Preventative Safety Tips for Unsafe Driving Conditions

Although the most common advice for accident avoidance during times of unsafe driving conditions is usually a simple, “Don’t drive when conditions are unsafe!”, this isn’t particularly feasible for those of us with non-negotiable obligations and responsibilities that encompass the upkeep and smooth operation of our everyday lives, and subsequently the daily travels we must take in order to make them happen. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, More than 2 million auto accidents occur in the United States every year. Of these millions of accidents, hundreds of thousands of people are injured, and thousands of these injuries are severe. Of the mere 43% of accidents due to weather that get reported, statistics show us a staggering stack up of 1.5 million car accidents total per year due to this cause. This leaves us with 673,000 injuries and 7,400 deaths. Aside from adopting extra patience and a highly acute awareness of everything around you as your drive in less than ideal conditions, here are some extra precautions that you can take to safeguard yourself and your vehicle from winding up in an accident:

  • In snow: Always keep a 9 second following distance, at minimum. If this seems excessive, it isn’t- driving in snow means loss of traction on the road, and anything less than 9 seconds creates a dangerous potential for not having enough time to react if you (or the cars around you) lose control. Also, when making a turn, always start braking before you are turning, not during. You want to ideally slow down as much as possible before entering a turn.
  • On ice: If you live in a place that reaches below freezing conditions, you need a temperature gauge in your car, as this will allow you to be aware if it is icing outside. The most dangerous form of ice on the roads is “black ice” or glare ice, which takes on the same color as the surface it lies on due to its transparency. The renders you without any immediately noticeable visual warning that roads are slick and unfit to drive on, aside from looking wet. It’s basically invisible. So, if you do find yourself driving on black ice, you must remain calm and make no sudden movements. Do not hit the accelerator hard, and do NOT hit the breaks. The best thing you can do is slowly remove your foot off of the accelerator. When possible, you should seek a place to pull over and wait safely, like a parking lot, until conditions are more manageable
  • In fog: Foggy conditions are the leading cause of multi-car pileups. It forms an optical illusion that makes to appear that you’re driving much slower than you really are, leading people to unknowingly speed up- this is the worst thing you could do while driving in fog! Stay aware of your speed, and turn on your brights- making yourself visible is crucial in avoiding a collision.
  • In rain/sleet/wet conditions: The first simple thing you can do if you know you’ll be driving in heavy rain is to leave for your destination earlier than usual, as you will need to decrease your speed in order to maintain safety. Your car will take longer to stop when the roads render less friction due to wetness. You’ll want to make a point to start braking earlier than usual, lightly tapping the brakes, NEVER slamming them. Also, never use cruise control in this situation, which makes your car accelerate in order to keep your constant speed, which is the exact opposite of what you should be doing!

Dog Bites

In a vote of 118-0, the Florida House of Representatives on Wednesday, January 27 unanimously passed a bill introduced by Sarasota Republican Rep. W. Gregory “Greg” Steube that seeks to allow dog owners whose pets have been involved in severe bite cases to make objections to euthanasia decisions carried out by judges.

The proposed piece of legislation was the offshoot of the case of a Manatee County dog named Padi, who allegedly bit off a four-year-old’s ear. The dog’s owner, Paul Gartenberg, a veterinarian, said the animal was provoked into biting the child, a claim that the boy’s babysitter negated.

In December 2015, a circuit judge ruled that the state law regarding dog bites – which is implemented in the Sarasota, DeSoto, and Manatee counties – is unconstitutional.

Over 27,000 advocates of Padi’s freedom have expressed their sentiments on the “Free Padi” page on Facebook as the dog’s life hangs on a thin line, with people protesting at a Manatee County Commission meeting to stop Padi’s euthanasia from happening, and supporters from as far as South Africa, England, and China clamoring for Padi’s freedom.

According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, this piece of news is good for the animals that are our best friends in the world. However, it is still true that some dogs do become feral and bite people for no reason at all. While there are more instances of strays or strange dogs biting people, dogs that one may know or is familiar with can still bite that person, for a whole host of reasons.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every five dog bites that happen to around 4.5 million Americans each year (with half of them happening to children between the ages of five and nine) likely leads to injury that requires medical attention.

To prevent getting attacked by a dog, experts recommend choosing a breed of dog that is characterized by their good-naturedness or sweet temperament. It is also important to remember that to go near a dog that is eating or feeding her puppies, for the animal may misconstrue someone’s nearness as a sign that their food might be taken away from them, or that their young ones might be harmed. Running away or screaming will also not help someone within the vicinity of a dog about to become hostile. The dog will be emboldened to attack with that kind of reaction. Instead, one should just remain calm so as to make it clear to the dog that there is nothing to be agitated about.

Workers’ Compensation – Benefits Injured Workers are Legally Entitled to Receive

All types of working environments present risks of accident-causing injuries to employees; however, risks of accidents, which can cause severe injuries or even death, is always so much higher in construction sites than in any other workplace in the US.

Hazardous substances, sharp and metallic heavy tools, heavy duty vehicles and machineries, great heights, hazards from ladders and scaffolds, electrical wirings and excavations and trenches – these are just some of the causes of dangers construction workers are exposed to everyday. Due to all these, plus the carelessness of some workers or employers and their failure to strictly comply with job safety laws, accidents, which could otherwise have been prevented, often occur. Examples of these “preventable” accidents include:

  • Workers falling from roofs, ladders or scaffolds (this is actually the most common form of accident in construction sites)
  • A worker getting electrocuted due to power lines, construction equipment and construction vehicles that are not insulated
  • Collapsing trenches burying or caving-in on workers
  • A worker getting caught and crushed in-between objects, getting hit by a construction vehicle that is changing directions or backing up, or getting hit by falling tools or cement-filled buckets.

In 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA was founded as an offshoot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (also called OSH Act) of 1970. OSHA’s major task, since its foundation, has been to strictly implement OSH Act’s directives, which is for employers to provide all their workers or employees a safe and healthy working environment.

According to the US Department of Labor, for the past 40 years, OSHA, state authorities, safety and health professionals and advocates, and employers, have caused an impact where workplace safety is the issue. Since 1970, from 38 fatal accidents a day, deaths are down to 12 per day (based on 2013 records), while injuries and illnesses have been reduced from 10 per 100 workers to only 3.

For all the good results brought about by the strict implementation of workplace safety laws there are people whose efforts should be appreciated; however, it should escape the attention of authorities and employers that accidents still take place and a number of workers still get injured or die as a result.

According to the website of Wilson & McQueen, PLLC, workplace injuries make victims unable to work, resulting in lost income and costly medical treatment that can very well put workers and their families in precarious financial situations.

Injured workers, the firm continues, can apply for the benefits (that they are legally entitled to receive) from their own state’s Workers’ Compensation department. While these will cover cost of medical treatment and a part of their monthly income, among others, (a very important financial assistance to injured workers, indeed), it cannot be denied that getting one’s application approved can be very challenging. Many insurers and employers unfortunately seek to prevent injured workers from receiving the benefits they are legally entitled to. One major reason, of course, is because insurers intend to rake in profits, not make huge payments.

Ask Lexington workers’ comp attorneys and they’ll likely tell you that the financial benefits offered by Workers’ Comp is one assistance injured workers should never be denied.

When is there a Need for Will Construction, Interpretation, and Reformation?

Divorce and legal separation do not take away the obligation of spouses to continue providing for the financial needs of their children, as well as for the spouse in need of support or alimony, that is, if the court sees the need for it. This, obligation requires the non-custodial parent, especially, to make timely child support payments to make sure that his or her children’s financial needs are always provided.

According to the website of Marshall & Taylor, PLLC, state laws usually require child support until the child turns 18; however, if there are special or extra needs that the child requires, like if the child were sick of wants to pursue a college education, then the court may order the continued payment of child support.

Parent’s obligation to their children, though, still goes beyond child support payments, so that even if they will have a new family (for divorced couples only since those who simply choose to continue living separately, without divorcing their spouse, cannot remarry and have a new family), they may still include their children, from a former marriage, in their will if they have assets and properties to leave behind (this is what, at least, a just and prudent parent would do). As a general rule, though, children do not have absolute right to claim inheritance if the deceased parent made a valid will. If there was no will made, then children, whether minor or adult, legitimate or illegitimate, or from former or present living spouse, may be entitled to claim a share on the property of the deceased parent (on what is left from the assets and properties after the deceased parent’s debts have all been paid and the surviving spouse has received his or her share).

One legal issue concerning wills or trust is will construction or trust reformation. A will construction is a formal process wherein the real intent of a testator (the person who made the will) is ascertained or determined, while a trust reformation is the process or rewriting a trust document. Both, however, may only happen if they appear vague, that is if their meaning remain genuinely unclear even after the general rules of interpretation have been applied.

Some examples of vagueness in the real intent of a testator in a will or trust include:

  • A testator intends to leave behind for his or her sibling a particular property but fails to specify who exactly among his or her siblings will receive it
  • All the beneficiaries mentioned in the will or trust have died ahead of the testator
  • The trustee or executor chosen by the testator has died and no successor was named
  • No trustee was named by the testator

Wills and trusts are important due to the legal safeguards that these provide in case the testator becomes incapacitated or dies. Besides naming heirs and the properties and assets that will be left behind, a testator can also make instructions on his or her preferred medical care, as well as on how he or she wishes to have his or her property holdings and other belongings distributed. According to the website of Peck Ritchey, wills and trusts need to make use of exact, unambiguous language in order to avoid disputes among beneficiaries.

The High Risk of Sudden, Fatal Heart Attacks in GranuFlo Patients

Two very important functions of our kidneys are balance water, salt and electrolytes in our blood and eliminate waste products from our body by converting these to urine. Thus, when our kidneys fail to function, a medical procedure called kidney dialysis or hemodialysis should be performed in order to maintain the balance of fluids in our body, as well as to help our body continue excreting wastes (such as creatinine and urea) to keep our blood clean.

One very necessary component in dialysis is dialysate, the fluid that is placed in the dialysis machine and which helps in the removal of waste products from the blood and in correcting any imbalances that result from kidney failure.

In 2003, Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), which controls the dialysis market in the US, introduced GranuFlo, a powder acid (dialysate) concentrate which FMC advertised as the safest dialysate ever due to its unique formula of uniformly distributed minerals that would help ensure balance in a patient’s blood.

GranuFlo, it should be understood, contains acetate and bicarbonate, two ingredients that work together in neutralizing extra acids that gather in the blood which the failed kidneys’ could no longer filter out. When these ingredients go into the body during dialysis, the acetate is converted by the liver into bicarbonate, doubling the amount of bicarbonate in the process.

When these two ingredients enter the body during dialysis, the liver converts the acetate into bicarbonate. Now, a surplus of bicarbonate inside the body can cause complications, like myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiopulmonary arrest, low blood pressure, metabolic alkalosis, and, the most serious of which, heart attack.

GranuFlo had been used in thousands of dialysis treatments since it was released by FMC, and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in 2003. In 2010, a study was conducted by Fresenius in its own clinics (in Fresenius dialysis clinics where doctors used GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, FMC’s liquid counterpart of Granuflo, in patients that underwent dialysis) and had as many as 941 patients suffering from cardiac arrest as a result. This result, however, was only communicated by Fresenius through a memo a year later (in 2011) and only to doctors in its own dialysis centers, leaving out the FDA and all other doctors outside its centers in the communication loop. The memo specifically informed doctors in Fresenius dialysis clinics that GranuFlo increased in patients the risk of sudden death from heart attack, stroke and other complications.

The memo, however, according to the website of the GranuFlo lawsuit attorneys at Williams Kherkher, found its way into FDA hands. After conducting its own investigation, the FDA issued a Class I recall (the most serious FDA recall) for both GranuFlo and NaturaLyte in May of 2012. Barely two months after this FDA recall, lawsuits begun to be filed either by injured patients or by the families of those who have already died due to the drug.

Obvioulsy, as early as 2010 (or maybe even earlier), FMC had already known about the possible fatal risks that the drugs can cause in patients, however, it chose to continue to market and sell them without issuing proper warnings to consumers and doctors.

FMC faces legal and moral responsibilities towards patients (and the families of patients), who have been harmed by its drugs.

Drive Sober or Risk Arrest

Driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI) and operating under the influence (OUI) – all refer to drunken driving charges (the difference in terminology depends only on the state where one is arrested and charged).

Drunken driving is the cause of more than a third of all traffic fatalities, which number to about 35,000 every year, the very reason why it is considered as a major driving offense. In 2010, the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics registered 13,365 fatal car accidents, while the number of those arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or both, was 1.4 million.

In all states, driving with a 0.08% (or higher) blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is a crime, and though the severity of punishment imposed on offenders vary from one state to another, there is one certain uniformity in all jurisdictions – the punishments are severe.

A first offense DUI is usually treated as a misdemeanor; it could be raised to a felony charge, however, if the alcohol-impaired driver injures or kills someone, of if his or her BAC level is higher than the 0.08% limit (in some states, a third or fourth DUI offense can automatically lead to a felony charge).

Federal and state authorities are hell-bent on catching violators of the anti-drunk driving law, thus, they are sharp and focused on observing any signs of drunken driving, like swerving, braking erratically, driving too slowly, stopping for no apparent reason and zig-zagging across the road. For this same end, they set up sobriety checkpoints to measure drivers’ level of alcohol impairment.

According to the website of Daniel Jensen, Attorney at Law, a DUI felony entails costly fines and at least one year jail time (maximum of one year imprisonment is allowed in a misdemeanor charge). In some states, a felony leads to other heavy sentences, such as:

  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock – a device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects in the driver a BAC level that is higher than what is considered a safe level (about 0.02%)
  • Administrative License Suspension (ALS) – a law that authorizes law enforcers to confiscate a driver’s license if the driver fails a chemical test. This can last for 90 days – 180 days, during which driving privileges may be limited to/from work
  • Open Container Law – this law, which is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), requires states to prohibit the possession of open alcohol beverage containers, as well as the consumption of an alcoholic beverage, in the passenger area of a motor vehicle on all public roads.

If there is one very important thing that a person charged with a DUI felony should do, it’s get legal help. Felonies are serious charges, thus, no one should take them lightly or be led to the thought the he or she can easily defend him/herself and get an acquittal – this move can be suicidal.

Clicking on www.portalelaw.com, may help you understand how serious a DUI or DWI charge is, based on the sentences imposed on offenders. Knowing and understanding DUI or DWI more may just make a person think twice before sitting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

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