Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

San Francisco Legal Blog

The dangers of having a teenager behind the wheel

Parents of teenagers in California have a lot to be concerned about, and if their teens are driving there are even more reasons to worry. Teenagers are at the highest risk of car accidents, and many of these are serious or even fatal. With the high prevalence of crashes, teens need to be trained to practice extra caution behind the wheel.

According to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles, teenage drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 have the most traffic violations and accidents every year compared to all other drivers. The causes for fatal crashes include:

  • Speeding
  • Turning improperly
  • Not obeying the right of way
  • Passing or changing lanes
  • Lack of signaling
  • Drugs and/or alcohol
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road

Tips to drive safer on wet roads

Traffic congestion during the daily commute is part of the driving experience in northern California. However, when roads are wet, the conditions can go from frustrating to dangerous. At Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP, we often represent clients who have been severely injured in a multi-car accident as a result of poor road conditions.

The Mercury News reports that a driver can lose control of their vehicle in as little as six inches of water. If the roads are filled with commuters, many drivers may lose control simultaneously, increasing the likelihood of you becoming involved in an accident. Here are some tips for driving on wet roads can help you avoid potential hazards.

Exposed blind cords will be removed from market by 2019

Many of us grew up with blinds that used hanging cords to adjust the amount of light exposure. As a child, you probably played with these cords at least once, rather than using them for their intended purpose.

Almost any household object can become a plaything in the eyes of a child - this one, however, has turned deadly more often than you might think.

Having an accident reconstructionist as an expert witness

Minor fender benders are part of life as a driver in California, and you may be familiar with the steps needed to file a claim and report the incident. The process is more complex when a crash involves fatalities, catastrophic injuries and multiple vehicles. At Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP, our experienced team often represents clients injured in devastating car accidents.

Whether on the freeway or community streets, there are frequently many contributing factors of multi-car wrecks. Each person involved has a perspective formed from within the limited scope of their vehicle. Eyewitnesses who may have been on foot or near the accident when it occurred have a different viewpoint but still shaped from a fixed position. According to AMIS/ Alliance Marketing & Insurance Services, this is when an accident reconstructionist is most valuable.

Study: Are hands-free cellphones truly safe?

If you have used your cellphone while behind the wheel, you are not alone. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 660,000 people use their cellphone while behind the wheel at any given time of the day. As a result, thousands of people are killed and injured in distracted driving car accidents every year. As a way to minimize this risk of accidents, injury and death, you may have replaced your hand-held cellphone with a hands-free variety. You may be surprised to learn, however, that even by doing so, you are still at risk of becoming involved in car accident due to cognitive distraction.

AAA released a study that measured the amount of cognitive distraction caused by drivers who engaged in several different tasks, including listening to the radio, listening to a book-on-tape, talking to a passenger in the vehicle, using a hand-held and hands-free cellphone and using voice-activated technology to compose an email. As drivers engaged in these tasks, researchers measured their heart rate, brain activity, eye movement and response time. The results showed that when drivers used a hands-free cellphone, they were only slightly less distracted than they were when using a hand-held cellphone.

Drive safely in fog

Many drivers in California do not have to worry about driving in snowy or icy conditions, but fog can be a problem. Fog occurs most commonly during the night and in the early to mid-morning hours. Even a little fog can be detrimental to drivers, but it can be particularly dangerous when it is very heavy and dense, so drivers should know how to drive in it to prevent accidents with other motorists.

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, fog is made up of tiny droplets of water, and it suspends in cloud-form just above the ground, making it very difficult to see. A heavy fog advisory means that drivers cannot see more than a quarter of a mile in front of them, and this can lead to serious, and even fatal, crashes. It can even become thicker as you are driving, making it almost impossible to see other vehicles and the lines of the road. Some tips for safe driving in these conditions include:

  • Use your 4-way flashers so others can see you
  • Use the defroster and windshield wipers to keep your windows as clear as possible
  • Do not pass others or change lanes unless necessary
  • Turn off cruise control

The risks of riding in a limo

Riding in a limo in California is typically associated with fun and special events such as weddings, bachelorette parties, birthday celebrations and wine tasting with friends. While no one wants to think about bad things during these events, passengers should be aware of some of the dangers related to riding in these luxury vehicles. 

The New York Times reports on a recent accident involving a limousine that killed 20 people, making it the deadliest transportation accident in the country since 2009. While investigations are still being conducted to find out exactly what caused the accident, the lack of safety regulations of limos put passengers in greater danger when accidents do occur.

Business owners and car wrecks

If you own a business, you may face a lot of stressors every day. For example, you could be worried about sales, issues involving some of your clients or problems with staff members, to name just a few challenges business owners face. Moreover, you may have to drive around frequently and answer your phone throughout the day. Unfortunately, this could increase the likelihood of an auto accident that may create far more serious challenges, such as a devastating injury, financial hardships or even the loss of your life. Furthermore, even if you drive responsibly, another driver could cause you to become involved in an accident.

There are many different risk factors that may increase the chances of a business owner finding themselves in a traffic crash. For example, some business owners have to stay up late in order to complete important tasks, which may leave them sleep deprived and lead to an accident caused by driver fatigue. Answering cell phones and sending messages can result in distracted driving and there are other serious risks that business owners encounter on the road. Road safety should always be on your mind when you are behind the wheel and if you ever find yourself in a collision, it is important to be aware of the legal options you might have.

Bus driver's illegal U-turn responsible for violent collision

When mass transit companies hire drivers to man their fleet, they often require that each candidate provide adequate proof that they are eligible to be driving legally in California. Along with this confirmation, they require their drivers to undergo so much training to verify that their driving skills and awareness are in line with company policies and requirements. However, a closer look at a person's driving history including a thorough background check, is often not required by many transit companies. 

This could all change with the significant push in awareness created by a father who suffered a traumatic loss after a bus driver made an illegal U-turn that caused a violent collision. The accident happened in Paramus, New Jersey when a group of elementary students and their accompanying teachers and chaperones were on their way to a field trip. Their bus driver missed his exit and pulled into an area that was designated as a turnaround for authorities. In the process of making an illegal U-turn, the bus was hit by a dump truck. 

How to drive safe with a kid in the car

If you are a parent in California, you probably understand how distracting it can be to ride with your kid in the car. When you take into account trying to stop a crying baby, handing back food, looking over your shoulder to look at your child and the tiredness that accompanies being a parent, studies have shown that driving with kids in the car is one of the most distracting things you can do. Taking certain steps can help prevent an increase in accidents due to these distractions.

According to Medical Daily, a study showed that driving with kids is actually 12 times riskier than driving while using a cell phone. The types of distraction include turning around, handing the child a toy or food, conversing with the child and playing. 


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