Safer Summer Bicycling Tips
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently issued a press release reminding bicyclists to think safe, ride safe and be safe this summer. Sadly, bicyclists, along with pedestrians, are one of the few roadway user groups that continue to see an increase in injuries and fatalities each year. Summer is a busier time than ever for cyclists too. Children are out of school, and everybody is enjoying the warm weather. The NHTSA has a variety of tips for cyclists and drivers to improve bicycle safety this season.
Tips for Bicyclists
• Always wear a well-fitted helmet that meets safety standards.
• Be as visible as possible. Bright colors and reflective materials are great. Blinking lights are also a good choice, especially if you’re riding at night.
• Always ride alert. Never ride impaired or distracted.
• Follow traffic laws, obey all signs, signals and markings and always go the same direction of traffic.
• Check your bicycle before hitting the road. Make sure your tires, brakes, handlebars and seat are all in good working order.
• Be predictable. This means you should always signal lane changes, and don’t do anything that a driver wouldn’t expect.
Tips for Drivers
• Drivers need to be predictable too. This means you should always signal lane changes and turns. Bicyclists are expecting you to make your intentions clear.
• Don’t drive distracted or impaired. Looking away from the road for a split second can have deadly consequences for cyclists, pedestrians and other roadway users.
• Allow plenty of room when passing cyclists.
• Obey all posted speed limits, signs and signals.
• Always drive defensively.
• Yield to bicyclists as if they are motorists.
• Always come to a full stop before making a right turn on red. Look left-right-left and behind to check for cyclists approaching from the rear.
After a Bicycle Accident
Since bicyclists aren’t protected as well as traditional passenger vehicle occupants, they can become devastatingly injured in seemingly minor wrecks. Even with reflective clothing and safety-rated helmets, bicycle riders can suffer from severe injuries including head trauma and spinal cord injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact the experienced team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. for a free consultation today.
Overturned Car in Partially Completed Roundabout
On Monday, for currently unknown reasons, a car overturned in the partially completed roundabout at the intersection of Highways 154 and 246. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department were called to the scene at 11:26 a.m.
Initially, a helicopter was called out for potential victims, but that call was cancelled. Thankfully, this wreck was changed to a “non-injury” crash. Prior to last week, when the roundabout opened for traffic, this intersection was a traditional four-way stop. There’s still no word on the actual cause of this crash. Very little information has been released about this one-car wreck, which is likely still under investigation.
Motorcyclist Injured in Bay Park
In the early morning hours, a crash involving a suspected drunk driver sent a motorcyclist to the hospital with severe injuries. According to Fox Channel Five News, the crash happened at around 1:15 a.m. on Friday morning. Apparently, the driver of an Audi tried to make an illegal U-turn on Morena Boulevard. His car and a motorcycle collided, and the rider was thrown from his bike.
Initial witness statements indicate that the driver tried to flee the scene as well. He was apprehended about a quarter of a mile away from the scene. Law enforcement investigators are looking into alcohol as a factor. The motorcyclist suffered from severe head trauma and is in critical condition. The team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. wishes a speedy and full recovery to the injured motorcyclist.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving in Southern California
It’s no secret that distracted driving has become a dangerous epidemic in California and across the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publicizes a variety of anti-texting, anti-distracted driving campaigns throughout the year, but people are still texting behind the wheel.
Distracted Driving in Various Forms
Distracted driving comes in a variety of forms. Sure, everybody knows that texting and checking Facebook behind the wheel counts as distracted driving, but what are other types of distracted driving?
The Many Different Forms of Distracted Driving
• Checking email or social media
• Talking to passengers
• Doing hair, makeup or other grooming behaviors
• Watching a video
• Adjusting the radio
• Using a GPS or navigation system
• Eating and drinking
• Day dreaming
• Reading maps or other items
• Using a smart phone in any capacity
How do you Know if it’s a Distraction?
If you’re not sure if a behavior counts as a distraction behind the wheel, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. A variety of behaviors can be classified as one or more of the following types of distraction; manual, cognitive or visual. Just about any behavior that takes your hands, mind or eyes off the task of driving is considered a distraction. If you can answer yes to one or more of the following three questions, you’re distracted driving.
1. Does it take one or both hands off the wheel?
2. Does it take your eyes off the road, even for a split second?
3. Does it take your mind off the task of driving?
The Human Toll of Distracted Driving
In 2012, an estimated 421,000 people were injured and 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. According to the NHTSA, at any given daylight moment across the U.S., approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices behind the wheel. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a distracted driver, contact the experienced team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. for a free case consultation. In some cases, it may take additional investigation to determine if distracted driving was a factor in an accident, so it’s critical to speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to get the ball rolling on your case.
Rollover crash in Lompoc
On Sunday morning, a one-car crash just east of Lompoc sent at least one person to the hospital. The rollover wreck occurred sometime around 11:00 a.m. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, the wreck happened near the junction of Highways 101 and 1, close to San Julian Ranch Road. For currently unknown reasons, the vehicle rolled over.
One person had to be extricated from the vehicle by first responders. One of the victims had to be air lifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of injuries. Very few details have been released about this crash, which is likely still under investigation with authorities. Additionally, there’s no word on the extent of injuries involved or the conditions of the victims.
Three Pedestrians Struck in Carlsbad
Last week, three pedestrians were struck by a car on the Old Coast Highway in central Carlsbad. The incident happened late at night, just before 12:45 a.m. First responders from Carlsbad and Oceanside were swiftly on the scene. The wreck happened in the 3200 block of Carlsbad Boulevard, north of Walnut Avenue. According to Fox Channel Five News, at least one victim had to be air lifted to the hospital.
The two other victims were transported to area hospitals by ambulance. Very little information has been released about the cause of this crash, but Fox Channel Five News did report that the 49-year-old female driver did remain on the scene after the wreck. There’s no word on the victims’ current conditions or the extent of their injuries, and this crash is still under investigation with authorities.
BMW Air Bag Recall
According to the Associated Press, German automaker BMW is getting ready to recall 1.6 million cars due to faulty air bags. Their air bags were also made by the Takata Corp, which have been the subject of other recent recalls. Automobile manufacturers such as Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota have also recalled vehicles for similar air bag inflator problems. The Associated Press points out that most of the air bag issues have happened in hot or humid climates, but that recalls are being conducted on all affected makes and models, regardless of location.
What’s Wong with the Air Bags?
The problem with the Takata Corp. air bags involves a faulty inflator. Apparently, under the right conditions, the air bags can rupture. Shards could fly out and injure drivers and passenger occupants. Additionally, the air bags may not properly protect passengers in the event of a crash. Thanks to pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), many vehicles with the faulty air bags have already been recalled. At this time, the only known malfunctions have occurred in warm humid climates.
Details on the BMW REcall
• 2000-2006 3-Series cars are being recalled from around the world.
• At least 574,000 U.S. cars are being recalled.
• Dealers will be replacing the passenger-side front air bags.
• All vehicles with the faulty air bag system are being recalled, regardless of location.
NHTSA’s Investigation of Faulty Air Bags
Since six reports of air bag inflator ruptures were reported in Florida and Puerto Rico, the NHTSA has launched an investigation into the malfunctioning air bags. Safercar.gov has information for motorists about their investigation as well as a statement from Takata Corp. about the air bag inflators. They also have recall information for all known makes and models of affected cars.
Manufacturers and retailers have a duty to make sure their products are safe for their customers. Items that are meant to increase safety like seat belts, child car seats and air bags need to be functioning properly at all times. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a defective air bag, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
DUI Rollover Crash in Santa Barbara
On Sunday night, a man was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after a rollover wreck on Gibraltar Road. The single-car rollover wreck happened just before 10:00 p.m. on the 2700 block of Gibraltar Road. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, first responders with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department were swiftly on the scene.
The driver, 25-year-old Austi Marquez, was able to exit the vehicle on his own. He reportedly left the scene on foot, after becoming agitated about a 9-1-1 call. He was found down the hill from where the car came to rest. He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Thankfully, nobody else appeared to have been in the vehicle with him at the time of the crash, and he wasn’t injured.
Big Rig crash in Escondido
Earlier this week, a crash involving a pickup truck and a tractor trailer sent an Escondido man to the hospital. The collision happened at the intersection of West Valley Parkway and Home Depot Center. According to Fox Channel Five News, the driver of the pickup truck apparently ran a red light, and was subsequently struck by the semi truck.
First responders with the Escondido Fire Department had to extricate the driver of the pickup truck from his vehicle. He was immediately transported to Palomar Hospital for treatment of significant injuries. A team from the San Diego County Hazardous Materials Department also responded to the crash to clean up vehicle fluids that were spilled onto the roadway. This wreck is still under investigation.
Advanced Frontal Air Bags
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants motorists to know how advanced frontal air bags save lives. Although air bags have been saving lives since the 1980’s, advanced frontal air bags hadn’t reached commercial production until 2004. They use sophisticated sensors to determine whether, when and how much to deploy. Since it’s not always advantageous for a frontal air bag to deploy, this was an important advancement in passenger vehicle occupant safety technology.
Advanced Frontal Air Bags work with Your Seat Belt
It’s important to note that an advanced frontal air bag system, or any type of air bag system, doesn’t replace the importance of your seat belt. In fact, air bags actually work with your seat belt to keep you safe. Sadly, some people still think that they don’t have to wear their seat belt, because their car has frontal air bags. Nothing could be further from the truth. These two safety features work together. Most importantly, in cases where air bags aren’t deployed like certain types of rollover crashes, it’s absolutely critical to buckle up. Your life depends on it.
Advanced Frontal Air Bags: Need to Know
• Always buckle up, for every trip.
• Adults, keep at least 10 inches between your breastbone and the air bag cover.
• Children ages 12 and under should always ride in the back seat either buckled up or in size and age-appropriate restraint systems.
• The elderly and small-statured adults should push their seats back as far as possible.
• Pregnant women should always keep at least 10 inches between their breastbone and the air bag cover, and also make sure the seat belt is positioned properly. The lap belt should be positioned low on the abdomen.
• Always install new advanced frontal air bags after deployment.
• If the air bag readiness (warning) light isn’t illuminated, you should have a qualified technician take a look as soon as possible.
• Check your vehicle’s owner manual to find out whether or not your car has advanced frontal air bags.
Air Bag Deployment in a Crash
Even though the NHTSA estimates that 39,976 lives were saved by frontal air bags from 1987 to 2012, buckling up is the single most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of a crash. After any kind of crash, whether air bags deploy or not, it’s always a good idea to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.
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