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DOT’s Free Online Search Tool for Recalls

Recall Search Tool

DOT’s Free Online Search Tool for Recalls

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently issued a press release about regarding the DOT’s new, free, online search tool for looking up recall information. This is going to be a great tool for current car owners and consumers who are looking to purchase used vehicles or rent cars. People will be able to check a car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and immediately find recall information on it.

Checking the VIN

The NHTSA is offering motorists a quick and easy way to make sure their car or the car they’re about to purchase or rent is safe to drive. The search takes less than a minute. All you do is type the VIN into the search box, type a two-word captcha, so the website knows you’re a person, and click enter. In just a few seconds, you have manufacturer recall information for your specific vehicle at your fingertips. All major automobile and motorcycle brands are included in the database.

Where Can I Find the VIN?

If you’re anxious to find out about any potential recall information on your car, but don’t know where to find the VIN, that’s okay. You can easily find it by looking at the dashboard, on the driver’s side of the automobile or on the driver’s side door on the door post. This is the area where the door latches when it is closed. You won’t see it unless you have the door open.

Staying Up-to-Date with Recalls

Staying up-to-date with recalls is absolutely essential for operating a safe and roadworthy vehicle. Since rental agencies and used car lots can still sell and rent cars to people without having safety recall issues fixed or addressed, this service is absolutely essential for shoppers and renters. Although it would be nice if rental agencies and used car dealers and sellers would make sure safety issues in their cars are addressed, that’s just not always the case. Checking a VIN is a great way to make sure you’re driving off in a safe car. Don’t leave it to chance or just hope that a dealer or rental agency is doing the right thing. Less than a minute’s worth of due diligence could save your life.

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Injury-Causing Crash Involving 18-Wheeler in Santa Barbara

Injury-Causing Crash Involving 18-Wheeler in Santa Barbara

On Thursday afternoon, a crash involving two cars and a semi truck sent at least two people to the hospital. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, the incident happened sometime just after 1:00 p.m. on Highway 101, near Mission Street.

Very little information has been released about this crash, but we do know that two sedans and an 18-wheeler were involved. First responders with the Sana Barbara City Fire Department were swiftly on the scene. Both drivers of the sedans were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of injuries. The roadway was only closed for about 15 minutes as crews worked the scene. The cause of this crash is still under investigation with the California Highway Patrol.

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Three Killed and Five Injured in Oceanside Crash

Three Killed and Five Injured in Oceanside Crash

On Thursday night, a one-vehicle crash in Oceanside took the lives of three Palomar College students. Five other passengers were also taken to area hospitals to be treated for injuries. According to CBS News Channel Eight, the incident happened just before 11:00 p.m. on State Route 78.

Apparently, there were eight people in a two-door, 2000 Honda Prelude, ranging in ages from 18 to 22 years old. For currently unknown reasons, the car left the roadway, went down an embankment and hit a power pole. CBS News Channel Eight reports that the force of the impact split the car in half.

The driver and two passengers were pronounced dead on the scene. One of the injured victims had to be air lifted to Palomar Medical Center. There’s still no word on why the car veered off the roadway, or why there were so many people in the small car. The team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of the deceased victims, and also wishes speedy and full recoveries for the injured students.

San Diego, California News Station – KFMB Channel 8 – cbs8.com

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DOT’s Plan for Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Technology

V2V Vehicle Communication Technology

DOT’s Plan for Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Technology

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just issued a press release regarding the advance notice of proposed rule making and supporting comprehensive research for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology. The implications of successful implementation of V2V technology are promising. If this technology can help drivers avoid crashes, lives can be saved. The team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. has been eagerly following the research and development stages of this technology, which could help save thousands of lives.

What is V2V Communication Technology?

Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication technology is basically a system which utilizes short-range communications between automobiles. This means that even if you don’t see it, your car will know if somebody starts to drift into your lane. These “Smart Cars” will alert drivers by issuing either audio or visual warnings. In addition to V2V technology, there are also virtually endless applications for vehicle-to-infrastructure communications (V2I). This means that vehicles will also be able to collect data regarding effectiveness and operability. Traffic signs and signals and traffic flow could also be potentially communicated to vehicles, real time.

Following V2V Research and Progress

The team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. has been following the developing progress of V2V communication technology research closely. Last year, we reported on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) 3,000 vehicle research project in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In the first phase of this pilot program, data was even collected and evaluated from drivers in Alameda, California.

The Research

The NHTSA reports that initial research is incredibly promising for two safety applications in particular. They estimate that the “Left Turn Assist” (LTA) and “Intersection Movement Assist” (IMA) could potentially prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives each year. The LTA works by warning a driver not to turn left in front of a vehicle traveling in the oppose direction, and IMA warns a driver if it is not safe to enter into an intersection due to a high probability of collision. These are just two of the virtually limitless applications of V2V communication technologies.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is quick to point out that this technology could shift the current focus of helping people survive crashes to helping people avoid crashes. At this time, officials with the DOT and NHTSA are gathering input from the general public and stakeholders as they work to deliver a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by 2016.

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Suspected Drunk Driver Strikes Patrol Car

Suspected Drunk Driver Strikes Patrol Car

Over the weekend, a suspected drunk driver side-swiped a parked patrol car in Santa Maria. According to KEYT ABC News Channel Three, the incident happened on Highway 101, north of Palmer Road. Two patrol officers with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) were investigating an accident when their parked car was struck. Apparently, the driver, Kevin Dawson, was going over 85 miles per hour when his car drifted out of the lane and side-swiped the parked patrol car.

Dawson’s automobile then continued northbound before it struck an embankment and rolled several times. Thankfully, no injuries were immediately reported, but both the driver’s automobile and the patrol car sustained major damage. Dawson was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

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Car Crashes into Gas Line in Chula Vista

Car Crashes into Gas Line in Chula Vista

On Sunday night, an apartment building had to be evacuated after a driver struck a gas line in Chula Vista. According to Fox Channel Five News, the incident happened sometime before 8:30 p.m. at the apartment building at 580 L Street. Apparently, a woman struck a gas meter in the parking lot of the complex. She then got out of the car and took off on foot.

One of the complex’s buildings had to be totally evacuated, so the gas line could be shut off. The residents had to wait outside until the gas dissipated. Thankfully, no injuries were reported, and the situation was handled safely.

Officials report that the cause of this crash is still under investigation, and very few details have been released. Additionally, there has been no word on whether or not authorities were able to locate the driver.

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Ranger Wiens, Esq. Trial Victory

Ranger Wiens, Esq.
Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. would like to congratulate attorney Ranger Wiens on his recent trial victory. Our client suffered injuries after being rear-ended by a distracted driver. The insurance company for the at-fault driver claimed there was no damage to the vehicle, and therefore no injury to our client.

Attorney Ranger Wiens was able to prove the injury and the jury awarded a $60,800.00 verdict. Before trial, the insurance company was only offering $13,000.

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NHTSA’s Don’t Drink and Ride Safety Campaign

Don't Drink and Ride

NHTSA’s Don’t Drink and Ride Safety Campaign

Motorcycles only make up about three percent of registered vehicles on the roadway, but riders are incredibly overrepresented when it comes to fatal crash statistics. In fact, the numbers are also disproportionate where alcohol is involved. Sadly, motorcycle riders are one of the few roadway user groups which continue to see an increase in crash fatalities each year. Like pedestrians and bicyclists, they just don’t have as much protection as drivers and passengers in traditional passenger occupant vehicles. With the holiday weekend approaching, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging motorcyclists to leave their bikes out of the party plans.

Alcohol Impaired Riding: Just the Facts

• In 2012, there were 4,957 motorcycle fatalities, which accounted for 15 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year.
• 27 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were legally drunk.
• Alcohol plays a large part in single-vehicle fatal motorcycle crashes.
• 43 percent of riders killed in single-vehicle motorcycle crashes were alcohol impaired.
• On weekend nights, 64 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists were impaired.

Putting Yourself and Others at Risk

Not surprisingly, the motorcycle rider is usually the one killed in a fatal bike crash. Of the 4,957 riders killed in 2012, 93 percent were the riders and seven percent were the passengers. Even at seemingly low speeds, motorcycle wrecks can be devastating and fatal for riders and passengers.
If you’re not concerned for your own safety, at least think about the other roadway users who are not asking to be put at risk. Your motorcycle can become a dangerous weapon at high speeds. While drivers and passengers in traditional passenger occupant vehicles may have the safety benefits of seat belts, air bags and steel cages, they can still become injured or killed in collisions involving motorcycles.

Riding Safe and Sober

The NHTSA is quick to point out that riding a motorcycle requires an enhanced level of focus, coordination and balance. Even one drink can diminish your hand-eye coordination, decision-making skills, focus and balance. When operating a bike already requires so much energy and focus, why dull your senses? This holiday weekend and all year round, choose to ride safe and sober. If you plan on celebrating with alcohol, leave your bike at home or catch a cab at the end of the night.

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Lompoc Teen Dies in Head-On Collision

Lompoc Teen Dies in Head-On Collision

On Thursday afternoon, a head-on collision east of Lompoc took the life of a 17-year-old driver. The incident happened on Highway 246 at about 1:30 p.m. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, for currently unknown reasons, 17-year-old Skyler Kindschy’s Honda Civic drifted across the solid double yellow lines of Highway 246.

Her car struck a westbound Chevy Malibu head on. Kindschy was pronounced dead on the scene, and the 62-year-old driver of the Malibu had to be extricated from the wreckage. She was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with serious injuries. At this time, there’s no word on why the car drifted over the centerlines. The team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Skyler Kindschy and wishes a speedy and full recovery to the injured driver.

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70 Citations Issued During Crackdown on Distracted Drivers

70 Citations Issued During Crackdown on Distracted Drivers

On Thursday afternoon and evening, law enforcement officers issued over 70 citations during a distracted driving crackdown in Chula Vista. According to Fox Channel Five News, the operation was conducted from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in various parts of the city. Over 80 vehicles were stopped, and more than 70 citations were issued.

Officials report that 19 people were ticketed for texting while driving, and 54 people were cited for talking on a cell phone while driving. There were also a few drivers who were caught driving without licenses or on suspended licenses, and three automobiles were impounded. This operation was funded through an initiative from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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