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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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John Clayton Joins the Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Johnny Clayton, Esq

John Clayton Joins the Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. is proud to announce an impressive achievement by Attorney John Clayton. John is now a certified member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum! ‘The Million Dollar Advocates Forum is recognized as one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts, awards and settlements. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.’ Attorney Clayton’s membership in this group is a reflection of his hard work and dedication to our clients.

John is a graduate of Brigham Young University, where he majored in history and business management. He attended Whittier Law School on a Dean’s Merit Scholarship, where he was a competing member of the Moot Court Honors Board. During his third year of law school, John worked as a law clerk at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. and was thrilled to join the firm as an attorney after finishing law school.
As a litigation attorney at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc., John focuses exclusively on personal injury cases and only represents injured persons and their families. An aggressive litigator, he takes pride in providing passionate, caring, and personalized service to each of his clients. John is also fluent in Spanish.

John is licensed to practice law throughout the State of California in both federal and state court, and is a member of the State Bar of California. He is a member of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, Consumer Attorney Association of Los Angeles, and Consumer Attorneys of California. In 2013, John was nominated by his peers and was included in the National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40. Membership into The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 is by invitation only and invitees must exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young lawyer under the age of 40. Additionally, John is now a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

John’s recent litigation success includes settlements in the cases of Weaver v. Chamberlin for $1 million and Albino v. Sandoval et al for $910,000.

We are proud to have John Clayton’s talent here at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. and wish to congratulate him on this distinction. Congratulations, John!

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Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over: Labor Day Edition

labor day safety

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over: Labor Day Edition

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently issued a press release urging motorists to drive sober for the upcoming holiday weekend and all year long. This year’s campaign isn’t just focused on the personal costs and human toll of drunk driving, it’s also focused on the societal and economic impact of drunk driving.

Drunk driving crashes kill over 10,000 people each year, across the U.S. Holiday weekends are notorious for an increase in alcohol-impaired crashes. In 2012, just during the Labor Day weekend, 147 people were killed in crashes involving impaired drivers or motorcycle riders. One in three traffic fatalities occur in crashes involving alcohol impaired drivers. This means that one third of all crash deaths are totally preventable.

In addition to the human toll of drunk driving, the economic impacts of driving under the influence cost Americans billions of dollars each year.

Direct and Indirect Economic Impacts of DUI’s

• In 2010, crashes involving alcohol impaired drivers cost 47 billion in direct economic impacts.
• On average, that’s $152 per person, across the U.S.
• When overall harm to society due to loss of life and quality of life are included, the figure shoots up to $195 billion.
• The average cost of a minor injury involved with an alcohol impaired car crash is $22,000, with additional losses related to quality of life totaling $25,000.
• Direct economic impacts and additional quality-of-life costs increase dramatically depending upon the severity of the injury.

Plan a Safe and Happy Holiday Weekend

The best way to enjoy the holiday weekend is to make a great plan before the festivities begin. Planning ahead is absolutely critical in making sure you have a safe ride home lined up, if you plan on drinking. It could be as simple as pre-programming a cab service’s number into your phone. You could arrange a ride with a designated driver in advance. No matter what your plan is or how the evening changes, don’t get behind the wheel. Ask a bartender or friend to find you a safe ride home. The team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. wishes everybody a safe and happy holiday weekend.

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Vehicle Crashes into Santa Barbara House

Vehicle Crashes into Santa Barbara House

On Tuesday Afternoon, an out-of-control vehicle struck a fire hydrant and crashed into a house in Santa Barbara. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, the incident happened at about 12:30 p.m. on Cliff Drive. Authorities with the Santa Barbara Police Department report that the driver of the automobile apparently lost consciousness prior to the wreck.

The driver of the white Volvo SUV was injured in the crash and transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. There was a resident inside of the home he crashed into, but thankfully that person was not injured in the crash. Drugs and alcohol didn’t appear to be factors in this crash, as a medical issue was suspected to have been the cause of the loss of consciousness.

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Group of Cyclists on Fiesta Island Road Struck by Driver

Group of Cyclists on Fiesta Island Road Struck by Driver

On Tuesday evening, a wrong-way driver struck a group of 16 cyclists on Fiesta Island Road in Mission Bay. According to Fox Channel Five News, the incident happened at about 6:30 p.m. A female cyclist suffered from serious injuries including broken bones and internal injuries. There is no word on her current condition.

At least eight other cyclists were injured in the bizarre wreck. Law enforcement officials were able to apprehend the 49-year-old driver. She was detained under the suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and for possession of a controlled substance. There was also some speculation that she was driving at a high rate of speed when she struck the crowd of bicycle riders.

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Hyundai Agrees to Pay $17.35 Million Fine for Defective Brakes

hyundai recall

Hyundai Agrees to Pay $17.35 Million Fine for Defective Brakes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently issued a press release regarding a multi-million dollar fine involving defective brakes. As it turns out, Hyundai failed to report the defect in a timely manner. Unfortunately, Hyundai is following in the footsteps of other automakers that are also facing record fines this summer due to improper management of defective products.

Thankfully, Hyundai has agreed to pay the fine and comply with NHTSA safety oversight requirements. The automobiles in question are 2009 to 2012 Hyundai Genesis models. The brake issues involved corrosion in critical components of the vehicle’s brake system that resulted in reduced effectiveness of stopping.

The Wrong Brake Fluid

Apparently, Hyundai found out in 2012 that the brake fluids being used in 2009 to 2012 Genesis models didn’t sufficiently inhibit corrosion. Basically, they were using the wrong brake fluid, which led to corrosion of critical brake systems. Thankfully, no fatalities have been reported, but the problem has been linked with six reported collisions, including two reports of injuries. As of January, 2014, there were at least 87 consumer complaints about the Hyundai Genesis, most involving brake problems.

Improper Handling of the Problem

Rather than conduct an official recall, Hyundai decided to just ask dealers to use a different brake fluid in cars on the lot. They didn’t even explain the consequences of failing to switch to a different brake fluid. Furthermore, Hyundai didn’t inform Genesis owners of the potential safety consequences either. They didn’t even issue a recall until October, 2013 thanks to NHTSA’s investigation and pressure.

Hopefully, these multi-million dollar fines will begin to deter automakers from sweeping potentially life-threatening safety issues under the rug. If automakers are made aware of a safety issue, they need to bring it to consumers’ attention immediately. If you think a mechanical defect has contributed to an accident that you were injured in, you need to report that to the automaker and to the NHTSA as soon as possible. It’s clear that automakers can’t police themselves, so consumer pressure is probably the most important aspect of bringing safety issues to light. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective automobile part, contact the experienced team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. for a free consultation today.

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Woman and Children Inured in One-Vehicle Crash

Woman and Children Inured in One-Vehicle Crash

On Wednesday night, a woman was critically injured and two children also suffered injuries when their car struck a tree in Santa Barbara. This one-vehicle crash happened sometime before 6:00 p.m. on La Cresta Circle. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, for currently unknown reasons, their Toyota Prius slammed into a tree.

The 8-year-old boy and the 11-year-old girl suffered from minor injuries, but the 39-year-old female driver sustained major injuries. All three victims were swiftly taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, but there’s no word in their current conditions. Initial reports indicate that there weren’t any skid marks to indicate the driver tried to stop. Could there have been a mechanical issue or brake failure? This crash remains under investigation with local law enforcement officials.

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Pedestrian Killed by Train in Carlsbad

Pedestrian Killed by Train in Carlsbad

On Thursday night, a 22-year-old man was struck and killed by a freight train in Carlsbad. The incident happened at about 11:20 p.m. in Carlsbad Village, near the intersection of Grand Avenue and State Street. According to Fox Channel Five News, the victim was struck by a northbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train, while he was walking on the tracks.

Very few details have been released about this tragic incident. Initial reports indicate that the grade crossing warning system was functioning at the time, so it’s unclear exactly how this could have happened. The victim was pronounced dead on the scene, but his identity hasn’t been released by authorities.

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