hazardous materials
  • Passengers

Employing drivers without the right credentials is grounds to sue the company.

Has the driver been screened for drugs or alcohol?

The FMCSA mandates that commercial truck drivers be tested for illegal drugs prior to being hired. The FMCSA holds companies liable for routinely performing drug and alcohol testing before shifts. To return to work after failing a drug or alcohol test, drivers must serve a suspension, pass retest, and face random testing at least twice a year. Trucking firms can be held liable if their drivers fail to pass these tests and continue to operate commercial vehicles.

Negligent truck driver hiring practices

Less than two decades ago, the LA Times ran a report that 113 of the 2,600 city of LA truck drivers had failed drug tests or lost the right to drive their personal vehicles within a three-year period. One truck driver was involved in a fatal accident that resulted in a $19 million settlement in favor of the plaintiff. Acting as an employer, the City paid $19.3 million in judgments and settlements related to negligent hiring practices and driver monitoring. It was found that 95 city truck drivers returned to their jobs, despite testing positive for drugs or alcohol. Nearly half of those people failed a second test, but 23 still returned to work without penalty.

California 18 wheeler accident attorney

Litigating commercial truck accidents is one of our areas of expertise here at The Salamati Law Firm. Our Southern California 18 wheeler accident attorneys are committed to serving you and your family following a life-changing truck accident. We have a long track record of multi-million dollar wins for our truck accident victim clients. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. There is no fee unless we win your case.

Additional Resources:

  1. TruckingInfo, Trucking Statistics, http://www.truckinfo.net/trucking/stats.htm
  2. LA Times,City Truck Drivers Still on Road After Drug Test Failures
    http://articles.latimes.com/2000/feb/24/local/me-2169
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Nominees for “10 Worst Toys in 2016” Released

December 9, 2016 News

Toy stores are beefing up inventories with the latest products and gadgets as holiday shopping is in full swing. Once

Toy stores are beefing up inventories with the latest products and gadgets as holiday shopping is in full swing. Once again, the consumer advocacy group World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) has published its nominees for the “10 Worst Toys” of 2016 in the hopes of keeping dangerous toys out of the hands of small children. The organization releases such a list every year in an effort to prevent needless toy-related injuries, which cause more than 250,000 emergency room visits annually.

W.A.T.C.H. is urging both parents and caregivers to take caution when buying toys for their children this holiday season, as many are sold without adequate warnings about choking, suffocation and injury hazards. Dozens of the recalled toys in recent years were found to have design or manufacturing defects, or were put on the marketplace without sufficient testing.

Safety advocates say that between 2010 and 2014, an estimated 61 American children died because of toy-related injuries. Their 2016 “10 Worst Toys” nominees spotlight some of the many hazards posed to children.

10 Most Hazardous Toys for 2016

According to the W.A.T.C.H. report, the following ten products have inadequate warnings and may be extremely dangerous for children.

  1. Banzai Bump and Bounce Body Bumpers – Manufactured by ToyQuest, these inflatable suits worn by children allow kids to bounce off one another. However, there is no protective equipment included and this toy has a potential for impact injuries
  2. Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow – Sold on Amazon, this plush stuffed animal comes with no warnings about the suffocation risks for infants.
  3. Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family – These cute figurines are marketed for children ages 2 and 3 or older, but without warnings about small plastic parts that pose choking hazards for this age group
  4. Slimeball Slinger – Much like a slingshot, the Slimeball Slinger lets kids launch projectiles more than 30 feet, but the toy has the potential to cause severe eye injuries
  5. Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster – Nerf ammunition may be soft, but it can still result in serious eye injuries. The package includes photos of children wearing safety masks, though no protective gear is included.
  6. Flying Heroes Superman Launcher – A winged superhero figurine sold at major retail outlets, this product has the potential for face and eye injuries when used by small children
  7. Peppy Pups – This playpen toy, sold at ToysR US, is sold with a 31-inch long cord, posing strangulation risks to children aged 3 and younger.
  8. The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch – Marketed to children 3 or older, this T-Rex toy has a sharp plastic tail that can cause significant puncture wound injuries.
  9. Warcraft Doomhammer – Blunt impact injuries are a potential danger when children play with this heavy weight plastic hammer
  10. Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby – Two-year olds are encouraged to spoon feed this interactive baby doll, but the spoon is small enough that it could block a child’s airway if used improperly

Los Angeles toy defect lawyers

The W.A.T.C.H. report, though helpful, is far from an exhaustive list of all toys that pose dangers for choking, strangulation, puncture wounds or impact injuries. If your child is hurt by a toy that is unsafe for its intended purpose, came without adequate warnings, or was defective in some manner, you may have grounds for legal action.

To learn more about filing a product liability lawsuit in Los Angeles, we encourage you to call The Salamati Law Firm for a free, no-obligation case review. Our veteran LA personal injury attorneys stand prepared to fight for maximum compensation. Call our offices today at 888-259-4060.

Resources

  1. ToySafety.org, 2016 “10 Worst Toy” List http://toysafety.org/toy-safety/2016-10-worst-toy-list/
  2. ToySafety.org, 2016, Nominee List http://toysafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/WATCH-2016-Press-Release-With-Nominees.pdf
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Traffic Deaths on Rise in 2016, New Report Finds

November 8, 2016 News

Traffic deaths saw a sharp uptick during the first half of 2016, according to data collected by federal traffic authorities.

The car which moved down in a ditch as a result of accident. The turned car.

Traffic deaths saw a sharp uptick during the first half of 2016, according to data collected by federal traffic authorities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has discovered a 10-percent increase in traffic deaths between 2015 and 2016, marking the largest jump in traffic fatalities in the past 50 years. The increase in fatalities has been seen among pedestrians and bicyclists as well as motorists, according to the latest numbers.

The new data, which was released in the October issue of Traffic Safety Facts, estimated that nearly 18,000 people, or 1.12 for every million people in the U.S., died in motor vehicle accidents from January to June this year. That compares to the same time frame in 2015, when almost 16,000 people, or 1.05 for every million people, lost their lives. The years both show increases in deaths over previous years, including the first six months of 2011 when an estimated 15,000 people died.

The researchers noted that the last seven calendar quarters have seen increases in traffic fatalities when compared with the corresponding quarter for the previous year. There appears to be a number of factors that might be contributing to this alarming trend, although researchers warn that those factors may become more apparent when final numbers are available in late fall of 2017. In the meantime, highway officials are examining some early clues into what might be driving this unfortunate trend.

Factors at play

The National Safety Commission has noted that the improving economy, which has led to higher employment rates and cheaper gasoline, may be one of the factors contributing to the higher mortality rates on the nation’s roadways. When the economy is slow, fewer people tend to be out and about going to work and other obligations. When the economy picks up, so do the miles logged on the nation’s highways.

The Federal Highway Administration has linked the increase in fatalities to an increase in miles traveled. During the first six months of 2016, the number of vehicles traveling on U.S. roadways increased by 50.5 billion miles, which is a 3.3 percent increase in miles traveled since the previous year.

Other factors that routinely contribute to increases in traffic fatalities include driving under the influence, distracted driving and speeding. At this time, it is too early to know exactly how much of a role these common factors may have played in the latest numbers.  However, that information should be available later next year, which will help officials determine whether further steps might need to be taken to reduce these risks.

Bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities

Researchers also noted that a rise in fatalities among pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists could have contributed to the increase in traffic-related fatalities – at least during 2015. During this year alone, there was a 12.2 percent increase in bicycle accident fatalities and a 9.5 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities. Walking and biking to work have become increasingly popular modes of transportation as one million more people have been walking to work since 2005.

While people may opt to walk or bike to work for health reasons, the danger of such activity also needs to be noted. Many cities do not have designated lanes for walkers or bikers, which can bring them much closer to the street action than what is considered safe. These additional lanes can be expensive for cities, which is why many do not offer them. However, studies have shown that designated lanes can lower the incidence of pedestrian death and serious injury.

If you have been injured in an motor vehicle accident in Los Angeles, The Salamati Law Firm is here to help. Our Southern California car accident lawyers help navigate the complex legal system to ensure your rights are protected and just compensation is obtained. Schedule a free case evaluation by calling 888-259-4060.

Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half (Jan-June) of 2016, https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812332

KQED, With Rising Number of Highway Deaths, California Bucks National Trend, https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2015/11/24/with-rising-number-of-highway-deaths-california-bucks-national-trend/

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Lawsuits Filed After Deadly Tour Bus Crash

November 1, 2016 News

Lawsuits have been filed by the families of two of the victims who died in a tour bus crash outside of

Lawsuits have been filed by the families of two of the victims who died in a tour bus crash outside of Palm Springs, California on October 23. The lawsuits were filed against the bus company and its owner and driver the night of the accident. The driver was also killed in the crash, so the lawsuits are seeking damages from the deceased driver’s estate.

Family members of Gustavo Garcia, 63, and Tony Mia, 50, said the driver of the bus, 59-year-old Teodulo Elias Vides, was negligent and reckless, making him legally responsible for the accident. Specifically, the lawsuits cite failure to travel at a safe speed, failure to reduce speed at a construction zone and failure to keep a proper lookout and apply the brakes when necessary. The lawyers of the plaintiffs also list Vides’ failure to properly maintain the bus and operating a bus that was not equipped with seatbelts or other restraint systems.

Crash occurred in early morning hours

The bus was traveling back to the Los Angeles area from the Red Earth Casino at Salton City at around 5:15 a.m. when it slammed into the back of a tractor trailer on Interstate 10. Traffic in the area had slowed significantly at the time of the accident, due to roadwork. The big rig was traveling at about five miles per hour when the bus crashed into its back end. Investigators have told local media the bus must have been traveling much faster than the truck at the time of impact, due to the considerable damage the front of the bus suffered.

In addition, investigators noted there were no skid marks to indicate the brakes were ever applied on the bus prior to the collision. The only skid marks in the road after the accident were those of the truck as it was pushed forward from the accident. The investigation has also revealed that four of the eight tires on the bus were worn to the point the vehicle should have been put out of commission.

Investigation by NTSB ongoing

The investigation is continuing as the National Transportation Safety Board continues to collect clues as to what might have caused the deadly accident. Some of the factors they will consider include the driving records of both drivers involved in the crash, including their accident history and level of training for operating the vehicles they were driving.

Most of the passengers were asleep on the bus when the collision occurred. The 13 that were killed were all sitting close to the front of the bus, where the most significant damage occurred. Another 31 passengers were injured during the accidents, some of them severely.

The wrongful death lawsuits filed this week are the first involving this particular crash. A report from KPCC found that Vides was only carrying $5 million in insurance for his bus, which will not offer much compensation for the families of the 13 killed as well as the other 31 that suffered injuries. The $5 million is the legal limit for buses of this size – a limit that has not changed since the 1980s.

As the investigation into the cause of the crash continues, it remains to be seen whether other accident victims will seek legal reparations. Los Angeles car accident attorney Sean F. Salamati offers legal guidance to those who were injured in motor vehicle accidents. To make an appointment for a free consultation, please call 888-259-4060

Resources:

  1. CNN, Police: “No Appearance of Braking” in Deadly Bus Crash, http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/23/us/california-bus-accident/
  2. SCPR, Bus Crash Victims to get Little Compensation, http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/10/31/65827/bus-crash-victims-likely-to-get-little-compensatio/
  3. Las Vegas Review Journal, Casino Bus Crashes in U.S. Attracting More Safety Scrutiny, http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nation-and-world/casino-bus-crashes-us-attracting-more-safety-scrutiny
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