Baby on Board – And On The Street

Years ago, when the “Baby on Board” signs started appearing in car windows, I wondered what in the world such a sign was good for. Although I still have the same unanswered question, I do think often about the smallest passengers in motor vehicles – our children.

Now is the time of year when more and more cars and trucks will be on the roads and highways – spring is here and families get out and about. And, more and more children are out and about riding bikes and playing in their yards with other children.

Days are longer and children are outside later. I remember the joys of going outside to play after dinner and playing until well after dark. I didn’t even think about the fact that I could be almost invisible to a passing car.

Unfortunately, now is the time of year when more and more children will be severely injured or, worse, killed in motor vehicle accidents. Young children simply do not think of the dangers around them, and many drivers do not think about the dangers of running, biking and playing children around them.

Injuries to children from car accidents can be very severe. Parents, watch your children closely. Driver, use extra caution. Children’s actions are unpredictable. Don’t relax just because children are playing in a ‘safe’ neighbourhood. No child is safe near the street when there are cars nearby.

Drivers have an increased responsibility to be careful with children, and children have the right to be free from careless drivers and to be compensated if a careless driver injures them. If your child has been injured in a car accident, the lawyers can help you.

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School Bus Accidents

There are millions of students who get on big yellow school buses every day across the country to get to and from school. These children range in age from four to 18 years old. They are assigned seats and told to sit down – some do, some don’t – and, for the most part, they are belted into their seats. Older buses, that are still used in many areas, have plenty of metal surfaces that can hurt children in a crash.

Although school buses are among the larger vehicles on the road, the fact is that children are not restrained and, even in minor collisions, they can be tossed around inside the large, yellow metal box we call a school bus.

School bus accidents can cause many types of injuries to children, including:

• Head trauma, including brain injury or concussion
• Broken bones
• Spinal injuries
• Permanent scarring
• Emotional distress, including fear and anxiety
• Death

School bus accidents have many causes. Sometimes, it’s an inexperienced young person driving the family’s SUV as recently happened who ran into a school bus taking young children to a summer program. Sometimes, it the school bus driver; sometimes, it’s the dangerous system used by the school to load and unload students.

Here are some possible causes of school bus accidents:

• A tired or sleepy school bus driver who has driven too many hours without rest
• A school bus driver is aggressive and careless when driving
• A school bus driver who did not get proper training
• A bus that has too many children riding on it
• School bus driver driving under the influence
• A school bus driver using a cell phone
• A school bus driver texting while driving
• A school bus driver not adjusting for poor weather conditions
• Poorly maintained school bus parts
• Broken safety systems on the bus

School buses carry our most precious cargo – our children. You cannot be everywhere with your children, but you can take a few basic steps to help look out for their safety.

• Be sure your child’s bus stop is safe. Is it far enough away from traffic?

• Be sure your child has a safe way to walk to the school bus stop. If not, contact the school and get it changed.

• Teach your child about proper behaviour on a school bus. Children who are jumping around are at greater risk for injury when an accident happens.

• Get to know your child’s bus driver and make sure he knows your child and, especially, where your child is supposed to be picked up and dropped off.

• Pay attention to how the bus driver behaves. Contact the school immediately if you notice any inappropriate behaviour.

• Get to know the parents of other students on the bus. Make sure you all have plenty of information about what’s happening on the bus.

Riding a school bus can be an enjoyable, important part of a child’s school experience. However, if your child is injured in a school bus accident, you may want to speak to a lawyer about who was responsible for the accident and your child’s injuries. Our lawyers have helped many families of injured children.

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Driving While Distracted Kills

Now, there have been hearing in Congress, and the President issued a Presidential Order banned texting while driving for Federal employees who are on Federal business, whether driving government-owned vehicles or their own vehicle.

Although young drivers used to be the ones who sent , more and older adults have begun this dangerous habit.  What in the world makes people think they can drive down a highway doing 55 – 65 mph and look down at a handheld device and send a text message at the same time?

For teens, texting while driving is especially dangerous because they are already driving under the disability of being among the most inexperienced drivers on the highway.  For parents and their teen drivers to discuss and sign.  It won’t cure the problem all by itself, but it gives parents an opportunity to have frank talks with their teen drivers about what is expected of them and the consequences of their actions.

If you or someone in your family has been seriously injured by a driver who driverwas texting while driving, we can answer your questions.

Read more related articles here.

Bicycle Accidents, Child Safety

Memorial Day is the traditional beginning of summertime activities.  Summer is the time when children are out on their bikes in big numbers — on their way to friends’ houses, the neighbourhood pool, running errands for parents.  Unfortunately, they are forced to ride among greater numbers of cars and trucks.  Roadways are crowded and drivers are inattentive. About driver inattention yesterday and the dangers it poses to children on bikes.

The website provides information on the laws affecting walkers, bikers and motor vehicle drivers.

Also, there is no statewide bicycle helmet law although localities can pass their own ordinances.

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Cars + Children = Danger

Now is the time of year when more and more cars and trucks will be on the roads and highways – spring is here and families get out and about.  And, more and more children are out and about riding bikes and playing in their yards with other children — children and cars don’t mix.

We have all heard of — or even experienced — tragic stories of children who are happy and carefree playing outside one second and severely injured the next by a careless driver.   If your child was injured by a careless driver, contact us for a lawyer help.

Safety Advocates Anti-Lock Brakes For All Motorcycles

California personal injury attorney advising that, at long last, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed an amendment to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that would require motorcycle manufacturers to install anti-lock braking systems on motorcycles.  The changes to the FMVSS would create minimum performance standards that have been successfully tested elsewhere and would also prohibit motorcycles with unsafe brakes from being sold in the United  States.

Anti-lock braking systems have been installed in motor vehicles for many years and have been proven to save lives and prevent accidents.  More and more people are using motorcycles as a primary means of transportation, and as the number of motorcyclists has increased, so have the number of motorcycle accident fatalities.  Although there is no way to make motorcycles as safe as four-wheel vehicles, motorcyclists deserve the safety features that can save lives. Read more related articles here.

Wear Clean Underwear

Perhaps your mother told you to wear clean underwear when you went out because, horror of horrors, what if you were involved in an accident and your underwear was dirty!  I’m quite sure my mother never gave me this exact warning — I think I made it up on my own — but, a wealth-protection lawyer — has used that attention-grabbing statement as the title her new book.

It’s for all parents who want to protect their children and is a must-read for parents everywhere who care about their children and what happens to their ‘stuff’ in the event the parents are in an accident.

We take great care buying the right car seat and planning for our children’s future education.  This book will move you t17o action to take the important steps to protect their future in case you are not here.  Once you read Wear Clean Underwear, you will be moved to take action.

Move Over, Slow Down — New Law

I heard this story from a friend.  If you drive you are faced with situations like this.

I wanted to give you a heads up about a relatively new law because of a traffic citation I received Sunday morning. As I was travelling in the right lane on the Toll Rd to the airport, I came upon a stopped state trooper on the right shoulder who had stopped a vehicle.  He was pulled all the way over on the shoulder. I was driving the speed limit and remained in my lane and even slowed down.  There was a speeding car that passed in the left lane, thus I stayed in my lane. The next thing I know, the trooper is behind us with his lights flashing and I thought he was going to go after the speeding car, but instead, he pulled me over.
The first thing the officer said was that I was not speeding, but the reason he pulled me over was that I was supposed to move over to the left lane prior to passing a stopped emergency vehicle. I told him I wasn’t aware of the law and he said he had just gotten hit the previous day by someone who hadn’t moved over. I thought he would give me a warning since I wasn’t aware of the law and was driving responsibly and haven’t gotten a ticket in over 10 years, but he gave me a summons where I have to appear in court. This is a class 1 misdemeanour violation which can result from up to $2500 in fines and up to 1 year in jail.

If you are driving on a four-lane highway with at least two lanes in your direction of travel, the law does, indeed, require a driver in the right lane to yield the right-of-way by moving over into the left lane if the lane change can be made safely given the traffic conditions.  If it is not safe to change lanes, then the driver is required to proceed with caution.

If you or someone you know gets pulled over and charged with a violation of this relatively new law, give us a call.  Although we don’t represent people charged with traffic violations, we know many good, experienced lawyers who do and are happy to refer clients to those other lawyers.

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Buying A Child’s Car Seat

I just posted a new article on our website.  I have several young friends who have embarked on a series of new adventures.  The first adventure is that they are about to be new parents.  They have had to outfit the nursery and read books and try to get plenty of sleep now because there are big changes coming.  But the adventure I wrote about is the one they will face when they go to buy a car seat for their new baby.  All parents want their children to be safe when travelling in the car but, especially for new parents, the task of choosing the right child restraint device can be overwhelming because there are so many options to choose from – and choosing the wrong one can be deadly.

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Read more accidents and law-related articles here.