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Carlsbad Personal Injury Attorney Discusses San Diego Back Over Accidents

Back over accidents are serious and can result in life threatening injuries.  A back over accident occurs when a person, typically a child, is struck as a vehicle backs out of a driveway or parking spot. In the United States, tragic back over accidents are more prevalent that you think, with nearly 50 occurring each week nationwide.  In fact, back over accidents kill more than 100 children per year, the majority of whom are between the ages of 1 and 2.

Just this past October, a Ramona toddler was fatally injured when her mother backed the family’s minivan out of the driveway and struck her.  Another child was killed in Normal Heights as his caretaker’s daughter was leaving their home and hit him as he played in the driveway.  According to back over accident experts, in about 70% of these types of accidents, the driver is related to a child, and is either a parent or close relative.  Moreover, minivans are a common culprit in these types of accidents since their blind spots are larger than other vehicles.  Specifically, the average length of a rear view blind spot for the average driver (of 5’8” height) is approximately 12 feet 6 inches for a sedan-sized vehicle, while a driver of a minivan has a blind spot of about 15 feet 4 inches.

The unfortunate part of back over accidents is that all of them could easily have been prevented.  With thousands of children being involved in these accidents across the U.S., it is important for parents and others to take certain life-saving precautions.  These include:

  • Walk around your vehicle and inspect the entire area before getting in.  This critical step helps to ensure that nothing, including pets, toys, and children are in the way when you back your vehicle out of the garage/driveway.
  • Do not let kids play in your driveway.  Driveways are dangerous and as such, are not a proper playground for children.  If you do not have sufficient yard space, consider alternatives such as a park or soccer field that is safe and enables your children to more freely move around. If you do have a backyard, instruct your children to play there instead of the road or driveway.
  • Talk to your children about driveway safety.  Regardless of whether your children play in the driveway or not, it is important for you to advise them of the safety steps they can take to avoid injury.  This includes telling them to find a safe spot when someone is either pulling in or out and waiting to resume play until an arriving vehicle has been completely shut off/a departing vehicle is well on its way down the road.
  • Hold your kids hands.  This is a simple, yet essential step you can take to ensure your kids’ safety.  Teach your kids to assume that cars will not always see them, and that is important to hold your hand when around cars, on a sidewalk, and in a parking lot or driveway.

To learn more about child driveway safety, consult the Safe Kids WorldwideTM (SKWW) website.  SKWW, an international non-profit organization dedicated to preventing childhood injuries, has a significant amount of information regarding driveway safety tips, which we recommend that you review.  Also, contact an experienced San Diego pedestrian attorney if you or someone you love was injured in a back over accident.

Were You Injured in a Pedestrian Accident?  Contact the Skolnick Law Group Now!

If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to take legal action now. At the Skolnick Law Group,we will advise you of all your legal options and, help maximize your chances of recovering the money that you deserve for your losses.  We serve clients in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos and throughout North County San Diego.  Contact us today at (760) 405-4397, or, feel free to visit us online to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation. We have evening and weekend appointments available, and will also visit you at home in the event you can’t come to us.  We look forward to providing you with superior legal representation.

Skolnick Law Group Discusses The Prevalence of Distracted Driving in California

Texting, talking, or sending emails while driving remains one of the biggest safety concerns on the road.  According California’s 2012 annual “Statewide Traffic Safety Survey,” 60% of drivers in California have been hit or nearly hit by another person who was texting or talking on their cell phone while driving.  Equally alarming is the fact that nearly 45% of California drivers admit to driver error as a result of using a cell phone when behind the wheel.  As a result of these surprising statistics, the State of California has taken significant measures to reduce the prevalence of distracted driving-related accidents. Specifically, the first two laws ban drivers from using handheld cell phones and also, prohibit drivers who are eighteen years or younger from using hands-free devices while operating a vehicle.  The third law prohibits sending text messages while driving.  For additional information on California’s cellular phone laws, you can visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ website.

California Cellular Phone Laws Explained

California, along with several other states, has enacted laws prohibiting the use of handheld cellular phones while driving.  The first law, California Vehicle Code [VC] §23123, specifically forbids people from operating a vehicle while using a handheld phone however, passengers are not subject to said restriction.  Additionally, all drivers, whether they be residents of the State or not, are held to the same standard.  The only exceptions to this law is that people can use their handheld devices to call for emergency assistance, place calls while operating an official emergency vehicle, or, use their phones while operating vehicles on their privately owned land.

If a person is caught violating the handheld cell phone law, the first fine that can be imposed is $76.00, while a second violation costs $190.00.  Although a traffic violation (i.e., moving violation) can amount to points assessed against your driver’s license, a violation of the aforesaid law does not count as a point.  Keep in mind that a California police officer has the right to pull you over and give you a ticket for failing to adhere to the law.

As for California’s second law, California Vehicle Code [VC] §23123.5, it places certain restrictions on the use of hands-free devices, which differ based upon the age of driver. Specifically, for California drivers aged eighteen or older, hands-free devices such as Bluetooth, speakerphones or ear pieces are allowed however, earpieces cannot be used to cover both ears.  Drivers can dial their phones while driving however, they are strongly urged to pull over or stop before doing so.

For drivers less than eighteen, they are not allowed to use a cell phone under any circumstances unless due to an emergency.  If someone under the age of eighteen is caught using a cell phone, the fine for a first offense is $76.00, which a second violation costing $190.00.  Moreover, the prohibition against the use of hands-free devices in minor drivers constitutes a secondary offense, meaning that a police officer must have another independent and legally legitimate reason for pulling you over.  In other words, if a teen is caught driving while using a cell phone, they cannot be pulled over for said infraction unless they violated another law, such as failing to use their turn signal, etc.

Lastly, the third law in California pertains to the prohibition imposed on texting while driving (California Vehicle Code [VC] §23124.  If you are caught texting, writing emails, or reading texts while driving, you can be imposed a $20.00 fine initially, and $50.00 for each subsequently imposed violation.

As evident from the foregoing, the State of California has recognized the importance of restricting people’s usage of cell phones while driving.  With nearly 25% of accidents in the Unites States caused by distracted drivers, the State of California realized that it had to take some serious and proactive measures to protect drivers within its borders.  The hope is that all states follow in California’s footsteps, as the use of cell phones while driving can lead to life threatening and sometimes fatal injuries.

Contact the Skolnick Law Group Now for the Personal Attention You Deserve!

If you or someone you know has been injured by a distracted driver in California, it is crucial that you hire an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases.  At the Skolnick Law Group, we will fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve.  We will also take the time necessary to answer all of your questions, guide you through the legal process, and assist you in making informed decisions about your case.  We serve clients in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos and throughout North County San Diego. To learn more about the firm’s comprehensive legal services, contact us at (760) 405-4397, or, feel free to visit us online to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation. We have evening and weekend appointments available, and will also visit you at home in the event you can’t come to us.  Don’t wait – give us a call now for the personal attention and aggressive representation you need.

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