Friday, 30 July 2010

Study Shows That Colleges Have Not Addressed Drinking Problem

College drinking is on an increase, even as alcohol use has stayed more or less consistent in the rest of the population. In spite of that, colleges are doing precious little to prevent drinking among students. A new report, in fact, shows that many colleges are not even aware that they can implement strategies and programs to reduce drinking among their students.

In 2002, the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism made recommendations for minimizing alcohol use among college students. The recommendations involved a four tier program. Tier 1 involved individual interventions, while Tier 2 involved the regulation of liquor licenses and making alcohol more expensive through increased taxes. Tier 3 involved banning the use of alcohol on campuses and other practices, while Tier 4 was found to be the least effective and focused only on educating students about the dangers of alcohol.

A new study by the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, shows that very few colleges have been successful in implementing the recommendations, and reducing the incidence of drinking on campus. Out of the 300+ colleges that participated in the University of Minnesota study, 22% were not even familiar with the recommendations made by the NIAAA. Twenty-three percent of the institutions had not bothered to implement even one of the conditions contained in the Tier 1 and 2 programs. These are some of the most effective strategies to contain college drinking. About 65% of the colleges had implemented one or two recommendations from the Tier 1 and 2 programs.

About 50% of the colleges are using intervention programs. However, only 7% have acted to restrict licensed alcohol outlets and retailers, and only 2% have experimented with increasing the price of alcohol to prevent college drinking. However, 98% have implemented some form of education programs to warn students about the dangers of alcohol excesses.

As any Las Vegas drunk driving accident lawyer will tell you, there is only so much effect that an education program will have on impressionable college students. What is concerning is that, while every college admits that underage drinking is a fact of life in their institutions few have actually managed to take any steps to prevent this.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Ex-Employee of San Jose Trash Hauling Company Files Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

A wrongful termination dispute involving a former employee of a trash hauling company, is raising quite a stink. The employee, José Castellano, used to work for Coastside Scavenger. He has now filed a lawsuit against his former employer, alleging that the company terminated his services in retaliation for his children's decision to file grievances over unsafe working conditions at the company.

These two sons and two other employees of the company were fired in 2008. The four employees had formed a group to take legal action to defend themselves against the company's retaliatory action. Soon after his sons made that decision, Castellano claims he began to feel the heat at his office. The company allegedly began to criticize his job performance for no reason. He was also quickly promoted to lead mechanic from his earlier position as operations manager. He was soon fired. He had been working for the company for 37 years.

The company's harassment apparently didn't end there. Castellano alleges that even after he was fired, the general manager of Coastside Scavenger, Chris Porter, continued to defame him, calling him all kinds of names and maligning his reputation in order to diminish his prospects of further employment.

Castellano is alleging harassment just because his sons dared to blow the whistle on the company's unsafe work practices and wage and hour violations. After Castellano was fired, he wrote to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and the California Highway Patrol and the Pacifica Building Department, to inform them about the serious violations of safety codes that were going on at Coastside Scavengers. These violations include a number of unethical practices, including putting mechanically malfunctioning garbage trucks into service, and illegally providing electrical wiring to a garage without a permit.

It can be complex for a California employment lawyer to prove that there were no grounds for an employee’s termination. The employer-employee relationship in California is an “at will” relationship, which means that the employee can be fired at the free will of the employer, except in certain exceptional circumstances. In a situation like this, your Los Angeles employment lawyer will use other tactics, like proving that the termination was against company policy.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Can Listening to Radio Sports Increase Your Accident Risks?

A new study in the UK reveals that motorists, who are listening to sports commentary on the radio while driving, can experience a drop in reaction time that is 20% lower than for those who are not listening to sports commentary or paying attention to it. This drop in reaction time is slightly higher than the drop recorded for intoxicated motorists. In other words, that exhilarating sports commentator you're following on the radio, could actually seriously increase your risk of an accident, and you may not even know it.

The Houston Chronicle has a report on the British study, which focused on motorist distractions from sports commentary, just before the soccer World Cup and Wimbledon. Even a drop of 20% in reaction time could add about 20 feet to a car which is traveling at 78 mph. That is enough distance to dramatically increase the risk of colliding with a car in front of you, running off the road, or any other numbers of accident risks.

There’s bad news for Los Angeles car accident lawyers and motorists here. The researchers also believe that Americans probably have sharper reactions to sports coverage on radio than British motorists. American radio announcers tend to be more aggressive about grabbing driver attention. The Houston Chronicle quotes one US radio executive, who says that while listening to audition tapes, the number one factor he has in his mind is whether the sports announcer would be able to take motorist attention away from the road, and toward the game.

Grabbing driver attention might be great for the ratings, but can play havoc on motorists. Distracted driving as a factor in accidents has been receiving a lot of attention around the country, and the efforts that began only with cell phones and text messaging devices, have now expanded to include a host of other distractions. The fact is that motorists are distracted every day by digitized billboards, highway signs, and their fellow passengers. Perhaps it's time to add sports commentators to that list.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Bicycle Accidents in Southern California - Road Cyclists at Risk

As the Tour de France is in full swing, one thing to think about regarding cycling is the safety of riding a bike on shared roads.  As a former avid cyclist, too many close calls have happened and here is some research that was found online that demonstrates how risky biking can be:
Four states lead cycling deaths -California, Florida, New York, and Texas accounted for 43% of bicycle deaths in 1999.  Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Risk of injury from bicycling compared to driving a motor vehicle.
45,000 cyclists vs. 2.4M motorists were injured in 2005 yielding 7.3 injuries per million miles for cyclists and 1.5 injuries per million miles traveled for motorists. This makes cyclists  about 5 times more likely to be injured per mile of travel. Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2005 (biking seem more popular now, but so are bike lanes so these numbers might be changed.)

Great Safety Tips

If you have been involved in an accident and need legal advice,  Here are some attorneys who may be able to help - based on southern California location:
San Fernando Valley Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Ventura Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Having someone who is familiar with the streets where your accident occurred should obviously be beneficial to help you. Dangerous roads and intersections, traffic patterns, and  even local weather conditions may have been a factor in a bike vs. car collision.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

SEC Agrees to Pay Former Lawyer $755,000 to Settle Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

It's not every day that Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers see the country's premier securities watchdog agency settling a lawsuit. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has agreed to pay $755,000 to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by an enforcement lawyer. The plaintiff Gary Aguirre, claimed that he was fired by the securities watchdog agency for “aggressively pursuing” an insider trading case that involved hedge fund Pequot Capital Management, and its founder Arthur Samberg.

Aguirre began investigating Pequot and Samberg in 2004, but was fired a year later after disagreements with his superiors about how the case should proceed. According to the Wall Street Journal, Aguirre was terminated from his services after he asked for permission to interview John Mack in connection with the probe. Mack was a senior Wall Street executive who later went on to become CEO of Morgan Stanley. According to Aguirre, Mack received preferential treatment, not just because of his powerful position, but also because of his lawyer.

Aguirre complained to his superior about his inability to interview Mack, and was fired soon after. The investigation into Pequot’s insider trading ended in 2006, without any case being filed.

Aguirre went on to accuse his superiors of misconduct. The agency denied any wrongdoing in the matter, and its investigation arm conducted a thorough probe into the matter. However in May, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an insider trading case against Arthur Samberg and Pequot. Arthur Samberg agreed to pay $28 million to settle allegations that he had engaged in insider trading of Microsoft stock.

The $755,000 that the SEC has now agreed to pay reflect Aguirre‘s pay for the four years and 10 months since was wrongfully terminated. However, the SEC does not admit any wrongdoing through this settlement.