Text, Drive and Kill: Go To Jail

I'm burning mad. It takes a moment to pull over to read or respond to a text, to program your GPS, to dial the phone (should you not have voice command) yet people do it while their car is moving.  And, more importantly, while other cars, bicyclists, pedestrians, cats and dogs are moving.  And while buildings are stationary.  Taking our eyes off the road seems harmless enough but it can cause injury and death.

 

In New Hampshire, 18 year old Aaron Deveau was sentenced to jail for vehicular manslaughter.  He was convicted of causing an accident which never, ever would have happened had he been watching the road.  Instead, he was texting his girlfriend. Now an innocent 55 year old grandfather has been taken from his family. His girlfriend was critically injured.  And Aaron will spend, at most, one year in jail.  And, oh yeah, his driver's license will be suspended for 15 years.

This is unconscionable.  This must stop. 

Write to your legislators and tell them NO MORE (US House of Reprentatives).

Click here to Find out which states have Cell Phone & Texting Laws in U.S. (A Chart provided by Governors Highway Safety Association)

 

Texting While Driving Kills

Representing injured people and the families of those who have been fatally injured is my passion.  However, I'm even more passionate about preventing those injuries and deaths.  Please watch the short video below.  More importantly, please show it to young people who may not realize how texting, while driving, kills.  In more general terms, "distracted driving" kills.

 

Faces of Distracted Driving: Margay Schee, 13

 

On September 23, 2008, 13-year-old Margay Schee was riding home from school when a semi-truck slammed into the back of her school bus. She was killed when rescuers were unable to get her out of the burning wreckage. The truck driver was talking on his cell phone at the time of crash and said he never saw the bus.

Margay's mother, Elissa Schee, is a founding board member of FocusDriven, the first national nonprofit organization devoted specifically to raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

For more information, please visit www.distraction.gov. To share your story, upload a video to YouTube and email the link to faces@distraction.gov

Are You Willing To Risk Lives Just So You Can Send a Text Message?


Texting no joke                
What is
your reaction when you see someone texting while driving or gabbing away on
with the cell phone to their ear while behind the wheel?  Generally speaking, I don’t notice someone
engaged in these (or similar) activities unless I’m behind them waiting for
them to finally realize that the light has turned green and it’s their turn to
go.  And, of course, it’s always a fun
challenge to avoid the car that just swerved into my lane because they’re
answering that all-important text message or e-mail.  Oh, yeah, and the other day when a woman
pulled out of her parking space and made a u-turn right in front of me.  Naturally, I understood her situation and
didn’t mind laying down skid marks to avoid t-boning her car because, after
all, she was engaged in what appeared to be a life-changing conversation with someone
on the other end of the cell phone that was glued to her ear.

The Responsibility Project: Liberty Mutual Insurance

                Liberty
Mutual Insurance
has initiated the Responsibility Project which basically rails
against texting-while-driving.  They ask "Are You Willing To Risk Lives Just So You Can Send a Text Message?: Their
video, No Phone Zone Day is, well to say the least, an excellent portrayal of
the dangers and horrors of texting-while-driving while not being in your face.

            Even Oprah Winfrey has made a Public Service Announcement about not texting-while-driving

Teen Arraigned in Texting-While-Driving Hit-and-Run

                Newsflash:
Guilford (CT) teen arraigned in texting while
driving hit-and-run
.  I’m curious to
know what you think about this situation. 
The comments at the end of the article are pretty telling as to most
people’s sentiment.  Apparently, this
young driver struck a pedestrian and her dog.  He admitted to police that he was so engrossed
in his texting that he thought he merely hit a bush and continued on his merry
way. 

Tell-Tale Signs of Texting-While-Driving

                This
got me to thinking: What are the tell-tale signs of texting while driving?  According to an article in Cincinnati.com by
Emily Ulber entitled Police
Are Alert to Tell-Tale Signs of Texting While Driving
, Tom Scheben, a
spokesman for the Boone County (OH) Sheriff’s Office, there are a few tell-tale
signs:

·        
Unnecessarily slowing down with sudden braking
(perhaps when they look up from their phone,  they suddenly realize the car in front of them
has just stopped)

·        
Being stopped at stop sign with head down and no
hands on the steering wheel

One Solution

Textecution

One solution to the texting-while-driving
problem is Textecution which “kills
texting functions while driving…”  The makers
of Textecution describe their
product: “Textecution™ is a user-friendly application that completely disables
texting while driving. Textecution™ is designed for parents to install on their
teenage driver's phone so they know their child is safer behind the wheel of
the vehicle. Add immediate peace of mind, security, and safety today with
Textecution™.  (Rest assured I have no financial
stake in this product – I just found it on line today)

Links to Dangers of Texting-While-Driving

Blackberry keyboard FCC: The Dangers of Texting While Driving

Car & Driver Magazine: If Drivers Aren't Allowed to Watch TV in Cars, Why are Texting and E-mailing Legal?

Herald-Democrat: Texting Whie Driving: A Deathly Danger

PC World: Surprise: Texting While Driving Is Dangerous!

Lowell Steiger's Los Angeles Law Blog: More Links to Dangers of Texting While Driving

Questions?
Concerns?

If You, Or Someone You Know, Was In an Accident

Call For Your Free Consultation

Please Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger
Immediately at

              (323) 852-1100       or (877) 487-8221 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (877) 487-8221      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

lowell@steigerlaw.com

Skype (with or without video): Lowell_Steiger

"Treated With the
Respect and Understanding That You Deserve"

Disturbing Car Accident Compilation Video: This Could Happen To You

This could happen to you.  Every disturbing, graphic car accident in this video could happen to you, to me, to any one of us or our loved ones.  Pay attention on the road.  One millisecond of inattention can change someone's life, and the lives of their loved ones, forever… and ever.

The original video was posted by Tanvir Ahmad on Facebook and, after some sniffing around on  Youtube, I was able to find it.  I've only been able to watch parts of it, it was too disturbing for me to watch in its entirety.  You may be braver.  I'd like your comments.

The message, though, is clear:

  • Don't drink and drive
  • Don't speed
  • Don't text and drive
  • Don't road rage
  • Be patient when driving

Questions?
Concerns?

If You, Or Someone You Know, Was In an Accident

Call For Your Free Consultation

Please Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger
Immediately at

(323) 852-1100 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting

              (323) 852-1100       or (877) 487-8221
end_of_the_skype_highlighting

lowell@steigerlaw.com

Skype (with or without video): Lowell_Steiger

"Treated With the
Respect and Understanding That You Deserve"

Deadly Fun: Texting While Driving

The New England Journal of Medicine just published an article entitled The Most Primary of Care – Talk About Driving and Distraction by Amy N. Ship, M.D. 

Dr.Ship references a British Public Service announcement.  Watch this. Show it to your kids.  

Questions?
Concerns? 

For a Free Consultation please contact Attorney Lowell Steiger
immediately at

(323) 852-1100

lowell@steigerlaw.com

Skype (with or without video): Lowell_Steiger

"Treated With the
Respect and Understanding That You Deserve"

Twittering While Driving (TWD): Danger Abounds!

Twitterphone Twitter is the new rage but where it’s used can be outrageously dangerous. But wait!  Before you think I’m anti-Twitter, please be sure that I am all for Twitter!  I have a Twitter account with the screenname steigerlaw which, as of today, boasts 1,225 followers, and growing.  And I’m following 1,800+ Twitterers as well (and growing).  It’s productive, addictive and fun.  I keep my Twittering professional — i.e., my Tweets (messages) are generally relevant to law related subjects save a few transgressions such as when I tout the Daily Puppy photo website because I’m a dog lover and think looking at puppy pictures  is  a great way to start the day.

For the uniniated, are you asking yourself “What the heck is Twitter?” Good question.  Twitter is a social networking phenomenon that is best understood by plunging in and just twittering.  It’s free and easy.  To take the blind plunge, click here.  However, for a great explanation of Twitter, click here

You Can Follow me on Twitter(but not while you’re driving)

Okay, let me get to the heart of this post: What I fear with Twitter is the addiction that seems to be inherent in all social media today.  We can’t wait to respond to a Tweet (Twitter message).  And now we can do it from our cell phones while driving!  Naturally, I have no problem with someone sitting in front of their desktop or laptop 24 hours a day and tweeting themselves into oblivion.  What I do have a problem with is the danger that we expose ourselves and other to when Tweeting while Driving.  (See my prior posts on texting while driving)  A typical tweet is up to 140 characters (maybe about 20 words give or take) and can have links to other websites.  A person can get completely wrapped up in a tweet and wind up with a pedestrian as a hood ornament.  Although my presentation here is tongue -in-cheek, being a lawyer who zealously and passionately represents injured people, I see the handwriting on the wall and it’s not pretty.  I’m not looking forward to a call from the daughter of an elderly pedestrian who was killed in a crosswalk because someone couldn’t wait to get to their computer to respond to a Tweet.

According to a recent article entitled Fatal Distractions in the British publication Newspress, a study was conducted by the British insurance company Esure.  The article states that according to that study, “nearly one in ten (nine per cent) motorists questioned are using mobile internet services and social networks whilst driving – to tweet, text and update their Facebook profiles.” 

The article reports the 10 top Tweets during the week prior to the article’s publication:

  1. “Driving with my knees and peeling an orange…Probably not the safest thing to be doing.”
  2. “Driving school bus”
  3. “Irresponsible twitter driving woo!”
  4. “Driving up to Newcastle while we Tweet!”
  5. “Driving home in the rain…almost crashed!”
  6. “Trying my best to stay awake while driving”
  7. “Awake, hungover, and driving”
  8. “Is it wise to use Twitter while driving? Probably not”
  9. “Intoxicated driving. Let’s hope this works out”
  10. “Twittering and driving…”

OnStar_Twitter And now it is rumored that the General Motors On-Star feature will interface with Twitter.  According to the Technology Expert Blog

“While in your vehicle, you can use OnStar to submit and retrieve
tweets (messages) via your Twitter account. Using OnStar’s
Voice-Activated Hands-Free Calling system, and having your voice
converted into text, you can provide updates which would appear in the
‘What are you doing?’ section of your Twitter homepage. It is also
possible to listen to a tweet that was sent to you by someone else
after it has been converted into voice. You can send and receive tweets
without having to type or read anything.”

Finally, the Twittering While Driving phenomenon has gotten the attention of lawmakers.  Here is a video clip of Democratic Tennessee Sen. Douglas Henry voicing (not Twittering) his opinion:

Please Follow me on Twitter

If
you, or someone you know, has been injured in a motorcycle or
automobile (or similar) accident, please call me, Lowell Steiger,
immediately at

(323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

“Treated With the Respect That You Deserve”

2009 Laws: Text Messaging in California Video – Don’t Do It While Driving!

TextmessagedrivingWe all know how dangerous and annoying it is to text while driving.  How about the person crawling in front of you at 10 miles per hour because they’re “safely” texting.  Don’t think that this little stunt increases safety!  Or the person so involved in their texting that they don’t notice the car in front of them coming to a halt?  Well, California has taken care of this issue once and for all (we hope).  See video below.

This new law makes it an infraction to write, send, or read
text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications
device, such as a cell phone, while driving a motor vehicle in
California. Previously this was only illegal for individuals under 18
years of age, but now has been expanded to all drivers.

You Can Follow me on Twitter

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at

(323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

“Treated With the Respect That You Deserve”

New California Vehicle Laws for 2009: Zero Tolerance DUI; No Text Messaging

Chp badge With a new year on the horizon, CHP wants to remind motorists of a handful of new laws that go into effect in 2009.

"The overall safety of the motoring public is our primary concern," says CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "Not only will these new laws enhance a motorist's safety, many of them are a step toward ridding the roadways of drunk drivers and the tragedy they cause."

Below are the  changes to driving regulations and vehicle equipment.

Texting While Driving (Video)

(SB 28, Simitian) This new law makes it an infraction to write, send, or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications device, such as a cell phone, while driving a motor vehicle. Previously this was only illegal for individuals under 18 years of age, but now has been expanded to all drivers.

Driving Under the Influence: Zero Tolerance (Video)

(AB 1165, Maze) This new law prohibits a convicted DUI offender from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .01 percent or greater while on probation for DUI. The law requires the driver to submit to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test, a portable breath test to determine the presence of alcohol. If the driver refuses, or if the driver submits and has a BAC of .01 or greater, a citation will be issued, the driver's license will be taken and driving privileges will be suspended. In addition, the vehicle will be impounded.

Ignition Interlock Devices (IID)

(SB 1190, Oropeza) This new law reduces the BAC from .20 percent to .15 percent or more at the time of arrest to trigger a requirement for the court to give heightened consideration for the installation of an IID for a first-time offender convicted of DUI of an alcoholic beverage.

Ignition Interlock Devices

(SB 1388, Torlakson) Effective July 2009, this new law transfers authority for the administration of mandatory IID programs from the state courts to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This law also authorizes the DMV to require any driver convicted of driving with a suspended license due to a prior conviction for DUI to install an IID in any vehicle that the offender owns or operates.

Alcohol-Related Reckless Driving

(AB 2802, Houston) This new law requires the court to order a person convicted of alcohol-related reckless driving to participate in a licensed DUI program for at least nine months, if that person has a prior conviction for alcohol-related reckless driving or DUI within ten years. Additionally, the court is required to revoke the person's probation for the failure to enroll in, participate in, or complete a licensed DUI program.

Global Positioning Systems (GPS)

(SB 1567, Oropeza) This new law allows a portable GPS device to be mounted in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield on the passenger side of the vehicle, or in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield on the driver's side. These are the only two locations on a windshield where a GPS device can be mounted. The GPS device can only be used for navigational purposes while the motor vehicle is being operated, and it is required to be mounted outside of an airbag deployment zone.

Motorcycles

(AB 2272, Fuentes) This new law changes the definition of a motorcycle by deleting the weight limitation and deleting the separate definition for electrically powered motorcycles. The law will now allow fully enclosed, three-wheeled vehicles to have access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes regardless of occupancy.

Clean Air Stickers: Misuse and Penalties

(SB 1720, Lowenthal) This new law makes it an infraction for anyone who forges, counterfeits, falsifies, passes, or attempts to pass, acquire possess, sell, or offer for sale a genuine or counterfeit "Clean Air Sticker."

911 Telephone System Abuse

(AB 1976, Benoit) This new law increases the penalties for any person who knowingly uses, or allows the use of, the 911 telephone system for any reason other than an emergency. Those who misuse, or allow the misuse of, the 911 telephone system are guilty of an infraction, and subject to either a written warning or a fine.

Special License Plates

(AB 190, Bass) This new law, when approved by local authorities, allows veterans whose vehicles display plates honoring Pearl Harbor Survivors, Legion of Valor recipients, former American Prisoners of War, Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, or Purple Heart recipients to park their vehicles that weigh not more than 6,000 pounds gross weight, without charge, in any metered parking space.

Studded Pneumatic Tires

(AB 1971, Portantino) This new law allows the use of pneumatic tires with retractable metal-type studs, year round, as long as the studs are retracted between May 1 through October 31. However, the law prohibits a tire with retractable metal-type studs on a vehicle from being worn to a point that the metal-type studs protrude beyond the tire tread when retracted.

Spilling Cargo Loads

(AB 2714, Keene) This new law eases restrictions on cargo loads of straw or hay to allow individual pieces that do not pose a threat to life or property, to escape from bales of straw or hay that are being transported by a vehicle upon a highway, so long as those bales are loaded and secured according to federal regulations.

Assault on Highway Workers

(SB 1509, Lowenthal) This new law provides an increased penalty for assault and battery crimes committed against Caltrans highway workers who are engaged in the performance of their duties. 

 

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at

(323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

Link of the Day: Report Dangerous Drivers.com

Plate-nv    Plate-ca  Plate-pa 

Will wonders never cease?  What an incredible website has now graced the Internet! www.reportdangerousdrivers.com is the ultimate in real life George Orwell (ianism).  This site has special meaning to me since part of my practice revolves around representing fault-free people who've been injured at the hands of reckless drivers.  I get enraged when I see the senseless physical and emotional pain that my clients go through because someone wasn't paying attention or, worse, was driving erratically or angrily (can you say "road rage?").  This moment of dangerous driving changes innocent lives forever.

From the home page of www.reportdangerousdrivers.com comes their description and reason for existence:

Over 40,000 people are killed every year on American roads and highways and many of those deaths are directly attributable to reckless drivers.  This website allows you to report dangerous drivers of any motor vehicle, including cars, trucks and motorcycles.  When you witness a dangerous driving incident, simply get the license plate number of the vehicle.  Then you will be able to post this incident on this website.  An anonymous violation report is very easy to post, it takes just a few seconds to complete. After a violation report is posted, interested parties are notified via email and when possible, the owner of the vehicle is notified via mail of this violation.

With a searchable database that requires only the license plate number and the state of the plate, you can search for violation reports on any vehicle.  This will give the public an opportunity to keep tabs on certain vehicles by viewing violation reports that have been previously filed.  It's also very useful to parents who'd like to know if their children are driving safely.  Additionally, company owned cars, trucks and service vehicles can be tracked to ensure that they are being operated in a safe manner. 

Many of us see dangerous driving everyday. Now, you will be able to file reports on those people that put so many innocent lives at risk. A variety of violations can be reported, for example: speeding, running red lights, road rage, tailgating, school zone violations or using cell phones in a reckless manner. click here to see a summary of recently reported violations.  

Here's a smattering of the violation categories that you will find: Speeding, tailgating, reckless driving, road rage, driving too slowly and, of course my all-time favorite, cell phone stupid.

Tailgating  Eating while driving  Cell phone while driving  Your speed 

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at

(323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"