Most SUV and Crossover Headlights Fail This New Test

POSTED BY Jon Corra . April 18, 2018

When you are in the process of purchasing your next vehicle, there’s a good chance safety will be a top priority in your selection. Modern cars are safe. They have crash avoidance systems, blind spot monitoring, and some cars even have autonomous features. However, a recent study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety found that one of the oldest features of our cars could be making them unsafe.

Every street-legal car must have headlights. Headlights have been a part of passenger cars for more than a century, yet many manufacturers failed a recent headlight evaluation performed by the IIHS. Nearly 40 crossover vehicles were evaluated by the IIHS, yet only two completed the test with a passing score. This may seem odd to anyone with even a basic knowledge of the automotive industry due to the technology and advancements that have been made in headlight manufacturing over the years. For instance, many cars are now available with LED lights that burn brighter and use less energy than traditional bulbs. Other cars have lights that rotate with the car’s steering wheels. So, the news that so many vehicles didn’t pass the test is surprising, to say the least.

Why did so many vehicles fail?

The IIHS is known for their tough automotive tests. The organization also finds new ways to evaluate cars. The IIHS evaluated the headlights in the following manner:

During the Institute’s evaluations, engineers measure how far light is projected from a vehicle’s low beams and high beams as the vehicle travels straight and on curves. Glare from oncoming vehicles is also measured from low beams in each scenario to make sure it isn’t excessive.

The IIHS also stated that a car can be configured many different ways depending on trim level. Some may assume that a high-end model will perform better than its base counterpart, but that was not the case with the Kia Sorento. The high-end SXL trim of the Kia Sorento can be equipped with cure adaptive headlights. However, the IIHS found that the headlights failed to illuminate well on a straight stretch as well as left turns and gradual right turns. For instance, the Sorento’s low-beam headlights only illuminate a distance of 148 feet. In contrast, the Volvo XC 60, which was one of only two vehicles to pass this test, can illuminate 315 feet in the same scenario. The other vehicle that passed the test was the Hyundai Santa-Fe which, ironically, has the same parent company as the  Sorento, and the two vehicles share a common platform.

Why is this important?

When you test-drove your last car, did you test it at night, or did you drive it during the day? Chances are you did the latter. Most consumers don’t test the headlights when purchasing a car. Did you know approximately half of all fatal accidents occur at night?

Keep the two cars mentioned above in mind for this scenario: the Volvo illuminates twice as far as the Kia. So, if you’re driving down the interstate at night, the Volvo will illuminate an object in the road 150 feet sooner than the Kia. So, let’s say you’re approaching a disabled car which has suddenly stopped. In the Volvo, you’ll have twice as much time to avoid the car than you would in the KIA. If you can see something sooner, you can stop sooner.

Car safety is very important. However, you cannot control what other motorists do. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, call our team to discuss your options. There is no upfront cost for our consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather be called at a specific time, fill out this form so that a member of our team can call you at a time that’s best for you.

What Happens If You’re Injured On A Cruise?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . April 11, 2018

Here in West Virginia, we’ve had a tough winter. Mother Nature showed no mercy when she hit the Mid-Ohio Valley. It’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to spring, and that it’s time to start planning those early year vacations. For many people, this means taking a cruise this spring. Cruises can be a lot of fun, but they aren’t without incident. Many news stories over the past 5 years have detailed a lot of the more dramatic accidents that have occurred on cruise ships. While those large-scale disasters are rare, it’s important to know what you should do if you’re injured on a cruise this year.

The Statute of Limitations is much different for a personal injury on a cruise.

Some people may worry that they can’t pursue legal action against a cruise line because of the disclaimer they sign when they purchase a ticket. However, a legal disclaimer isn’t going to prevent all legal action. There is a difference between getting seasick on a cruise ship and receiving a physical injury due to negligence. Proving negligence is an important part of many personal injury claims, and the same is true when you’re injured on a cruise ship.

It’s important to keep the statute of limitations in mind when you’re injured on a cruise. Don’t put off filing a claim too long because it could hinder your case down the road. There are some roadblocks while you are on a cruise because there is a good chance that you are far from home. Further, unless the injury is serious enough to require evacuation by helicopter, you’ll likely have to wait a while until the ship returns to port before you can do much. However, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. In cases against a cruise liner, you may only have one year to pursue a claim. The best advice is to pursue action as soon as possible. Additional advice:

Seek treatment. Most ships have some sort of medical staff on hand to treat passengers. It’s important to be treated as soon as possible. Treating on the ship is important, but so is treating once you’ve returned to land. If your port is far from your hometown, you may want to treat with a local facility and also follow up with your primary care physician.

Don’t forget to report the incident. This may be more difficult depending on the severity of the injury, but reporting the accident will help with your case. Failing to report the injury will likely work against you. A report will help prove where the injury occurred. If you don’t report it, the cruise line may argue that your injury occurred elsewhere.

Seek witnesses. Most people don’t go on cruises alone. However, if you do, or if your family is not around, you may want to try to find witnesses. You’ll want to get their contact information in case you need their testimony later.

Don’t settle. The cruise line may want to offer you a quick gift or a free cruise to keep you from pursuing legal action, but a severe injury is likely worth more than a free cruise. It may be tempting to accept the first offer, but it almost certainly won’t make up for years of pain and suffering.

Does it matter if the cruise line is owned by a foreign company? For the most part, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, every case is different, and it depends upon which country is the home base for the cruise company. Regardless, don’t let the foreign ownership keep you from pursuing a claim.

Cruises are a lot of fun, but they can be hazardous. Knowing what to do if you’re injured can prove beneficial. If you’ve been injured on a cruise, call us today for a free consultation at our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that a member of our team can call you at a better time.

Bike Accidents: What to Do After the Crash

POSTED BY Jon Corra . February 27, 2018

Today, more and more people are taking to the streets. Fortunately, more and more cities are adding bike lanes to encourage this environmentally-friendly and heart-healthy means of getting from point A to B. Of course, if you’re a biker, you have to be on your guard. The good news is that most bicycle accidents do not involve cars. However, if you are hit by a car, it is so important to keep your wits about you as what you do in the immediate aftermath may have a big impact on how much you recover for your injuries and damage to your bike. It may also affect the outcome of any lawsuits resulting from the accident.

Wait for the Police to Arrive

It is vital that you wait for police to arrive at the accident scene so that they can take and file a police report – even if you think you are not injured. Some cyclists don’t realize they’ve been injured until several hours after the accident. And sometimes seemingly minor injuries later develop into serious and permanent problems. If you leave the accident scene, you may never be able to identify the at-fault driver.

Don’t attempt to negotiate with the driver. Many drivers initially apologize and accept blame, only to later deny their negligence or even deny they were present at the accident. Instead, wait for the police to come so they can document everything in the police report. Another advantage of waiting for the police: They may ticket the driver, which may be useful in settling the case with the insurance company.

Get Your Version of Events into the Accident Report

Sometimes, the police officer will take a statement from the motorist and not bother to talk to the cyclist. Do every­thing you can to get your side of the story into the police report. And by all means, report all of your injuries, no matter how minor. Remember, those minor injuries may later become more serious.

If despite your efforts, the police refuse to include your statement in the accident report, you can later have the report amended.

Obtain Driver and Witness Contact Information

If possible, get the name of the automobile driver, as well as his or her address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license number, and insurance information. In addition, try to get names and contact information for everyone who witnessed the accident. Don’t assume the police report will include all of this information — it might not. If you are injured and cannot get this information yourself, ask a bystander to do it for you.

Document What Happened

If you can, make mental notes about the accident: what happened; how it happened; where it occurred; when it occurred; and road, traffic, and weather conditions. Then, as soon as you are able, write all this information down.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrL7AUMT4To” width=”500″ height=”380″]

Document Your Injuries

Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they are minor. The fact that you sought medical attention will serve as proof that you were injured, and medical records will document the extent of those injuries. Have several photos taken of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Start a jour­nal of your physical symptoms and make entries every few days.

Preserve Evidence

Leave your bike and other damaged property in the same state as after the accident – don’t attempt to fix anything or have anything inspected. Don’t wash your clothing. And don’t send your bike, helmet, or any other equipment to anyone other than your attorney. Take photos of your damaged equipment.

Seek Advice from a Professional

Many accidents between bikes and cars involve complex legal issues. If you have any question, please contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at law for a free consultation. We have decades of Personal Injury experience – including bike accident cases. In the interim, do not commu­nicate with the insurance companies before contacting our team. Anything you say to the insurance company could be used against you later. Sometimes a letter from an attorney to the insurance company will resolve issues while avoid­ing legal pitfalls. In fact, most injury cases are settled without ever going to trial. If the case warrants it, we can hire a bike accident expert to investigate the accident. That expert might obtain skid mark measurements, photograph the scene, speak with additional witnesses, or measure and diagram the accident scene. In summary, if you ride, know that Jan Dils is always on your side!

Semitrailer Underride Guard Test Results Show Concern for Motorists

POSTED BY Jon Corra . February 15, 2018

80,000 pounds. That is the maximum weight of a semi-truck in the United States. The weight of the average passenger car in the US? 3,000 to 4,000 pounds.

It is common knowledge that bad wrecks and fatalities can occur when a semi-truck hits a passenger car. But what happens when the tables are turned? What chance does a regular car have when it impacts a semi-truck? More specifically, what chance does it have if it hits the rear of the trailer portion or the side of the trailer?

In recent years the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has asked these questions on a “semi” regular basis. Many are familiar with the IIHS from their appearances on the hit television series Dateline. They originally created stricter crash tests that went further than government regulations,  starting with a frontal offset test. Now, they test everything from roof stability in rollover accidents to pre-collision warning systems. However, they are currently making waves with their testing of semi-trucks. The IIHS has dedicated a lot of time and money to something they call “Truck underride guard evaluations”. In other words, this group investigates what happens to cars when they impact the sides or rear of semi-trailers. The IIHS recently held their 2nd national meeting and conference on the dangers associated with Truck underride accidents.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrL7AUMT4To” width=”500″ height=”380″]So why is the IIHS is putting so much effort into studying these accidents? One look at the crash tests will provide a frightening answer. Impacting the side or rear of a semi-trailer can be fatal, even for a car with an excellent safety rating. While every manufacturer is hedging their bets on crossovers and large trucks/SUVs, many Americans still buy cars. Traditional cars, like family sedans for instance, ride lower than a crossover or a truck. It’s easy for a car to become wedged under the trailer if it impacts the trailer from the side or rear. Depending on which trailer manufacturer is impacted, drivers can be decapitated. What the IIHS argues is that these deaths and injuries can be prevented by stronger or reinforced guards.

Currently, there are federal regulations in place for semi-trucks. The rear of every semi-trailer on the road has a guard on it to prevent a car from becoming pinned underneath. Some cars are safer than others, and the same holds true for trailer manufacturers. Some current trailer guards work very well. Others fail. Tragically, those failures can result in the loss of life.

Recently, the IIHS tested trailers from 8 different manufacturers. Each trailer was tested in scenarios mimicking a full impact, 50%, and 30% impacts. The results showed that many trailer manufacturers have made vast improvements over the past several years. However, a few manufacturers failed the test. Complete results can be found here.

Another area of concern: the sides of trailers do not have guards. Some have aftermarket materials in place to increase fuel mileage, but they do not prevent a car from being trapped. The IIHS is currently working on raising awareness for side trailer guards, as well.

Pre-collision safety systems are another issue with semi-trailers that warrants further discussion.  Depending on where the pre-collision warning camera or radar sensor is placed on a car, it may not detect the side of a trailer. If this is the case, the self-braking feature will not activate. This is believed to be the cause of a highly publicized accident involving a Tesla Model S and a semi-truck last year. Regulations for side-guards on trailers could help pre-collision systems work more effectively.

There is good news to report, though. Since the IIHS started their public awareness campaigns, several manufacturers have adapted their rear guards to pass the IIHS standards. Events like the conference bring together individuals with organizations that share the common goal of reducing accidents related to under guards.

To learn more about how the legal team from Jan Dils Attorneys at Law can help after an accident, call today for a FREE consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form and a member of the team can contact you at a better time.

How Risky Is Peer-to-Peer Transportation?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . December 20, 2017

The relatively new industry of peer-to-peer transportation is in the midst of an incredible surge in popularity and shows no signs of slowing down. Services like Uber and Lyft seem unstoppable, with the former even showing some immunity to recent bad publicity. Despite several national headlines about incidents with drivers, Uber is bigger than ever. When someone enters an Uber, they’re likely concerned about making it to their destination, their star rating, and what they have planned for that evening. Chances are, they aren’t wondering if the driver has insurance.

The Uber website takes a laid-back approach to selecting drivers. Under the requirements section of the website, Uber states that drivers must be at least 21 years

of age, have at least one year of driving experience in the U.S. (3 years if you are under 23 years old,) have a valid U.S. driver’s license, and use an eligible 4-door vehicle. It’s not until one reviews the required documents that Uber states that a driver has to have proof of insurance. In other words, Uber does require drivers to have insurance to become one of their drivers. However, it does not specify the minimum amount of coverage. It’s possible that a driver may not have enough coverage to pay your medical bills if they wreck while you’re a passenger. Further, some insurance policies are void if the driver is engaged in “for-hire” driving.

What about Lyft? Honestly, they’re just as vague. Their site does not list minimum requirements for insurance. They are, however, thorough on the vehicle requirements. Lyft also appears to be stricter regarding who can become a driver. They check a driver’s background and driving history. Uber does this too, but they aren’t as strict according to many online resources.

Both Lyft and Uber offer supplemental insurance for their drivers while they are using the app. They offer up to $1,000,000 in third party liability coverage. The collision coverage from Uber carries a $1,000 deductible. There are also a lot of rules depending upon when the accident occurs. For instance, if a driver is on his or her way to pick up a passenger, they may not be covered the same as they are with a passenger.

Some drivers may also acquire commercial vehicle insurance to help supplement their coverage. However, there is a steep additional cost for this type of insurance. Most estimate that a driver will have to pay an additional $5,000 to $7,000 per year.

Ridesharing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s important for users to be aware of how they’re covered during a ride. If you’ve been injured while in a ride-sharing car, give us a call for a Free Consultation. Simply dial (304) 888-8888. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that a representative may call you at a better time.

What Everyone Needs To Know About Talcum Powder Lawsuits

POSTED BY Jon Corra . December 05, 2017

For over 130 years people have trusted the brand name, Johnson & Johnson. The company is actually a conglomerate of multiple companies, including Baby Powdermany  well-known brands like Aveeno and Neutrogena, which are among the most recognized in the skin care community. However, the most well-known product Johnson & Johnson produces is also one of their oldest: baby powder. In recent months, there’s been a lot of coverage of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and the fact that their baby powder has been linked as an alleged cause of ovarian cancer.

One of the first lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson based on baby powder emerged in 2009. Diane Berg, a woman from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, when she was only 49 years old. She claimed to have used the powder every day for most of her life. According to the Huffington Post, the pharmaceutical company offered a $1.3 million settlement to Berg in 2013. She declined and was eventually awarded nothing in the way of monetary compensation. However, a South Dakota jury confirmed the association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Soon after, two St. Louis judges awarded two families $127 million in similar cases. The Huffington Post went on to report one of these two sentences found the “Big Pharma” company guilty of negligence, conspiracy, and failure to warn women of the increased cancer risk linked to the use of cosmetic talc in the genital area.

More recently, the New York Times reported the story of another ovarian cancer lawsuit involving Johnson & Johnson. Eva Echeverria, 63, of east Los Angeles, was recently awarded $417 million by a jury. Many cases that go to the jury are successful. However, not all of the cases are favorable. In March of 2017, a St. Louis jury rejected a Tennessee woman’s claim that Johnson & Johnson’s powder caused her ovarian cancer, and a New Jersey judge dismissed two talcum powder lawsuits against the company.

The American Cancer Society states that talcum powder comes from talc. In its natural form, talc contains asbestos. In response to the question “does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?”, the American Cancer states the following:

Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary. Findings have been mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase. Many case-control studies have found a small increase in risk. But these types of studies can be biased because they often rely on a person’s memory of talc use many years earlier. Two prospective cohort studies, which would not have the same type of potential bias, have not found an increased risk.

For any individual woman, if there is an increased risk, the overall increase is likely to very be small. Still, talc is widely used in many products, so it is important to determine if the increased risk is real. Research in this area continues.

There are a lot of people offering opinions on this subject, and there are thousands of lawsuits pending currently. Cornstarch-based powder is often recommended as an alternative, as there is no current evidence that cornstarch-based powder causes cancer.

To learn more about this subject, or to set up a Free consultation, call the team from Jan Dils Attorneys at Law today. Our toll-free number is 1-977-526-3457. For individuals who’d rather receive a call at a later time, fill out this form now and we will return your call when it is convenient to you.

What everyone needs to know about Mesothelioma

POSTED BY Jon Corra . September 05, 2017

You’ve probably seen at least a few of the many legal advertisements offering help for people with mesothelioma. But what exactly is this disease, and how is it contracted?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium). Mesothelioma is an How to Apply for Supplemental Security Income in West Virginiaaggressive and incurable form of cancer. An online resource, mesothelioma.com explains that there are three recognized types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, accounting for roughly 70% of cases, and occurs in the lining of the lung known as the pleura. Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum, and pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.

In this blog, we’ll focus on why an individual should hire an attorney if they have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.  While asbestos was banned in the late 1970s, people today still suffer from illnesses related to asbestos exposure, including mesothelioma.  Even if you were exposed to asbestos years ago, you can now develop symptoms because of the body’s inability to be able to expel asbestos fibers that have been inhaled.  Although products today can still be made with small amounts of asbestos, the regulations that control its use and manage its removal from older buildings are very strict.

At its peak, asbestos was used in a lot of residential and commercial products including brake pads, automobile clutches, roofing materials, vinyl tile, cement piping, corrugated sheeting, home insulation and some potting soils.  So, auto mechanics and those in building trades are at risk.

Many industrial workers are also at risk and have been exposed to asbestos insulation, pipes, boilers, and many other products.

Even family members living with workers exposed to asbestos can suffer from asbestos related illnesses, including mesothelioma.  Second-hand exposure occurs when a household member brings home asbestos fibers on their clothing.

One of the most obvious sources of asbestos exposure is an asbestos mine or processing center. Asbestos mines were prominent in Georgia, Washington, California, and Oregon, as well as Quebec, Canada.  While there are no existing asbestos mines in West Virginia, coal miners can suffer from asbestos exposure.

Many Navy Veterans have also been diagnosed with mesothelioma because a large number of Navy Ships were constructed with asbestos. Veterans who served in shipyards between World War II and the Korean War have the highest risk of exposure to asbestos.

Should you consider legal action? If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please call us. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. Or, fill out this form so that we may contact you at a later time.

What are the signs of Nursing Home Neglect?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 24, 2017

At the age of 14, when other teens were hanging out at the mall, going to dances, and being social, I was visiting my father in a nursing home. When most people

The signs of nursing home neglect aren’t always obvious.

realize that I was only 14 and had a parent in a nursing home, they assume that my father was one of those new age senior citizens who have children well into their sixties. Unfortunately, that was not the case with my dad. He was only 41. His body was weak from two years of battling brain cancer and having multiple surgeries. We tried taking care of him in-house, but it became too much for us. We decided that a nursing home was our best bet to give him proper care. It turns out we might have been wrong. I recall going to the nursing home one day to visit my father and I saw what would eventually be the beginning of the end.

Due to my father’s chemo, and the fact that had tumors in his brain, he was weak. He could not get in and out of bed on his own. One day in August we were visiting him. The nursing staff was helping my father back into bed when they didn’t give him proper care. Instead of laying him in the bed gently they let go early, and his head went crashing into the headboard. I was sitting next to the bed and saw it all happen. My father’s head hit on an edge of the headboard, near where he had surgery recently. Granted, this was 18 years ago, and I am no Doogie Houser, but I believe this impact caused my father’s shunt to quit working. Five months later we were planning his funeral.

Sudden weight Loss is a sign of neglect.

What I described was a not typical case of Nursing Home Neglect, but it’s too painful for me to discuss some of the other things I witnessed. At the time, nursing home neglect was not as mainstream as it is now, and we were not the type of family to sue anyone. We had just lost the patriarch of our family after a very long and stressful two year battle with a terrible disease. Now, in 2017, the Statute of Limitations has passed, and all I can really do is educate other people about the subject, and tell you what to look for with your loved ones.

Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are broad terms used to define a variety of offenses within the nursing home abuse. They can refer to something as simple as not attending to patients on a regular basis, to sexual abuse and rape. The subject is truly disturbing to talk about too.

Instead of examining specific cases of nursing home abuse, let’s look at things in a little more general fashion today. What are some signs of Nursing Home/Elder Abuse you should be on the look out for with your loved ones?

–      Emotional or social neglect, where the elder person is repeatedly ignored, left alone, or accidentally snapped at by an overstressed nursing home staff

–      Personal hygiene neglect, where patients do not receive adequate help with laundry, cleaning, bathing, brushing their teeth, or other forms of hygienic practices

–      Basic needs neglect, where the nursing home neglects to provide reasonable food, water, or a safe and clean environment

–      Medical neglect, where the nursing home fails to provide adequate attention, prevention, or medication for concerns such as bed sores, infections, cuts, diabetes, cognitive diseases, and mobility concerns

Warning signs of nursing home neglect include:

–      Sudden weight loss

–      Bedsores, or pressure ulcers

–      Injuries from nursing home falls

–      Dehydration

–      Malnutrition

–      Withdrawn elder behavior, or unusual changes in behavior

–      Changes in personal hygiene or appearance efforts

–      A growing lack of friendly interaction with the nursing home staff

–      A growing lack of friendly interaction with the other nursing home residents

–      Environmental hazards, such as poor lighting, slippery floors, unsafe mobility equipment, or unsafe furniture in the nursing home patient’s room

If you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect or elder abuse, report it to the proper authorities. If you’d like to know more about your legal options, give us a call today for a FREE consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form, and we will get back to you.

Driving Up Stream; How Live Streaming is Causing A Lot Of Accidents

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 29, 2017

One of the fun things about working in social media is seeing how technology is always changing how we deliver content. Five years ago it would have been unheard of to have business pages on Instagram or Snapchat. Likewise, to suggest streaming live video via a social media account was unheard of a few years ago. Granted, services like UStream were available back then, but these platforms were not easy to use. So, most brands didn’t participate. Recently, tools like Periscope, Meerkat, and Facebook Live have made live streaming video so easy, anyone can do it. Now that “going live” on Facebook or Instagram is so easy, it’s also more dangerous.

Our firm has had fun with Facebook Live.   It’s great for reaching our clients. We’ve used it mostly for fun, but it shows our clients another side of our firm. It helps them get to know us better. For instance, when we present our Golden Apple Award to a teacher in the Mid-Ohio Valley, we set up a mobile device to stream the announcement live. This practice allows our clients to see a behind the scenes aspect of our firm. It’s safe to say that we use this feature as it is intended. However, we’re aware that a lot of people don’t follow the rules.

Periscope is a lot like Facebook Live, except it has its own app, and it integrates into Twitter easily. Periscope came out before Facebook Live, and many early adopters still prefer this application for live streaming. It was while watching a video on Periscope one evening that I first started to notice people using live video streaming when they shouldn’t. NASCAR driver Tony Stewart was using Periscope while driving home one evening. He was providing commentary about the other motorists, and he was answering questions from his fans. He was doing this all while driving on a rainy interstate. Soon after, I noticed more and more people broadcasting live videos as they drove. It now seems common to see live videos on Facebook, Periscope, and Instagram while users are driving.

Obviously, distracted driving is an issue, and it is nothing new. However, this adds another level to the issue because people are actually recording themselves committing crimes. In most states, it is currently illegal to operate a vehicle while using a non-hands free mobile device. For instance, I follow a local photographer who enjoys filming himself passing cars on rural roads in West Virginia. In one such video, this gentleman clearly passed a car on a double yellow line, essentially passing in a no passing zone.

It’s easy to argue that what I have seen is minor compared to what has occurred with some live streaming drivers. Earlier this month a Rhode Island man streamed himself driving recklessly on Facebook Live. While on the interstate he was traveling up to 115 MPH and passing cars on the shoulder. He eventually hit a dump truck. Luckily no other motorists were injured.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJdlRGhiDl8″]I believe it’s safe to say that everyone knows that it’s not safe to text/live stream while driving. However, the penalties for drivers who break this law are not very steep. Currently, the West Virginia traffic code does not list specific violations for live streaming. However, our state does have specific laws for texting or using a non-hands-free device while driving. The first offense is $100, the second offense is $200, and the third offense is $300. The third offense also comes with the possibility of points against your license. These fines don’t seem too strict considering that our fines for littering are much stronger. If you are convicted of littering, on your first offense, you could lose points on your license, and your second offense may result in community service. I hate a litter bug at as much as the next fella, but I think a distracted driver should be penalized more. Granted, that is my opinion.

Sadly, the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers is on the rise. In these accidents, injuries or fatalities are likely.

UPDATE

 

Since we originally wrote this blog, there has been another tragedy making national headlines regarding Live Streaming while driving. Obdulia Sanchez, 18, of California was broadcasting live on Instagram while driving her car. She lost control and crashed the car into a fence. It eventually flipped in a nearby field. Her sister, 14 and a friend, also 14, were ejected from the car. They were not wearing seatbelts.

Sanchez continued to film after the accident and addressed the people watching the video. She addressed the fact that she (likely) killed her sister in the accident. She also mentioned that she was probably going to go to jail for life for what occurred. The other 14-year-old passenger in the car survived.

One thing that does set this example apart from the others is that Sanchez was arrested after the accident for a suspected DUI and Gross Vehicular Manslaughter. She may have been under the influence of alcohol while driving.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, issued the following statement to NBC News after the accident:

“We’re deeply saddened by this tragedy. We urge people to use our reporting tools if they see any content or behavior that puts anyone’s safety at risk. We want to interrupt these streams as quickly as possible when they’re reported to us, and we will also notify law enforcement if we see a threat that requires an immediate response. We suggest people contact emergency services if they become aware of a situation where the authorities can help.”

If you’ve been injured in a wreck because of a distracted driver, call us today for a FREE consultation. Our Toll-Free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a different time, fill out this form and call us at a later time.

Blind Spot Monitoring Leading the Blind

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 01, 2017

As I look back on 2016, I realize that it has been my busiest travel year by far. I know this because of the number of cars I have rented according to my phone’s Bluetooth pairings. My phone has been paired with more cars than Taylor Swift has been paired with bad guys.  Whether it was a trip for business or pleasure, I was in and out of a lot of different cars this year. I am also in the process of buying a new car, so I have test driven many cars, too. Not to mention all the fun I had looking at cars while attending auto shows. While I have never driven anything too exotic, I did get to drive and see a variety of cars. I drove everything in 2016 from a Ram 3500 dually, to a Hyundai Tucson that was clinging for every last ounce of life it may have had. Along the way, there were a few things that really stood out about these various vehicles.

One of the greatest things I noticed was that the Nissan Altima is a fuel miser. It’s a midsize sedan yet it managed almost 40 mpg on the highway when I drove it to Cleveland, Ohio. However, because it had a CVT transmission, there was a constant whine. It was most noticeable at low speeds. The whine was at its worst when I drove around downtown Cleveland. The city of Cleveland hadn’t experienced that much whining since The Indians lost the World Series.  I also drove a Jeep Cherokee. While it was not as efficient as the Altima, it was much more comfortable. Plus, it had heated seats and a heated steering wheel. However, at a toll booth, the emergency brake accidentally activated and I thought for sure the car had been hacked. Overall, my favorite car to drive was the Camry. I never thought I would say that, but it was very quick and fun.

The worst car driving experience for the thus year was when I took a Mazda 3 to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with my friend Shawn. I want to be very clear, the Mazda 3 is not a bad car. It just was not the car for us. We are both tall, large men and this compact car is not made for larger people. I hit my head every time I entered the vehicle, it was very underpowered, and during a very heavy rainstorm, I was certain we wouldn’t make it back home. While the overall experience with the tiny Mazda was not favorable, it did have one feature that no other car I drove this year had…Blind Spot Monitoring.

If you’ve never driven a car with Blind Spot Monitoring, it’s neat. A Bling Spot Monitoring system is self-explanatory. It’s a system that uses sensors to detect other cars or objects in your blind spots. For most vehicles, an icon in your side view mirrors will illuminate when there is an object in your blind spot. In the Mazda, the system is a little more advanced because it chimes if the driver activates a turn signal while something is in the blind spot. I will admit, this feature took some getting used to for me. By the end of my trip I was really starting to like the feature, and possibly getting too used to using it.

Earlier, I mentioned that I was in a rain storm so bad that I wasn’t positive that I’d make it back alive. Well, it was on the way home from Philadelphia, near the city of Baltimore, when the heavens opened up, and my little compact car didn’t want to play in the water. Trying to drive in the storm was nearly impossible. The rain was so strong that visibility was reduced to mere inches in front of the car. Looking back at the situation now, I can see that we should have simply pulled off the road. However, I was on an adrenaline high from meeting Television’s Stephen Amell at the Philadelphia Comic Con and was not about to sit idly by as other motorists beat me to the West Virginia line.

One thing I did not realize in advance was that the sensors for the Blind Spot Monitoring system don’t work well in adverse weather. For instance, if the sensors are dirty, covered in snow, or, ssi benefitsas in my situation, surrounded by torrential downpours, they won’t work as intended. I learned my lesson after I nearly sideswiped a Chevy Cobalt. It’s safe to say that most consumers are not aware of this issue. We tend to become too reliant on these driving aids. I think it’s safe to assume that few people under 25 have ever driven a car without ABS or traction control. While these aides to make driving easier and safer, they take control away from the driver. It’s possible that a driver may panic in a situation when a driving aid fails because they are not accustomed to driving without it.  Most manufacturers will list these limitations in the owner’s manual; but, let’s be honest…a lot of people don’t read those. This, however, may not be the biggest issue with driving aids.

If you’ve read my blogs in the past you’ll likely know that I have an obsession with cars. I stay up way past my bedtime most nights researching cars on YouTube and Autotrader. Because of this obsession, I have a bank of useless car knowledge. With that in mind, you can imagine my surprise when I learned how some cars are sold without all of the available safety features. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet though. All cars sold today now have airbags, seatbelts and the like. The issue is when cars are sold without electronic driver’s aids, but the owner believes that the car is equipped with the feature.

I am not trying to say that certain car companies are trying to do a bait and switch on consumers. There are few reasons why this disconnect can happen. One of the main reasons is that car companies have special names for each feature. Let’s use Subaru as an example. Subaru has one of the best Crash Avoidance Systems according to the IIHS. It’s called EyeSight. This feature is an automatic braking system for the car that works well. Subaru has something similar for the back of its cars which is similar but sold and packaged differently. It’s called the Reverse Autobrake. Here’s where things get tricky.

EyeSight is not standard on our example car, the Legacy, at any trim level. However, the Reverse Autobrake is standard on the most expensive trim levels, the 2.5i Limited, and the 3.6R Limited. To add EyeSight to these two trims, there is an additional cost of over $1,500. To complicate the matter, even if the car is not equipped with the EyeSight feature, it can still be marketed as auto/self-braking because of the rear system. This can easily create confusion for the customer. Consumers see that they have semi-autonomous features and they think that it’s for every aspect of the car. Some may say that it’s the responsibility of the consumer to make an educated decision about the car they are buying. I consider myself very educated when it comes to the automotive industry. However, I struggled to interpret Subaru’s website and available features.

As cars evolve, we need to make sure we have a better understanding of how their autonomous features work. Be sure to do your research, and ask lots of questions when you purchase your next car. However, if you’ve believed you were injured in an accident because of faulty driving aid, give us a call for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you aren’t available to talk now, fill out this form so that we may contact you at a better time.