Articles Posted in Safety Tips

Flammable clothing and bedding can cause serious burns and death.   Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 4,000 people per year suffer severe clothing-related burn injuries.  Fatalities from clothing igniting are estimated to total about 150 annually. (See www.cpsc.gov).

In some cases, a lawsuit may be filed against the fabric manufacturer, distributor or retailer where the clothing or fabric was purchased if the clothing causing the injuries is highly flammable or otherwise unsafe.  In such an action the victim must prove:

– the clothing was defective and/or dangerous because it was unusually or highly flammable;

There are very few of us who have not been excited when we pulled up to the pump in the last few weeks and were able to leave with a full tank of gas and money left in our pocket. Gas averaged $3.30/gallon a year ago, went up to $3.70/gallon as a nationwide average over the summer, and now is averaging $2.04 per gallon nationwide, and even lower than that here in Alabama.

So, what could be wrong with lower gas prices? According to one South Dakota sociologist, when gas prices are lower, roadway fatalities see a dramatic increase. Guangqin Chi, a sociologist at South Dakota State University, has studied the relationship between traffic fatalities and gas prices in 144 countries and has found that higher gas prices are associated with fewer fatalities and lower gas prices are associated with a larger number of traffic deaths.

Chi believes that a $2 drop in gasoline prices can result in 9,000 additional highway fatalities per year in the United States. This is because, quite simply, lower gas prices mean people drive more. The more people drive, the more likely they are to have accidents, and the more people have accidents, the more likely there is to be a fatality. In addition, higher gas prices encourage people to drive more efficiently.

Philosophy of Law is a broad area of inquiry that seeks answers to questions such as, what is law, what are the appropriate justifications for the law, what is the relationship between law and morality and many other similar questions. Natural law theory posits that there are laws that are inherent in nature and that emanate from God.  Adherents to natural law theory believe that laws enacted by people should correspond as closely as possible to these principles. In other words, this theory proposes that natural law should overlap with enacted laws.

An opposing philosophy is that of legal realism. An early proponent of legal realism was Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who famously said “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” This maxim brings to my mind something that happened to me in my early years of law practice. I had a hearing in court before presiding Circuit Judge Jack Wallace. I had spent a good bit of time researching the issues to be argued that day and I was surprised and disappointed when Judge Wallace ruled against me. So I did what I usually did on such occasions, I went to talk to my Daddy who by then had decades of experience practicing law. I told Daddy that I thought Judge Wallace was wrong. Daddy smiled and simply said “let me tell you something boy, Judge Wallace may not always be right but he is always the Judge. “ Thus chastened, I researched the issues again and discovered that Judge Wallace probable was right in that close question of law.

Whatever particular philosophy or theory of law one subscribes to, it is unquestionable that, in order to have a civilized society, there must be laws. And the application and interpretation of those laws must be reasonably consistent. And access to the judicial system must not be denied persons because of their status. Of course, it is observable that in the real world sometimes the interpretation of a law can depend upon the place and time of its interpretation. That is just common sense. That is why we have developed the doctrine of stare decisis. Stare decisis means that judges should always seeks to find precedents for their rulings. This is not an absolute doctrine but it is helpful in assuring predictability and understanding of the law.

Everyone dreads the first few mornings after the spring time change because of the loss of an hour of sleep. We all know sleep is important to our overall health. Data from a recent study on daylight savings time shows that even a little change in sleep can have deadly consequences for drivers.

A paper presented at the American Economic Association tracked fatal car crashes from 2002 to 2011 and found vehicle fatalies increased 6 percent over the 6 days following the “spring forward” time change. The data did not show a significant change in crashes after the “fall back” time change.

This and other evidence led researchers to conclude that it was the loss of one hour of sleep and the disurption to sleep patterns caused by losing an hour of sleep that led to the increase in fatal crashes. This added up to more than 300 additional traffic deaths over the ten year period studied.

Have you ever looked away from the road for a moment to read a text, use your navigation system or type a email, only to look up and find yourself staring down the brake lights of the driver in front of you?  If you are like many of us, you have experienced a “close call” because of distracted driving more than once in recent memory.  

While distracted driving has been around since the Model T, our growing reliance on cell phones, ipads and navigational systems has greatly contributed to distracted driving, and with dangerous outcomes. Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. 

There are three main types of distracted driving: visual (taking one’s eyes off of the road), manual (taking one’s hands off of the wheel) and cognitive (taking one’s mind away from driving), all of which can endanger the driver and others. Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. The federal agency reports that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent — when traveling at 55 mph — of driving the length of an entire football field while blindfolded.

In emergency medical situations, time is everything. With a catastrophic injury, minutes and seconds can mean the difference between recovery and permanent injury, or even between life and death.

The same principle is often true in investigating an accident involving a catastrophic injury or death to protect yourself and your right to recovery. Critical evidence can become lost or damaged if not preserved in the days immediately following an accident. Having an experienced catastrophic injury attorney begin the investigation immediately is like emergency medical assistance – it can mean the chance at preserving all the evidence and your chance for a complete recovery. Our firm has years of experience and a team of experts on hand to begin investigating virtually any catastrophic injury or fatality. Here is a brief summary of our firm’s approach to auto accident investigation, why we do what we do, and why it is important to begin this process immediately.  The same principle is true for how we investigate fire and product defect cases as well.

We receive a call about a terrible automobile accident the day before. Our client’s family member is in ICU with a traumatic brain injury. Our first meeting is one of prayer and compassion with the family and to tell them to focus all their attention on caring for their loved one while we take care of investigating the accident. Our firm handles all the expense and manpower needed to investigate the accident while allowing the family to focus 100% on their loved one’s recovery.

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Labor Day weekend this year is full of promise in the South. It is the opening weekend of college football, and it is an extended holiday weekend to spend extra time with family and friends.

It is also a weekend to be mindful of personal safety. Labor Day weekend is unfortunately one of the deadliest weekends for travel. On average, 450 people will die in automobile accidents each Labor Day weekend. Roughly 34 million people will be on the road this Labor Day weekend. Given the mixture of holiday traffic, holiday partying, and opening weekend for football partying, it is helpful to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Be on alert for impaired or distracted drivers. Half of Labor Day weekend traffic deaths are alcohol related. If you must drive later in the day or evening, be on the lookout for drivers showing signs of impairment – swerving, failing to dim headlights, erratic behavior, and missing traffic control signals. With the increase in traffic, there are also more distracted drivers on the road and more cars for them to run into. Signs of distracted driving are similar to those of impaired driving.

Few things can raise your blood pressure like having traffic go from a steady flow to a complete standstill due to road construction. It is only after the roadwork is completed that we can relax and enjoy the comforts of a newly paved road. Road construction work is vital to the continued safety of our roadways; yet, road construction defects can be the cause of serious and often deadly accidents. Drivers should be cautious when driving through construction zones and on newly repaved roads.

The dangers from road construction begin when the construction begins and continue for years after the road is completed if not done properly. Road construction companies are required to take safety measures while construction is ongoing. A flagman and a pilot car are familiar examples. When new paving has been done, road construction crews are also required to paint the lines before leaving the jobsite for the day so travelers at night can be protected. Unfortunately, this is not always done correctly. The travelling public relies on striping to ensure safe driving, especially on curves and areas with turn lanes.

Construction crews are also required to build up the shoulder of the roadway each day after completing paving. This is also not always done. It is not uncommon for a person’s tire to briefly leave the roadway and go onto the shoulder when travelling on a two lane highway. It happens so often we sometimes don’t even notice. However, when the shoulder has been cleared off for paving and new asphalt has been poured, a large drop off can occur between the roadway and the shoulder, making recovering from veering slightly off the road extremely difficult. Many single vehicle accidents have happened along two lane highways at night because a car has gotten slightly off the road and was unable to recover because the shoulder drop off was not built back up after construction.

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Tires.  They’re not something any of us give much thought to.  You have them on your car and your car gets you from point A to point B because they are on there.  And no one likes buying them or, more importantly, paying for them.

However, according to a report performed by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2003, an estimated 414 fatalities, 10,275 non-fatal injuries, and 78,392 crashes occurred annually due to flat tires or blow outs before tire pressure monitoring systems were installed in vehicles. More importantly, NHTSA discovered that the percentage of vehicles experiencing tire problems is significantly higher among vehicles that rolled over as compared to vehicle that did not roll over.  Approximately 9% of the over 2 million crashes studied by NHTSA were “tire-related” crashes with 50% of those being single vehicle crashes.

Taking care of your tires is an essential part of staying safe in your vehicle.  Here are some tips to insure you keep the tires safe on your vehicle:

In 2009, there were approximately 10,800,000 (yes – over TEN MILLION) car wrecks in the United States and almost 36,000 people were killed.  The good news is that is less than 1980 on both the number of wrecks and the number of deaths resulting from those wrecks.

One of the reasons is that we have safer vehicles.  Infiniti now has safety features such as lane departure warnings and distance control assistance that will regulate the speed of the vehicle autonomously. Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University are working with General Motors in developing a car that can actually drive itself.  It uses sensors, lasers, cameras and even thermal imaging to detect objects, signs, and traffic lights so that it can drive all by itself.  Google is working on one as well.  It is predicted that these cars will be on the market by 2020.

Until then, and because we probably won’t be able to afford the driverless car even then, here are some easy tips to keep you safer this year especially during the holiday season:

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