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U.S. Laws on the use of Cellular Phone while Driving...

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC), 2015 may has been the deadliest driving year for Americans since 2008 due to the rise in motor vehicle deaths. About 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads, while 4.4 million were seriously injured (road fatality in 2014 was 32,675).

This dramatic increase in the number of cars on the road is attributed to gas prices going down. With more cars on the road, incidences of alcohol-impaired driving, speeding, people failing to buckle up, and instances of distracted driving also increased.

Distracted driving refers to any form of activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. The introduction of cell phones and now, the expansion of smartphone functions and wider use of social media platforms, have further worsened distractions behind the wheel. Though these are clear threats to road safety, these, nonetheless make cell phone use appear more fun and exciting. Many drivers today, especially teens and young adult drivers, not only read, send and/or reply to texts while driving; they now also send emails, snap selfies, conduct video chats, shoot videos, and use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat; some even watch YouTube videos while driving, practically believing that they can drive and do anything else safely.

Below is the cellular phone use and texting while driving laws in the U.S. (from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx):

Hand-held Cell Phone Use Ban: 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.

  • All Cell Phone ban: No state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but 37 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice or teen drivers, and 20 states and D.C. prohibit any cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Text Messaging ban: 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.

Despite the bans on texting and cellphone use while driving, so many drivers refuse to be dissuaded from texting and using their cell phone while behind the wheel. A distraction while driving at fast speed, even a momentary one, may cause a driver to:

  • Drift out of the proper lane and into the path of an oncoming car traveling in the opposite direction
  • Fail to signal lane changes or turns
  • Change lanes without checking blind spots
  • Turn the wrong way onto a one way street
  • Enter a highway ramp in the wrong direction
  • Disregard a traffic signal
  • Fail to notice a bicyclist or pedestrian on or near the road

Deaths and injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes are simply unacceptable. Most car accidents are preventable with responsible, diligent, and focused driving. By doing away with reckless, dangerous, and negligent driving behaviors, lives can be saved and injuries prevented. One way to accomplish this is by holding irresponsible drivers accountable for their actions and making them compensate those that they hurt in a car accident.

Traffic Violations and Ticket Penalties

Traffic Violations and Ticket Penalties

Traffic laws are not there to oppress you, but to control and limit your action to ensure that the roads are safe not just for you, but also for the others around you. Violations of traffic laws can lead to traffic accidents, property damages, injuries, and even death, that is why authorities make sure that these laws are strictly followed. Violating traffic laws can result into citations, but you can fight a traffic ticket if it seems unreasonable, maybe because of misunderstandings or exaggerations.

Violations may be classified into two – moving and non-moving.

Moving Violations

Moving violations are violations that involve vehicles in motion. The most common forms of moving violations include driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving without a seat belt, driving below the minimum speed, running through a red light or stop sign, reckless driving, and speeding.

Non-Moving Violations

Non-moving violations refer to violations that do not concern the movement of the vehicle. The most common forms of non-moving violations include driving with an invalid vehicle registration, having excessive muffler noise, having an expired or missing license plate, parking in front of a fire hydrant, in a no-park zone, and other illegal areas.

Ticket Penalties

Aside from the fines you need to pay and the educational courses you need to take, traffic tickets can have more devastating consequences, depending on the gravity of your violation.

License Suspension – The Department of Motor Vehicles, or more commonly known as DMV, can suspend your license, taking away your privilege to drive for a certain period of time. Once that time has been completed, you can apply for a license reinstatement by getting the necessary restoration requirements and taking written and driving tests.

License Revocation – DMV also has the ability to take away your driving license. Once this has happened, you need to fully apply for a license again, as if it is your first time applying to it.

Aside from suspension and revocation, your license can also be cancelled. According to the website of Ali Mokaram, license cancellations are more commonly issued on those who have eligibility issues instead of traffic violations.

Questioning violations and ticket penalties is a good thing, but it is always better to drive safely, follow traffic rules, park on designated parking areas, and make sure that you have the necessary documents and other legal forms that concern driving.

Burn Injuries: Classification and Degrees

According to the Hankey Law Office, approximately 2.4 million burn injuries are reported each year in the United States. Burns are one of the most painful and damaging injuries an individual can experience, as they not only cause intense physical pain for extended periods of time, but can also result in permanent disfigurement or disability.

Most burn injuries are due to accident occurring in the home more than anywhere else. Records from the National Burn Repository (NBR) of the American Burn Association (ABA) show that 73% of all burn accidents in the U.S. are actually household-related and that the most common victims are children and senior citizens.

Burns are classified according to their causes. Thus, based on cause, a burn can be a/an:

  • Thermal or heat burn injury. This is caused by coming in contact with heated objects, such as boiling water, hot tap water, hot grease/oil, steam, hot food, hot drink, fire, firework, curling irons and flammable liquids.
  • Chemical burn injury. Chemical burns occur when the skin or eyes come into contact with an irritant such as a strong acid, a base or other irritants. The most common products that cause chemical burns are pool chemicals, car battery acid, drain cleaners, ammonia, cleaning products, bleach and teeth whitening products. Chemical burns, which can cause a reaction on the skin or in your body, are also known as caustic burns.
  • Electrical burn injury. Electrical burn is the result of electricity passing through the body and causing rapid injury (or damage to tissues and organs). About 1,000 electrical injures resulting in death are reported in the U.S. every year. Electrical burns can be caused by power lines, short-circuiting devices, lightning and other kinds of electrical objects.
  • Radiation burn injury. This refers to damage to the skin or tissues due to radiation exposure. Sunburn, which is caused by UV radiation, is the common type of radiation burn; the dangerous types, however, are those caused by nuclear radiation, radio frequency energy, thermal radiation and ionizing radiation.

The degree of burn injury a person is suffering from is determined by severity of skin and tissue damage. If only the skin’s outer layer is affected, it is called first-degree or minor burn. A burn injury, wherein the layer beneath the skin is affected, is called second-degree burn. It causes the most unbearable pain (compared to other burn degrees) because it directly affects the nerves.

Some medical professionals say that third-degree burn is the worst type of burn injury because it damages the skin’s three layers: the epidermis, or the skin’s top layer; the dermis; and, the subcutaneous fat, which attaches the dermis to the muscles and bones and the area where blood vessels and nerve cells get bigger and go to the other parts of the body. Others, however, say that the worst type of burn injury is a fourth degree burn as this affects the muscles and bones.

There are occasions when a fire accident is a result of a property owner failing to adhere to fire safety regulations or a manufacturer producing a defective tanning bed. If a burn injury is a result of someone’s act of carelessness or negligence, then the victim can pursue a legal action to bring the liable party to justice and to seek compensation for the damages he/she has been made to suffer.

Available Damages In An Industrial Accident

If you are working in an industrial site, you are at a great risk of getting injured. And while it is the job of your employer to ensure the safety of working conditions, accidents and injuries can still find their way in the workplace. According to the website of Spiros Champaign Law Firm, it is the job of your employer to adhere to safety standards.

The good news is that you can seek compensation for the injuries you have incurred. Workplace accidents are associated with a lot of bills and lost time at work. Since you may spend a long time out of work, getting injured may become of a financial burden to you. Here is a list of the available damages that you can claim in an industrial accident:

Treatment Costs

If the injury resulted to medical treatment, you can seek to recover for the cost of hospital bills. Aside from the compensation you lost due to missed work, The amount of damages may also include the cost of future treatment.

Pain and Suffering

The court may also award compensation for pain and suffering for the injuries you incurred during the accident. While we cannot put a value on pain and suffering, the cost of damages will help alleviate the pain caused by getting injured.

Emotional Distress

Although it is designed to help alleviate discomfort after the accident, there is a difference between pain and suffering and emotional distress as damages. The former need not be proven in court while the latter still requires some proof. The injured has to prove that their injury has caused emotional stress to them. The plaintiff has to show psychiatric records as evidence.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are paid not to assist the injured but to punish the defendant. This is true especially when the defendant knew something would happen but continued despite their knowledge. However, not all states award punitive damages.

Pedestrian Accidents

The Royal Oak Police Department in Michigan has reported that a 26-year-old Florida resident has lost his life after an accident at around 12:50 a.m. on Saturday, February 27 when he was hit by a Canadian National Railway train near the intersection of S. Main Street and Sixth Street.

The victim was brought to William Beaumont Hospital – where he later succumbed to his mortal injuries – by the Royal Oak Fire Department.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most pedestrian accidents occur between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. as there are more vehicles and people using the roads due to their performance of day-to-day activities such as going to place of work or school. These accidents mostly involve injuries, as there is more probabilities that the drivers who hit a passer-by is distracted, but more or less in control of his or her motor functions.

The transportation agency stated, on the other hand, that pedestrian fatalities usually occur at night, because such accidents are usually caused by factors such as drunken drivers, drunken pedestrians, or poor visibility, which could all lead to mortal injuries for the pedestrian involved.

According to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, & Overbeck, P.A., the major contributing factor to the rise of pedestrian accidents in the United States is the tendency of pedestrians to jaywalk, a tendency which usually occurs in urban cities. This is because police officers tend to not be that stringent when it comes to enforcing policies regarding jaywalking. Aside from it being a low-priority concern for law enforcement, jaywalking is also considered low in the priority of lawmakers in each state – they tend not to enact more stringent rules to violators of said offense.

Pedestrians also do not see familiar routes as particularly a source of potential danger, so they let their guard down when crossing familiar streets, as compared with pedestrians who have been involved in or have witnessed car accidents, who are more likely to cross with more care in crosswalks.