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Bakersfield Personal Injury Law Blog

Reducing traffic fatalities among teen drivers

Teen drivers in California and throughout the country may be in more danger on the road based on statistics showing that for the first time since 2007, traffic fatalities are on the rise. Furthermore, in 2015, the percentage increase over the previous year was the largest in five decades. The leading cause of death for teenagers is car accidents, and a Governors Highway Safety Association report found that the largest percentage increase in fatalities on the road between 2014 and 2015 was among teenagers. Around 3,000 teenagers die each year in motor vehicle accidents.

One question is why overall fatalities are on the rise just as safety technology has increased. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that human error, and distracted driving in particular, were responsible for a significant proportion of the increase. Fatalities due to distracted driving went up almost 9 percent in 2015 while those from failing to wear seat belts increased almost 5 percent and those associated with speeding or impaired driving went up around 3 percent each.

FDA issues warning about homeopathic teething products

California parents of teething babies often use teething tablets and gels to help soothe their children. However, the safety of these products has been questioned. Though there was no official product recall announced, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to consumers on Oct. 12 about homeopathic teething tablets.

According to the FDA, there have been 400 adverse events and 10 deaths reported over the past six years that may have been linked to the use of homeopathic teething tablets. The children had all used homeopathic teething products, and the FDA is currently investigating whether the teething products caused the medical emergencies. Some of the adverse events included sleepiness, shortness of breath, vomiting, fever and tremors.

Government proposes no traffic fatalities within 30 years

California drivers could see safer roads in the years ahead thanks to an initiative by the U.S. Department of Transportation than aims to eliminate deaths and injuries in traffic accidents within 30 years. While much of the safety planning will be driven by the development of technology and fully autonomous vehicles, on Oct. 5, officials announced some new initiatives. The agency plans to promote the use of rumble strips and encourage seat belt use while educating the public about the dangers of distracted and drunken driving.

In 1997, Sweden proposed a similar plan, Vision Zero, and other places have picked up on the initiative. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called on drivers, safety advocates, government and industry to rethink safety and commit to the agency's goal.

1 killed in California accident

One person is dead following a multi-vehicle crash on Highway 120 in Manteca. The fatal accident occurred during the evening hours of Oct. 3.

According to preliminary investigations, the chain-reaction collision occurred on Highway 120 at Main Street when an eastbound semitrailer was unable to stop as it approached several vehicles that were stopped or traveling slowly. The first vehicle the big rig smashed into was the back of a Chevy pickup truck. The collision sent the truck into the back of another car, a Honda Accord. In the second impact, the Honda flipped and collided with a Mercedes, which collided with a Chevy sedan and then flipped and stuck a Chevy SUV, causing it also to overturn. As for the Honda Accord, after it smashed into the Mercedes, it continued into the right shoulder of the roadway where it then burst into flames.

2 teenagers killed in a car crash

California motorists should always be careful to maintain safe driving habits while on the road. On Sept. 16, 2016, a car accident involving five teenagers occurred near Bakersfield in the city of Arvin. Two of the teenagers died as a result of the single-vehicle crash. The California Highway Patrol reported that the five teenagers, whose ages ranged from 14 to 16 years old, were traveling on Malaga Road located just north of Buena Vista Boulevard at 11:00 p.m. on Friday night. The unidentified driver of the vehicle was driving at a high rate of speed and failed to obey a stop sign located at the intersection.

Due to a cause that has yet to be determined, the driver lost control of the vehicle, which swerved off of the road and struck a dirt mound. The high rate of speed at which the vehicle was traveling and the force of the impact caused the vehicle to roll over multiple times.

Samsung recalls smartphones due to battery fires

California residents who have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone may be interested to learn that the company recalled all of the ones that have been sold due to reported incidents of battery fires. The recall reportedly affects approximately 1 million smartphones.

The problem with these particular phones is likely associated with the fact that the batteries are lithium ion. These batteries have a highly flammable liquid that gives the phone power. If the battery becomes compromised in some way, such as a puncture through the plastic that separates the positive and negative sides, it could short circuit and catch fire or explode. In order to fix the problem, Samsung was offering full refunds for the phones or an exchange for a Note 7 that had a battery pack provided by a different supplier. Those who do not exchange their phones may find their battery life drastically reduced.

California man killed in possible drunk driving crash

An automobile accident on the evening of Sept. 10 along a road east of Bakersfield left a 58-year-old Lamont man dead and at least three others injured. The accident involved multiple vehicles and is believed to have been caused by a drunk driver.

According to information released by the California Highway Patrol, the fatal motor vehicle crash occurred at approximately 9 p.m. on Panama Road. A 28-year-old Bakersfield man traveling westbound in a 1996 Isuzu pickup truck tried to pass a 1991 Mustang and collided with a 2008 Mercedes driven by a 29-year-old Bakersfield woman traveling eastbound. The impact caused the Mercedes to collide with the left side of the Mustang, making the driver lose control and go off of the roadway. The driver of the Isuzu pickup truck then proceeded to strike the driver's side of a Toyota Camry that was also traveling eastbound, before flipping over and skidding into a Mitsubishi Mirage stopped along the south side of the road.

Car accident fatalities climb in 2015

California drivers may not be as safe on the road as they were in recent years. This is based on statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showing a 7.2 percent increase in car accident fatalities around the country in 2015. Not since 1966 has such a large percentage increase occurred, and as a result, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has asked the public and experts to help bring the numbers back down again.

The total number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2015 was 35,092. This was still significantly lower than the figure of 42,708 from a decade earlier, but officials say one reason for concern is that the number had been dropping steadily. The decrease was attributed to fewer drunk drivers, more seat belt users and improving safety technology including electronic stability control and air bags.

Federal agencies pushing for speed limiters on large trucks

In California as well as in the rest of the nation, commercial trucks may soon have speed limiting devices mandated by the federal government. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have proposed a regulation that would require the installation of speed limiters on most commercial trucks and buses.

The two agencies are proposing limiting the speed of vehicles weighing in excess of 26,000 pounds to 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour. The regulation is open for public comment. On average, more than 1,000 fatal commercial vehicle accidents take place every year. The NHTSA and the FMCSA hope that the regulations would reduce the number of fatalities that occur.

Alcohol consumption not ruled out in fatal crash

Police in California say that alcohol consumption or drug use have not been ruled out as possible causes of a fatal wrong-way crash involving three vehicles on the morning of Aug. 11 in Sonoma County. The accident claimed the life of a 41-year-old Vacaville man and left a 41-year-old Woodland woman seriously injured. The crash took place on Alexander Valley Road near Healdsburg at approximately 10:00 a.m.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the fatal accident was caused by the driver of a Honda Accord who was proceeding eastbound in the westbound lane of Alexander Valley Road near Soda Rock Lane when he came upon an oncoming GMC SUV and Kia sedan. Police say that the driver of the SUV swerved to avoid a head-on collision, but his vehicle still struck the side of the Honda as the two vehicles passed one another. The woman behind the wheel of the Kia was given very little time to react, and she was unable to avoid striking the oncoming Honda head-on.

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Bakersfield, CA 93301
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