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The Consequences of Violating Safety Traffic Rules, especially Distracted Driving...

Being charged with a traffic violation offense and slapped with a fine are already heavy penalties; these are not all, though, for there are still the demerit points that give drivers that added painful sting. Demerit points differ with the type and severity of the violation committed. While some violations are given 1 or 2 points demerit, others are given up to 6 points.

In some states, a total of 12 points demerit can result to suspension of driving privileges and higher car insurance premium. Attempting to elude an officer, DUI and reckless driving are violations that usually get the highest demerit points. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA), coincidentally, has also identified drunk-driving and reckless driving as among the major causes of car accidents that result either in severe injuries or death. Other causes of car accidents are overspeeding, failure to wear a seatbelt and distracted driving. But just as it appears that the strict and consistent implementation of traffic laws directed against drunk drivers, reckless drivers and speedsters are finally earning favorable results, another violation is consistently making itself a new threat on the road, causing more and more accidents every year – distracted driving.

Cell phone use while behind the wheel is considered the worst and most dangerous type of distraction for drivers and, on a daily basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1,153 people are injured and 9 are killed due to it. Because of the great risk cell phone use puts innocent motorists and pedestrians into, the state of New York, particularly, deemed it necessary to increase demerit points for violation of texting while driving ban from 3 to 5 (this change became effective on June 1, 2013).

States vary with regard to the prohibition of cell phone use while driving. At least 44 states, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and D.C., ban text messaging for all drivers (but not talking on the phone), while 37 states plus D.C. prohibit any form of cell phone use by teen and new drivers – the ones mostly involved in car crashes resulting to injury or death (based on CDC and NHTSA records).

Driving distraction, however, is never limited to cell phone use, whether using it to text or talk with someone. There are many other forms of distractions that almost all drivers are guilty of, but without even noticing it. Anything that takes one’s eyes off the road, hand off the wheel, and/or mind off driving, like eating, talking with friends, talking on the phone (whether on a handheld or hands-free phone), adjusting a GPS or radio, applying make-up, and so forth, is a form of distraction.

A website with the address,, says that auto accidents occur frequently due to negligent or reckless driving. These accidents can lead to substantial injury, a lengthy recovery period, and piling medical bills that can threaten victims’ health and financial security.

Victims, who are left coping with the consequences of injuries, need the strongest legal assistance that will help them overcome the challenges resulting from their injury. This can only be done by holding the party responsible for their injuries accountable and being compensated for the injury they have been unjustly made to suffer.

Reckless Driving Behaviors

Some of the most common causes of traffic accidents are recklessness on the part of the driver and negligence on the part of the manufacturer of the vehicle and its parts, both of which can have devastating effects on their victims, such as injury and death. Because of these consequences, these kinds of traffic accidents warrant the help of legal professionals who specialize in such cases, such as this Panama City car accident lawyer.

But who wants to get involved in the time and money consuming processes involved in these kinds of cases? The best you can do is to not drive recklessly and prevent such cases from happening. Below are the most common reckless driving behaviors that drivers are guilty of.

Driving drowsy
Driving when you are feeling drowsy or fatigued can be very dangerous. Firstly, it can keep your eyes off the road, potentially leading to collisions with other vehicles, possible obstructions like barriers and traffic signs, or to crashes into walls, guardrails, and even buildings and residences. Secondly, it limits your capability to comprehend traffic signs, estimate curves and turns, and judge the distances of the objects around you.

Driving under the influence
Alcohol and drugs have negative effects on your body, particularly in your coordination skills. Having limited coordination between your eyes, hands, and feet is a recipe for disaster. It reduces your driving skills, not to mention your reacting skills to unexpected circumstances. Some intoxicated drivers are also overconfident, so they do other reckless behaviors.

Driving while distracted
Anything that puts away your attention from the road and the act of driving is a distraction. The most common distractions remove your eyes off the road, your hands from the wheels, and your thought on the act of driving. They can be in the form of mobile phones, food and drinks, and emotional and psychological issues.

It is obvious that speeding is a reckless behavior. Not only does speeding makes you more likely to lose control of your vehicle, it also makes the impact more powerful. It is also important to note that speeding is not just about driving too fast. It is also about driving in speeds unsafe for dangerous roads and weather conditions.

Some Surprising Facts About Truck Accidents

Car accidents don’t always have to happen on the road. Sometimes, they can occur to a parked car at a private garage or to a car just minding its own business at a parking lot until something horrid decided to happen. The thing is—accidents don’t just decide to happen, that’s why they’re called accidents. However, that is not to say that accidents are completely without precedence as a lot of accidents are actually preventable if only people were not carelessly negligent.

Accidents on the road can affect many people—the worst ones can even set whole cities abuzz and aflame, sometimes literally. Hours and hours of gridlock traffic can occur after an accident, especially if it’s a truck accident on an open highway, and this can mean serious damage to businesses that need to function but can’t because people need to get to where they need to be. Those are some littler concerns about truck accidents but one thing that people tend to not notice is that one of the most common causes of devastating accidents is turning wrongly.

They are also more common than one things as, according to the website of the lawyers with Williams Kherkher, there can be up to 500,000 truck accidents that occur in the United States of America every single year.

Truckers are also held accountable to more than just the casual driver’s mandated responsibility. For example, if a trucker were to be found driving over the allowed influence of alcohol, they won’t just be held liable under criminal law but also civil law. A trucker is also only allowed to drive for fourteen consecutive hours per day. A truck is no easily handed over automatic as, in the event of emergencies, truckers are so trained in worst case scenarios such as situations where the breaks might not be working. There are safety protocols that only truckers know and must always be aware of, lest they accidentally injure themselves or someone else.

Leading Factors to Truck Accidents

Many interstate or on the road (OTR) truck drivers are compensated by their operators on the basis of the total amount of miles they are able to include during their hours of work. This means that, to get more pay, drivers should make an effort to rack up as many miles as they could, even to the idea of breaking national rules on hours of service and work even if fatigued, for there’s money only when their truck’s wheels are going.

This “pay-by-the-mile” guideline, initially called “Piecework” pay, is truly a style of eliminating all surplus labor; it ended up being a practice used in a variety of factory-type jobs in the US, like coal-mining, the textile apparel industry and steel mining until the 1929 Great Depression. Astonishingly, the transportation industry chose to hold on to this practice.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the United States government’s vehicle security bureau, is intending to run a study to see whether this payment approach leads truck drivers to come up with dangerous driving habits, break guidelines, and result in deadly crashes.

An 18-wheeler or a big rig, is about 70 feet long and weighs about 80,000 lbs. – that’s around 20-30 times heavier than passenger cars. It also demands top quality and heavy-duty tires, and 20% -40% more road-surface to be able to brake. Using its size and weight, it can readily demolish smaller cars along its path if its breaks fail to work.

Besides the truck’s already endangering size as well as weight, its length also makes it impossible for the driver to find and begin to see the presence of smaller vehicles driving along its “no-zone” or blind-spot regions. These “no-zone” regions make reference to places around a truck where accidents most likely happen because (smaller) vehicles are not visible to the truck driver. These areas include:

  • A truck’s front area, where a smaller automobile, if its driver unexpectedly makes a sudden stop or suddenly slows down, can be rear-ended  or crasehd by a truck
  • A truck’s rear area, where the mistake is made by smaller automobiles who tailgate the truck
  • A truck’s sides (especially the right or passenger side), where smaller vehicles may easily be crushed if a truck changes lane or makes a right turn.

Vehicle injuries regularly result in discomfort and suffering which can be too much for these injured and their loved ones to tolerate. These attorneys are totally conscious that there is nothing that may truly pay for all these discomfort and suffering.

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Cleft Lip

Cleft lip is an orofacial congenital defect that is a result of lip tissue not being able to join completely. This can leave anywhere from a small slit, to a more serious gap that extends into the nose. At about 4,400 cases per year, the presence of a cleft lip is almost twice as likely to occur as is a cleft palate alone.

Depending on the severity of the cleft lip, symptoms and problems can include the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble hearing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Trouble feeding
  • Ear infections
  • Dental development
  • Language development

In order to treat and avoid many of these symptoms, surgery is often recommended early in a child’s life. Additional treatments such as orthodontic and speech therapy are also often needed throughout the child’s life and into adulthood.

Due to the visible characteristics of cleft lips, a diagnosis often happens prior to birth via an ultrasound. Though often blamed on genetics, certain preventable factors also contribute to the development of cleft lips. For example, the CDC reports that smoking, diabetes, and the use of certain medicines during pregnancy can all increase the likelihood of a child developing a congenital birth defect.

Of these preventable factors, the most debated is the usage of certain medicines, specifically during the first trimester. Though many studies are inconclusive or require further testing, one common drug associated with cleft lips is Zofran, also known as Ondansetron. Because causal links have been found between Ondansetron and cleft palates, and because children who develop cleft palates also often develop cleft lips, many suggest that this is enough evidence to suggest that there is also a causal relationship between the drug and cleft lips. More information on these links can be found here. The drug, originally approved only for people suffering from nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy and after certain surgeries, has often been prescribed “off-label” to pregnant women suffering from similar symptoms.

Erb’s Palsy: Another Birth Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice...

Medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors, medical staff and even hospitals has become a growing concern in many US states for the past decade. Despite the standard quality of care that medical health providers are required to provide all patients with, many of them have fallen into the erroneous practice of reducing medical care to a pay-for-service doctor and patient relationship.

Medical malpractice not only worsens a patient’s current health complaints, it can also result to injury or a new illness that the patient will need to worry about. And, despite the thousands of medical mistakes already reported every year, so many more still go unreported.

One of the most dreaded results of medical malpractice is birth injury, any form which to a newly born child can turn a couple’s joy into severe pain, and a joyful occasion into a heartrending one. A number of the most commonly reported injuries include: cerebral palsy, a chronic and incurable brain disorder that impairs a child’s body movement, muscle coordination, sensation, cognition, speech, and other brain functions); subconjunctival hemorrhage or rupture of small blood vessels in the eyes; caput succedaneum or swelling of the head’s soft tissue; brain and spinal damage; and, erb’s palsy.

Erb’s palsy is a birth injury characterized by paralysis of the arm. This paralysis is a result of the severing of a group of the arm’s main nerves (which are part of the brachial plexus) which are found close to the neck. These nerves are actually among those responsible in allowing the arms, hands and fingers to feel and move. There are instances when these nerves are stretched in the event of dystocia, a difficult or abnormal delivery or labor. This happens when a medical staff assisting in the delivery carelessly uses force in pulling the baby from the birth canal. It cannot be denied that there are situations when pulling the baby from the birth canal becomes necessary, such as if the baby is quite big, if labor (prior to delivery) takes longer than it should, or during a breech delivery, that is when the feet are the first to come out; however, this should be done with utmost care to ensure that no harm will befall the child.

According to the website of The Driscoll firm, Erb’s palsy is an injury sustained during childbirth and that the most common reason for this is a mistake by a medical practitioner. The firm also explains, through its website, that the victim of this birth injury may be entitled to receive compensation from the liable party for all the damages resulting from this disorder.

The Best Car-Free Cities

Are you tired of driving in bumper to bumper traffic, paying for gas or insurance, or just want to live a more Eco-friendly lifestyle? Luckily, many major cities keep improving conditions for those who choose to be car free. Here are some of the best cities to live in if you do not own a car.

New York City ranks number one in public transit and walking, and number nine for bikers. It is no secret that no other public transit system in the United States holds a candle to the New York Subway. Also, New Yorkers understand that walkers are allowed to have complete disregard for the walk/don’t walk signs.

San Francisco ranks number two in biking, public transit, and walking, making itself very well-rounded for those who do not have cars. With a land area of only about 47 square miles, getting from on side of San Francisco to another is not a very difficult feat.

Boston ranks third in public transit and walking, and fifth in biking. Nicknamed “The Walking City” and home to the first subway system in the world, Boston is historically well known for being a great city for those who do not favor driving.

Although not having a car has financial perks and helps the environment, it is important to be careful when commuting. According to the website of Pohl Berk, in 2009 there were over 59,000 pedestrian injuries, 4,000 pedestrian deaths, 50,000 bicyclist injuries, and 400 bicyclist deaths. When motorists are careless, it is usually the non-motorists who pay the price.

Do not let this stop you from living the lifestyle you want, especially when car accidents are common as well, but remember that just because you have the right of way does not mean that you are invincible. Paying attention to your surroundings and following the rules given to pedestrian and bikers should keep you out of harm’s way.

Choosing a Competent Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you are brought up against criminal charges, you probably know that your best bet in getting out of the dilemma with as whole a skin as you can manage is to hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you. However, not all criminal defense lawyers are created equal.

Take the case of the criminal defense lawyer in Illinois who not only failed to successfully challenge the prosecution’s case, but actually made it worse for the client, and got suspended for it as well. The case involved an undercover drug (Hydrocodone) buy in which the defendant was charged with the illegal sale of a prescription drug. In the course of discovery, the prosecution provided the defendant’s lawyer with a video capturing the crucial moment of purchase.

For whatever reason, perhaps a misplaced sense of “Eureka!” the defense lawyer posted the video on YouTube and claimed that it showed that the undercover police had planted drugs on the defendant. More careful scrutiny showed that in fact the video documented the drug sale, inexorably implicating the defendant and inevitably leading to a conviction. After a second look, the defense lawyer concurred and advised the client to accept a plea. The defense lawyer was suspended for five months for posting the video.

It would be a mistake to presume that a criminal defense lawyer is competent just because he or she is licensed to practice in the state. It is important to choose a lawyer or a law firm with a proven track record in defending clients and ensuring that the case is prepared carefully and accurately. The defendant in the above case observed that the video created a lot of adverse publicity for her, something that would not have happened if the video had not been posted.

If you are facing criminal charges, make sure that you engage the services of a reputable lawyer in your area. If you have doubts about the lawyer’s competence, do not hesitate to find another one.

Effects of Drunken Driving Charges

It has always been said, advertised and taught even to those still applying for a license, that drinking and driving are a dangerous combination. The many lives that drunken drivers put at risk give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) all the reasons to be aggressive in catching and charging drivers with a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense.

DUI/DWI is a major traffic violation in all US states. Thus, despite the low 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit level, the NHTSA still moves to lower it to 0.05%, as different studies have clearly shown that even this level is enough to impair a person, reducing his/her capability to react on time in the event of emergency road situations.

The penalties for a DUI/DWI conviction can include large fines, time in jail, community service, compulsory attendance in a DUI class and/or suspension or revocation of driver’s license. And, depending on the severity or frequency of the offense, the court has the authority to require the installation of an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) inside the offender’s vehicle. Much like a breath analyzer, the IID is designed to detect the BAC level of the driver; it will not allow the vehicle to start if the BAC level detected exceeds the device’s programmed limit (which is much lower than 0.08%).

Another requirement the court may make is the application for an SR-22 form, which is actually a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form, which will prove that the driver (required of it) carries car liability insurance coverage. An SR-22 lasts for three years; it also requires higher premiums for car liability insurance.

The consequences of a DUI/DWI conviction extend beyond the court room. It can affect one’s employment, dreams of traveling abroad, fight for child custody, renting an apartment, application for a professional license, and many other things. These are some of the major reasons why some of those who have been charged of the offense look for all possible means to save themselves from being convicted, even erasing the record of charge under their name, if possible.

Hiring very competent lawyers, such as a Dallas DWI lawyer, is the first step necessary for that high possibility of getting an acquittal instead of a conviction. Being a serious offense, one should only look these experienced and determined legal professionals, who will always be prepared with a strong and convincing defense. Essentially, with the help of an experienced DUI attorney, your case’s chances of success will be much higher than if you went alone.

EEOC – Protecting Employees against Workplace Retaliation...

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are two of the many federal decrees that protect employees and job applicants in the US from wrongful termination, unjust compensation, and any form of discrimination, harassment, coercion, threats and intimidation in the workplace. Another protection that EEOC provides, which many employees and applicants may not be aware of, is protection against retaliation, which many have experienced and suffered from.

Retaliation involves any form of adverse activity that an employment agency or an employer may resort to that is directed against an employee or a job applicant who takes part in activities that are protected under the law. For better understanding, clarifying the meaning of adverse acts and legally protected activities should be necessary:

adverse acts – these refer to actions that can hinder any individual in the workplace from opposing discriminatory employment practices or from participating in proceedings that can expose employment discrimination. These may be accomplished through refusal to hire, filing of (or threats of filing) criminal or civil charges against anyone who would oppose or expose unjust employment practices, unjust negative evaluation or character referencing, and so forth; while,

legally protected activities – refer to actions that will help prove and expose harassment and/or discriminatory practices. Specifically, these actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Witnessing in a legal proceeding or in an EEOC investigation
  • Manifesting one’s intention to file a discrimination charge or actually filing an employment discrimination case
  • Joining employee protests/pickets aimed at stopping workplace discrimination
  • Refusing to follow any order (from a superior) that is honestly believed as discriminatory

Some retaliatory acts may be out rightly obvious, like a demotion, salary reduction, being laid off or being denied a promotion or salary increase; there are those, however, that are subtle and are, thus, not quite obvious, such as job relocation or sudden change in work schedule, which can be a major factor in limiting an employee’s flexibility or which can greatly affect a parent-employee’s time with his/her children.

Employment discrimination is not easy to prove and while an employee may have enough, valid reasons and proofs that will authenticate his/her claim, the employer will surely have his/her own attorney who would be prepared with counter arguments and ways of deposing the complainant and his/her witnesses.

Seeking the help of exceptionally competent lawyers, like New York City discrimination lawyers, would be useful in exposing workplace discrimination where it exists. As experienced legal experts, they will also be able to effectively represent and fight for the rights of aggrieved employees.