| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Child Car Seat Safety Do’s and Don’ts

Personal Injury Lawyer | Child Car Seat Safety  An experienced Personal Injury Lawyer can inform you of your rights if you or someone you love is injured in car crash. An estimated 46% of car and booster seats are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This sobering statistic and others cause government agencies and local organizations to launch child safety seat campaigns every year. Raising awareness around car seat safety can save children’s lives. The Facts In 2016, in the U.S. 732 children, under the age of 12 died in car crashes. Of those, 35% of them were not buckled in. Restraint use among young children often depends upon the driver’s seat belt use. The use of a car seat reduces the risk of injury in a crash up to 82% and boosters 45%. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) lead the conversation on child car seat safety. Together, they inform the public as well as car seat manufacturers on best practices for child passenger safety. Follow these tips for keeping your child passenger safe. Don’t: Turn children facing forward until at least 2 years of age. When a child rides rear-facing, the head, neck, and spine are all supported by the hard shell of the car safety seat, allowing the car seat to absorb most of the crash forces, and protecting the most vulnerable parts of the body. Purchase used car seats from an unknown source. If you don’t know a car seat’s history, don’t use it. Used seats should Come with instructions and a label showing the manufacture date and model number. They should not be more than 6 years old and should not have been in any previous accidents. Assume you know how to install a car seat if you’ve never done it before. Cars made after 2002 have a latch system that you should use to secure car seats to your vehicle. Before that, belt installation varies from seat to seat. Find a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area to help show you how to install your car seat free of charge. Often these can be found at your local fire station. Place car seat in the front seat. The back seat is the safest place for your child’s car seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an airbag. The middle of the back seat is the safest spot in the car to place children. Do: Keep all children in car seats or boosters until at least age 8. It is safe to move your child out of the booster when he or she reaches a height of 4 feet 9 inches, sits against the back of the seat with knees bent comfortably at the seat edge and when the seat belt rest comfortable over the hips and the shoulder, not below hips or on the neck or face. Opt for the 5-point harness Older seats may have a 3-point harness. Choosing a 5-point harness ensures that your child is secured to the seat in five places preventing them slipping out of the safety of the seat in the event of a crash. Buckle children safely for every trip. No matter how short the trip, an accident can happen. Make sure you are properly securing children every time they are passengers in a moving vehicle. Model proper vehicle safety by buckling up every time you ride in a car with children. Make sure that any family members or other caregivers know how to properly install and buckle car seats. Proper car seat use will greatly reduce the risk of child injuries in your vehicle. If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury in a car crash, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

How Much Do You Know About Workplace Safety?

Personal Injury Lawyer |  Workplace Safety An experienced personal injury lawyer can inform you of your rights if you or someone you love is injured on the job.As the National Safety Council states“every worker deserves to make it home safe – every day”. In 1970, the federal government instituted OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act which governs workplace health and safety regulations and compiles annual statistics relating to workplace safety incidents. Despite OSHA conducting 32,020 federal inspections and 40,993 State Plan inspections, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 5,147 workers were killed on the job in 2017. That equates to about 14 people per day. For every worker and employer, knowing more about workplace safety will lead to less injuries and fatalities on the job. The “Fatal Four” In 2017, one in five workers deaths was in the construction field. These four causes were responsible for more than half (59.9%) of those. Falls Struck by Object Electrocution Caught/Crushed The Department of Labor says that eliminating these Fatal Four could save 582 workers’ lives every year in America. OSHA and other state and federal departments are working hard to make workplace safety the highest priority in every industry. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Believe it or not, in some industries, workplace safety has a bad rap. Below are 3 myths about workplace safety, debunked. Myth One: It’s impossible to create a hazard-free work area. This line of thinking is dangerous because it creates a “safety is a futile effort” mentality for employers. When employers are informed and proactive about what it takes to create an injury-free workplace, safety is a very attainable goal. The proper planning, education, discipline and diligence can create a hazard-free workplace in any industry. Myth Two: Following OSHA safety standards requires too much time and money. Anyone who feels this way has clearly never considered how much time and money is wasted when accidents do occur. From direct costs: workers compensation, medical payments and legal fees to indirect costs: training replacements, damaged equipment, lost productivity, lower employee morale and more absenteeism, employers pay for unsafe work environments. Myth Three: Accidents happen. Research shows that most workplace accidents are preventable. By taking workplace safety seriously and actively participating in and pursuing a safe environment every day on the job, workers and employers can achieve an injury-free workplace. But what happens when an employer fails to create a safe environment for their workers? Ultimately the worker is the one who will suffer most from this situation. OSHA laws state workers right in these situations. Determining the best course of action depends on the severity of the situation. The question is: Are you in imminent danger? If You Are In Imminent Danger You have the right to refuse to work. Immediately call the OSHA phone line at 800-321-OSHA and 911 if anyone needs medical attention. Imminent danger situations require that the following criteria are met: you believe that performing your work poses a real danger of death or serious physical injury your employer refuses to correct the problem, and there isn’t enough time to eliminate the danger through other means, such as requesting an OSHA inspection. If You Are Not In Imminent Danger Start by bringing the hazard to your employers’ attention. Document your report by putting it in writing with the employer or simply by keeping your own record including the date, time and who you reported it to. If you are afraid to talk to your employer, you may report it directly to OSHA or other governing state agency. If your employer does nothing or threatens to take action against you for reporting a hazard, you should contact OSHA to file a complaint. You can do this anonymously or give your name. If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury on the job, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Estate Planning Attorney Bakersfield

What Is Joint Ownership?

Estate Planning Attorney Bakersfield | What Is Joint Ownership? An experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Bakersfield can inform you of your options if you or someone you know is looking to establish joint ownership of a property.  Probate is the act of proving a will is genuine or broadly, “the process of administering an estate.” When you pass, your assets and finances will undergo the process of probate to sort out the details of your estate. Probate can be a long and arduous process for loved ones and beneficiaries. It can tie up your assets for months and can open them up to estate taxes which could, in some cases, deplete your financial standing significantly. Proper estate planning can help your loved ones avoid probate. Joint ownership is one way to keep your property out of probate. Just as it sounds, joint ownership is when a property is shared by two or more people. There are several forms of joint ownership, all of which can help avoid probate when one owner dies. The forms of joint ownership are: Joint Tenancy With Rights of Survivorship In joint tenancy with rights of survivorship or JTWROS, two or more people legally own a property. When one of those owners dies, the property simply stays under ownership of the remaining partner(s). The heirs of the deceased have no legal rights to the property. Upon death of one of the owners, the surviving owners fill out a form and present it along with a death certificate to whoever keeps the records. Depending on what type of property it is, this could be a bank, state department of motor vehicles or county real estate records office. Tenancy By The Entirety In certain states, Tenancy by the Entirety exists. Abbreviated TBE, this form of joint ownership functions in the exact same way as Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship, except it is restricted to just two people who are married or are registered domestic partners. When a spouse dies, the other becomes the sole property ownership when a death certificate is presented to the property record keeper just as Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship. Community Property Currently nine states are considered Community Property States. In these states, property, income and debt acquired during a marriage is considered community property between spouses and an assumed 50-50 ownership exists. Although simply stating in a will or trust that you wish your property to be otherwise distributed after death cannot override the community property laws. However, each spouse is able to bequeath their share of the property to a person of their choosing, like a child or other family member. If no heir is named, when one spouse passes, the property is automatically transferred, and the surviving spouse becomes the sole owner. Only a prenuptial agreement may supercede the community property laws in these states. Tenancy In Common As Tenants In Common, TIC, each owner of a property holds a percentage. Percentages do not have to be equal, instead they are determined by how much an owner contributes to the purchase of the property. Each owners share becomes part of that owner’s estate. It is named in the will and left to a person of their choosing upon death. The other owners, unless named as heirs in the will or trust have no claim to the other percentages of the property. One pitfall with this type of property ownership is that as part of individual estates, the percentage can become subject to probate and the state’s will in the settling of an estate. This can put the property and the other owners in difficult position. When considering the various types of joint ownership, consulting an experienced estate planning attorney will help you decide which is best for you and your family. If you or someone you know is looking for more information on joint ownership, contact The Estate Planning Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A estate planning attorney at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Performance Under Pressure: Basic Workplace Safety Tips For Stressful Jobs

Personal Injury Lawyer| Performance Under Pressure An experienced personal injury lawyer can inform you of your rights if you or someone you love is injured on the job. According to the National Safety Council, every 7 seconds a worker is injured on the job. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide adequate training and proper signage. Employers should maintain a culture of safety and lead by example. However, to avoid a workplace injury, you must take responsibility for your own actions. Your safety, health and future depend on it. While all jobs have some risk level, a few are potentially more dangerous than others. The top five occupations with the largest number of workplace injuries are: Service (including firefighters, law enforcement, etc) Transportation and Shipping Manufacturing and Production Installation, Maintenance and Repair Construction The most common type of injuries were: Overexertion Accounting for 34% of reported injuries, this includes lifting or lowering and repetitive motions. To avoid these types of injuries remember to: Try not to bend, reach or twist when lifting heavy objects. Take frequent breaks. Contact With Object And Equipment 25% of injuries come from direct contact with objects and equipment. Being struck by or against an object or equipment, being caught in or compressed by an object or equipment and being struck caught or crushed by collapsing objects or equipment all fall under this category. Do your part to stay clear of these common workplace injuries by: Storing heavy objects close to the floor. Being aware of moving object and equipment in your work space. Wearing the proper protective gear for your job. Slips, Trips and Falls Another 25% of injuries are attributed to slips, trips or falls. Falling to a lower level and falls on the same level are both included. Steer clear of these accidents: Place ladders on even, solid and sturdy surfaces only. Keep the workspace clear and free of debris, trash and interfering objects. If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury on the job, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Keep Your Loved Ones Safe From Burn Injuries

Personal Injury Lawyer | Burn Injuries  An experienced Personal Injury Lawyer can inform you of your rights if you or someone you love is in a fire, scald or burn accident at someone else’s fault. In a national survey, nearly half (44%) of respondents said they did not believe burn injuries to be a major danger in their homes. However, burn injury center admissions continue to grow every year. Every day, 300 children are seen in emergency rooms for burns and two of those will die. Elderly loved ones are at greater risk of burn injuries. So how do we keep burn injuries from effecting our loved ones? Stop Burn Injuries From Occurring In Your Home The majority of burn injuries happen in the home. Cooking accounts for 47% of all home fires. By taking some simple precautions and alerting your family members to the risks of being burned, you can keep those you love from experiencing painful and potentially scarring burns and scalds. ● Cook when you are wide awake and never under the influence of medications that might make you drowsy or slow reaction time, other drugs or alcohol. ● Wear tight fitting clothing, especially sleeves when you are cooking. ● Always keep a lid and oven mitts nearby when cooking. ● Keep surface areas clean to prevent grease build-up. ● If a pot or pan does catch fire in your home, quickly cover it with it’s lid and turn off the heat. ● Do not move a pot or pan that is on fire and never put water on a kitchen fire. ● Make sure fire alarms are in proper working order. ● If a kitchen fire gets out of your control, get out of the house and do not return for any reason. According to the American Burn Association, between 2013 and 2017, an estimated 376,950 scald burn injuries associated with consumer household appliances and products were seen in hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. between 2013-2017. This includes stoves, coffee makers, tableware, cookware and bathtubs. Remaining vigilant when it comes to daily household activities is your best defense against these type of injuries. Keep Children Safe From Burn Injuries Because children have immature motor and cognitive skills, are unable to self-rescue and rely on adults for supervision and danger-avoidance, they are at particularly high risk for burn injuries. Children also have thinner skin and sustain more severe injuries when burned. ● Make sure fire alarms are placed at the entrance to children’s bedrooms. ● Make children aware of the exits in their room and discuss an escape plan with them. ● Keep hot kitchen items out of reach of children. This includes pot/pan handles, hot liquids and coffee makers among others. ● Cook on back burners. ● Supervise young children in the kitchen as they learn to use the microwave and other potentially hazardous appliances. ● Always check water temperatures before bathing children. Keep your water heater set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. ● Do not leave children with immature babysitters and do not allow children to bathe younger siblings. Avoid Burn Injuries Outside The Home Burn injuries can happen outside the home as well. In a well-known case, a woman suffered third-degree burns when a fast food company served her scalding hot coffee. A man was burned as a patient in the hospital when his bed caught fire due to a manufacturing defect. Workers on the job have accidents through at their own fault or from improper safety precautions on the part of the employer. Taking inventory of our surroundings and staying alert to potential burn hazards can protect us as we go about our days. ● Follow all posted rules and protocol around equipment at work. ● Do not operate machinery when fatigued or distracted and never under the influence of alcohol or drugs. ● Read and pay attention to manufacturers warnings on the goods you purchase. This includes appliances, children’s toys, grills and more. ● Be aware of warning labels on food and beverages. ● Alert the proper personnel if you notice any unnecessary heat or burning smells in your surroundings. If you or someone you know has suffered a burn injury, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury attorney at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Estate Planning Attorney Bakersfield

Divorce and Your Estate Plan

Estate Planning Attorney Bakersfield | Your Estate Plan An experienced Estate Planning Attorney can inform you of your options if you are going through a divorce. Divorces are challenging. Emotionally and financially, divorce can wreak havoc on your life as you know it. As you’re untangling your feelings surrounding this person, you also have a mountain of paperwork, assets, debt and more to consider and attend to. It can seem sometimes that the task of getting a divorce will never end. As you navigate this difficult time in your life, remember to include your estate plan in the mix. The last thing you want is to have to revisit the details of divorce unexpectedly down the road. The act of getting married, legally awards rights to your spouse whether you have a written estate plan or not. In most states, the act of divorcing revokes those rights. However, the more complex or diverse your life together, the more you have to consider after divorce. Children, properties, financial accounts and insurance policies could hard-wire your ex-spouse’s inheritance until you expressly remove their claim. In some cases, if your ex-spouse remarries and has children from another marriage, they could have legal claim to your estate upon your death. Experts recommend that you take some time with your estate plan in its entirety to ensure that your current life is reflected in your wishes after you pass. Though your estate may be large, you need to start somewhere. Below are suggestions for where to begin: Revoke your current will and create a new one Revoking your will is as simple as physically destroying it. Tear, shred or burn the old will. You can also state in your new will that it should supercede and take the place of any other will. A will commonly names the spouse as: executor of the estate, guardian of minor children, power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney. Determine what you can legally alter and make changes to suit your new life. You also want to leave any property to others by name. Update your beneficiaries Likely, you’ve named your spouse as beneficiary on life insurance policies, bank accounts and retirement accounts, at the very least. As these designations can override beneficiaries named in your will, you will want to address them individually. Review all of your accounts and policies and update the beneficiaries on each one. It’s a good rule of thumb to cross reference your will any time you name beneficiaries to make sure you don’t have conflicting designations. Name new powers of attorney In the event that you become incapacitated, a power of attorney has broad control over your assets. They can make decisions to sell real estate, access bank accounts and act with authority on any other facet of your estate. Neglecting to designate a new power of attorney could mean that your ex-spouse has this control. Furthermore, your healthcare power of attorney can make life altering decisions about your care and health should you become physically or mentally unable to function normally. Be sure to put these powers in the hands of someone you trust completely to act in your best interest. Divorce can be a sticky situation. Time, money and energy are strained throughout the process. Visit and tend to your estate while you’re aligning all of your other affairs to safeguard your new life. If you or someone you know is going through a divorce and needs help adjusting an estate plan, contact an estate planning attorney Bakersfield, CA. They can inform you of legal options you may not know you have. If you need help planning or settling an estate, contact The Estate Planning Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Distracted Walking | Head Up, Phone Down

Personal Injury Lawyer | Distracted Walking An experienced Personal Injury Lawyer can inform you of your rights if you or someone you know is injured while walking. While the slapstick nature of someone distractedly tripping into a fountain or walking into a street sign can be amusing, there is real danger where pedestrian device use is concerned. Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable in urban areas even when paying close attention to their surroundings. Studies have shown surprising evidence that adding a device makes it exceedingly difficult to multitask through a phenomenon called “inattentive blindness”. Walkers forget where they are going and struggle to maintain a consistent stride, veering off path and into avoidable hazards. In 2017, nearly 7,000 pedestrians were hit and killed by vehicles. As communities work to become more pedestrian-friendly, their efforts are thwarted by head down walkers. Everyone with a device is at risk. One study showed that texting pedestrians were 60% more likely to stray off-line. Pedestrian injuries among older teens are on the rise, up 25 percent compared to previous years. One in five high school students crosses the street while distracted by the use of headphones and texting, primarily. Distracted walking has become issue enough that some communities are implementing safety measures to combat it. Unsuccessfully, New York, Arkansas and Illinois have tried to ban cellphone use while walking. One town in New Jersey serves jaywalkers with an $85 fine for texting. In London, England, distracted pedestrians are protected by padded lamp posts. SafeKids.org has initiated a campaign called Moment of Silence in an effort to raise awareness. Teens and others are invited to take a pledge to put their devices down when crossing an intersection. Take a few of these common-sense precautions when walking and keep yourself safe from distracted walking accidents: Never use a device while crossing the street. Always cross at intersections where motorists are on higher alert to pedestrian presence. When wearing headphones, keep the volume low or leave one earbud out. Take frequent breaks to look up and take inventory of your surroundings. Hold your phone up higher in your visual field so you can see what might be ahead of you. Check out apps designed for on-the-go texters. If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury as a pedestrian, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Choking Infants and Children | What to Do in an Emergency

Personal Injury Lawyer | Choking Infants and Children An experienced Personal Injury Lawyer can inform you of your rights if you or someone you know has had a choking injury or death. In the first year of life, babies are very busy exploring their new world. Seeing, touching, hearing, smelling and tasting are all productive, healthy and exciting ways that babies show interest in their environment. Household hazards are everywhere for infants and toddlers. The job of parenting never stops and one of the most important parts of that job is preparing a safe space for children to investigate and discover. Among the many dangers lurking in a home are choking hazards. Choking is one of the leading causes of unintentional death for infants. Some common household choking risks are: Button batteries Small toys or game parts Round, hard foods Coins Buttons Office supplies Prevention is the key to keeping children safe from choking accidents and fatalities in the home. Some top safety tips for safeguarding your little ones include: Always supervise babies and infants when they are eating. Avoid hard, round foods like popcorn, hard candies and nuts. Keep infants and toddlers away from small toy pieces belonging to older children. Get down on the ground and take inventory of your home from their eye level. Make sure all batteries are contained and not accessible. In the event of an emergency situation, being prepared to perform a rescue procedure can mean the difference between life and death for your child. Since children require a different procedure than adults, it is important that every parent in the household get certified in a CPR program which includes infant CPR training. Though the following steps do not suffice as CPR training, everyone should know the basic steps for the Heimlich Maneuver on an infant. According to the National Safety Council, clear the airway, and do the following only if the infant cannot cry, cough or breathe: Support the infant face down by holding the head in one hand with the torso on your forearm against your thigh Give up to five back slaps between the shoulder blades with the heel of your other hand If the object is not expelled, roll the infant face up, supporting the back of the infant’s head with your hand Place two fingers on the breastbone just below the nipple line Give five chest thrusts about one per second about 1 ½ inches deep Continue cycles of five back slaps and five chest thrusts until the object is expelled or the infant becomes unresponsive If the infant becomes unresponsive or is found unresponsive, begin CPR. If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury from choking, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Working on the Road | Safety Tips for Employees Who Drive for a Living

Personal Injury Lawyer | Working on the Road  An experienced personal injury lawyer can inform you of your rights if you or someone you love is injured in a motor vehicle accident due to distracted driving. Truck drivers, food delivery drivers and sales people spend hundreds of hours driving each year. Office workers are sent on errands and regional managers travel between locations. The fact is, for many of us, time in our vehicle is part of our job description. While we carry out the duties of our job from the road, safety should be top of mind for employers and employees. Added time behind the wheel, hazardous travel conditions and the ever-present distracted driving temptations increase the risk for accidents. The unconventional nature of the vehicle as a workplace makes it difficult for employers to write policy that speaks to every variable that could arise. Safety regulations are hard to enforce and nearly impossible to supervise. Employers may choose to require drivers to complete a defensive driving course. Still, it is important that the employee themselves, take extra caution to ensure their travel time is safe. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers these work-related safe driving tips: Stay Safe Use a seat belt at all times – driver and passenger(s). Be well-rested before driving. Avoid taking medications that make you drowsy. Set a realistic goal for the number of miles that you can drive safely each day. If you are impaired by alcohol or any drug, do not drive. Stay Focused Driving requires your full attention. Avoid distractions, such as adjusting the radio or other controls, eating or drinking, and talking on the phone. Continually search the roadway to be alert to situations requiring quick action. Stop about every two hours for a break. Get out of the vehicle to stretch, take a walk, and get refreshed. Avoid Aggressive Driving Keep your cool in traffic! Be patient and courteous to other drivers. Do not take other drivers’ actions personally. Reduce your stress by planning your route ahead of time (bring the maps and directions), allowing plenty of travel time, and avoiding crowded roadways and busy driving times. The perceived need to multitask while driving during your workday can be deadly. Follow the above safety tips and remember that when you’re behind the wheel, driving is your only job. You can keep yourself, and those you share the road with, safe. If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury while driving during the workday, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Attorney

Distracted Driving | Devices on the Road

Personal Injury Attorney | Distracted Driving An experienced Personal Injury Attorney can inform you of your rights if you or someone you love is injured in a motor vehicle accident due to distracted driving. Distracted driving has existed just as long as the vehicle. Defined as anything that takes your attention away from the act of driving, “distracted driving” covers all manner of activities commonly occurring on our roads everyday. Smoking, eating and adjusting the radio are all forms of distracted driving. All of these activities can be deadly when behind the wheel. However, there is another that gets particular attention, cellphone use. Forty-eight states have created laws governing device use in vehicles. High visibility campaigns aim to bring awareness to the extreme dangers of distracted driving. To understand more about why devices are so dangerous to drivers, it’s important to understand the three types of distraction. These are: Visual: Takes your eyes off the road. Manual: Takes your hands off the wheel. Cognitive: Takes your mind off driving. Texting and driving have been noted as the most dangerous distraction because it encompasses all three of these categories. What are the facts? Simply reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. This is enough time to cross a football field at 55 miles per hour. Studies show that concern over the safety of driving while texting is decreasing. At the very least, more and more people are becoming increasingly distracted and less sensitive to the dangers of operating a device and a vehicle simultaneously. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 660,000 people in the U.S. are using phones or devices behind the wheel every day. Over the last five years, approximately 13% of distracted driving crashes involved the use of a cellphone. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 31.5% of drivers admitted to typing a message while driving. The age group most affected by distracted driving fatalities are those under the age of twenty. What are the laws? Laws against cellphone use are governed at the state level at this time. In 2001, New York passed the first law banning handheld cellphones use while driving. In 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), while having no enforcement authority, did recommend the ban of cellphone use in all states, the first federal agency to do so. Currently, the laws are as follows: 15 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam ban drivers from hand-held phone use. 38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers, and 20 states and D.C. prohibit it for school bus drivers. 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam ban texting while driving. Distracted driving can be fatal. Before engaging with your device while driving, consider the dangerous possibilities. Model proper device responsibility around novice drivers, take the pledge and help keep the roads safe. If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury due to distracted driving, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury attorney at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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