Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP

Southern California Personal Injury & Business Lawyers

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Murrieta Personal Injury Law Blog

ZF says external airbags reduce severity of side impact injuries

Side impact crashes are some of the most severe car crashes in California. Many car parts manufacturers, however, are working to perfect the technology behind external airbags. According to one of these manufacturers, the ZF Group, external airbags can reduce the injury severity of side collisions by up to 40 percent. This could encourage others to consider the technology.

ZF's external airbag model goes on a vehicle's sides and acts as an additional crumple zone, absorbing the shock of the crash. It weighs about 13 pounds, and its dimensions are 80 inches by 15 inches by 21 inches. Despite its size, it has an inflation time of 15 milliseconds, which is comparable to that of the typical steering wheel airbag.

Safe driving tips for the winter

California drivers should consider the following tips so that they can stay safe on the snowy, icy and wet roads that winter brings. Most of the tips are concerned with preparation. For example, to ensure that the vehicle is properly winterized, drivers could hire a mechanic to check components like the brakes, ignition, wiring and filters. Mechanics could also check tire pressure and antifreeze levels.

Another tip is to have an emergency kit containing tire chains, jumper cables, windshield cleaner, an ice scraper, a first-aid kit and flares or reflective triangles. The latter will be useful when drivers are stuck in snow; pushing vehicles out of snow is not advisable. Drivers should plan their routes ahead of time and share them with friends or family. If possible, they should wait out storms. In a whiteout, it's recommended to pull off the road.

The importance of timely cat bite treatment

California residents or anyone else who has been bitten by a cat should be seen by a medical professional. This is because roughly 50 percent of cat bites can be infected, which can lead to serious negative health consequences. In addition to a skin infection, it is also possible for the bone to become infected if the wound is deep enough. Sepsis can also take place, and extreme measures may need to be taken to prevent it from spreading.

A cat bite may need to be treated with antibiotics, and it is also possible that surgery or amputation will be needed to treat an infection. The reason why cat bites can be so dangerous is that the anaerobic bacteria in the animal's mouth thrive in low oxygen environments. The tissue in which a cat generally bites into is such an environment, and the cat's tooth is as sharp as a needle.

Incomplete car accident reports endanger lives

Law enforcement agencies in California and elsewhere are failing to accurately record the causes of certain motor vehicle accidents, according to the National Safety Council. As a result, it could be putting lives at risk.

Researchers from the agency analyzed police reports from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to see what types of car crash data each state tracks. They discovered that no state gathers enough data for the federal government and traffic safety organizations to accurately evaluate the causes of accidents. The lack of information also hinders their efforts to develop ways to prevent crashes.

Car accident injuries are not always immediately diagnosed

Thousands of California residents are hurt in motor vehicle accidents every year, but the severity of their injuries is not always immediately apparent even to highly trained emergency services workers with years of experience. Minor symptoms that linger for days or weeks could be a sign of a far more serious medical condition, and vivid flashbacks and trouble sleeping may be signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Whiplash injuries are an extremely common type of car accident injury, and they can be severe even when collisions occur at relatively low speeds. Neck and shoulder stiffness and numbness in the hands or arms are indications that a serious whiplash injury has gone undiagnosed. Car crash victims who suffer from persistent headaches should consult with a doctor as this could be a sign of a serious problem such as a concussion or blood clot on the brain.

Even California's sunny weather can be dangerous for drivers

California is known for its beautiful weather, but days of endless sunshine can sometimes be as dangerous for drivers as driving in sleet or snow. The sudden glare of direct sunlight can temporarily blind motorists as they round a bend or emerge from a shaded section of highway. This danger is particularly pronounced in the morning or afternoon when the sun is rising or setting. However, drivers who take a few basic precautions can greatly reduce their chances of being involved in a collision caused by glare or bright light.

Wearing sunglasses in sunny weather reduces the likelihood of an accident and protects the eyes against harmful ultraviolet rays. Sun visors, which are fitted to just about all passenger and commercial vehicles sold in the United States, provide additional protection against bright sunlight when sunglasses are not enough. Most visors can also be rotated to provide side protection when sunlight is streaming through car or truck windows.

Drivers everywhere need to heed the dangers of distracted driving

In California, between 14 and 16 percent of the time drivers spend behind the wheel they are still using their cell phones to access apps, text, or talk. The average time spent across the country is about 17 percent. Most states have now banned texting, but some, including California, banned any use of handheld electronic devices while driving.

As fatal motor vehicle accidents increase across the country, various states' legislators continue to work the real problem of distracted driving. The impulse to text is strong especially when a driver is in slower traffic. So, lawmakers are working on a plan for increased public relation crusades about distracted driving, including communities remembering those who lost their lives because of it. There is also a push for increased legislation, which instills stiffer consequences for violators. As more states tighten the laws in this matter, the trend will likely inspire others to follow suit.

Younger drivers put others in harm's way

Ideally, teen motorists in California will have at least 100 hours of supervised driving time before they drive on their own. Since younger drivers lack experience behind the wheel, they are more likely to be involved in deadly crashes. When a teen driver is in a vehicle with other teen passengers, the fatality risks increase even higher.

This is according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Statistics indicate that a teen driver has a 45 percent greater possibility of dying in a car crash when surrounded by other teens as passengers. However, the chance of a fatal wreck goes down 8 percent when the driver is in a vehicle with passengers who are 35 or older. In 2016, there were more than 3,200 deaths resulting from more than one million accidents caused by teen drivers.

Limo involved in deadly crash had been cited for faulty brakes

California readers may have heard about the horrific limousine crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York on Oct. 6. Now, media outlets are reporting that the vehicle involved in the deadly accident had been cited for brake failures by the State Department of Transportation.

ABC News obtained copies of the ill-fated limo's inspection results. The vehicle had been cited for brakes that were out of service and faulty brake connections. Meanwhile, the limo's driver was not licensed to chauffeur more than 15 people. However, the limo was carrying 17 passengers to a birthday party when it crashed. The driver, all the passengers, and two pedestrians were killed when the vehicle blew through a stop sign and crashed into a parking lot in Schoharie.

Truck accident fatalities up in 2017

Many California drivers feel uneasy sharing the road with tractor-trailers and other large trucks, fearing what would happen if a truck collided with them. Unfortunately, newly released federal statistics show that uneasiness could be justified.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,762 people were killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks in 2017, which is a 9 percent increase over the 4,370 who lost their lives in 2016. Meanwhile, multi-vehicle accidents involving large trucks jumped by 8.8 percent, and the number of truck drivers and truck passengers killed in accidents spiked by 16 percent. The NHTSA classifies large trucks as those that weigh 10,000 or more pounds.

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