Hayward Legal Blog

Cellphone usage contributes to auto-pedestrian accidents

You can hardly watch a television show or surf the internet without seeing at least one public service announcement (PSA) regarding cellphones and distracted driving. But despite their good intentions, these PSAs seem to be missing their targets.

As of last year, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), there was an uptick in fatalities linked to cellphone distractions. In 2018, there were 2,841 deaths in distraction-affected collisions.

The car accident epidemic

Whenever you're driving and an ambulance goes by with its lights flashing, do you wonder absently if there was a deadly accident somewhere behind you or in front of you? You pull over to the side of the road, let the emergency vehicle go by, and then drive on. Maybe it hits you a little harder since you are in the car, but you probably forget about it by the time you get home.

This attitude is how a lot of people in the United States view accidents. We know they're a threat, but we don't really worry about them. You can see stories about car accidents on the news, but those are accidents involving other people. That won't happen to you, you tell yourself. You're a safe driver.

The number of phone-addicted motorists doubled last year

Maybe you count yourself among those who always refrain from using your phone while driving. Or, maybe you are one of the many people across California who regret to admit that you do, on occasion, break the state’s hands-free cellphone laws. Regardless of whether you are one of the rule-abiders or offenders, know that your chances of getting into a crash with someone using a phone or otherwise driving distracted continues to rise despite enhanced legislation.

According to Forbes, new research regarding the dangers of distracted driving reveals that the behavior is becoming even more of a danger than drunk driving and that it is also far more common. Furthermore, the number of motorists addicted to their phones, meaning that they spend at least 28% of their driving time essentially ignoring the road while instead concentrating on their cellphones, has doubled within the last year.

Night myopia means drivers don't see pedestrians

Drivers struggle to see pedestrians at night for many reasons. Reduced visibility is perhaps the biggest; with less light, pedestrians simply blend into the shadows and drivers have a hard time spotting them. For instance, a driver turning left at a light may not see a pedestrian in the opposite crosswalk and could turn directly into them.

An issue that many people overlook, though, is known as "night myopia." To deal with the conditions, the eye attempts to focus on objects that are far closer to it. In many cases, these are too near to the driver, considering the speed of the car. At the same time, this close focus means that the eye blurs distant objects. It may still see them, but they tend to blur into the background and it's harder for the driver to make out exactly what they are -- especially when moving quickly and trying to process all of the other information that goes along with driving a car.

Pedestrians need to take more precautions to avoid being struck

A report recently published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows how 36,000 Americans died on U.S. roadways in 2018. This is the lowest the traffic fatality rate has been in this country since 2014. While the number of motorists that being killed is declining every year, the number of pedestrians that are dying is steadily increasing.

NHTSA data shows that the number of pedestrians that were struck and killed in 2018 was 3.4% higher than in 2017. Some 6,283 individuals lost their lives in 2018 in these types of accidents. This marks the highest number of deaths since 1990.

Spotting hazards on a motorcycle

If you ride a motorcycle, one of the most important things you can do is to spot hazards before you reach them. This way, you do not just have to count on your raw reaction time. You will be poised and ready in advance. If everything goes smoothly, that's fine. If a hazard does present itself, you react as soon as humanly possible because you already had the risks in mind.

For instance, one safety article shows a picture of a bike traveling down a busy street. The photo was taken from behind the bike, so you can see everything that the driver should be looking at.

What can you do as a pedestrian in a hit and run?

The total number of pedestrian deaths by vehicles reached its highest number in decades in 2018. In one year alone, 6,227 pedestrians lost their lives from car accidents, which was a 4% increase from the previous year. It is also the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990, which means that everyone needs to take better care to prevent those numbers from getting any higher. 

A pedestrian suffering injuries from an automobile is bad enough. However, it becomes even worse when the motorist decides to drive off following the collision. If you ever find yourself in this scenario, you want to follow some basic steps to ensure that you protect your health and your rights. 

How to protect yourself around a large truck

Getting behind the wheel of your vehicle is the most dangerous thing you will likely do each day of your life. You might not consider the dangers of driving, but you need to be aware of them to protect yourself. It can be very dangerous to drive near large trucks on the roads of California because of their weight, blind spots and other factors.

Do everything possible, in a safe manner, to avoid driving in a truck's blind spots. They are on either side of the truck and in the rear. They can also be directly in front of the truck. It depends on the size of your vehicle and how closely the truck is following you.

How to help an injured motorcyclist

If you're out on the road somewhere in sunny California and you witness a car strike a motorcyclist right in front of your eyes, do you know how to respond?

It's human nature to want to help someone who has been injured. However, you need to be careful that you don't end up making the situation worse -- or getting hurt yourself.

Issues that cause ladder falls

In the construction industry, one of the biggest dangers workers face is taking a fall from a ladder. It could be as simple as slipping off of a six-foot ladder while putting in some overhead wiring or as significant as falling from a 30-foot extension ladder while climbing onto a roof. Any fall, from any height, can cause serious injuries and even death.

One way to avoid a ladder fall is to understand the specific issues that cause them in the first place. You will then know what red flags to watch out for and what activities to avoid. Some of the causes, per Safety and Health Magazine, include:

  • Workers trying to ascend ladders while carrying loads, objects, tools, materials or anything else.
  • Workers using ladders that have clear structural defects.
  • Workers standing on the top step or the top rung of a ladder.
  • Workers using a ladder for a purpose that it was never designed to serve.

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Law Offices of Patricia Turnage
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Hayward, CA 94541

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