Wednesday, 22 June 2011

California Police Officers May Be at Risk of Motorcycle Accidents during Funeral Escorts

A recent spate of accidents involving police officers taking part in funeral escorts is putting the spotlight on the risks to California’s motorcycle officers when they take part in these escort. A Torrance police officer was killed in May when he was taking part in a funeral procession for a fellow motorcycle officer.

The fatal motorcycle accident has forced the local community to reevaluate its funeral escort policies for police motorcycle officers. The California Highway Patrol has confirmed that it will be investigating the funeral escort, including the length of the procession, and whether there was enough manpower and time for the motorcycle officers to ride safely.

Such concerns are being expressed around the country. In Alabama, the Tuscaloosa Police Department is being forced to reconsider its funeral escort policies after a police officer was killed in a motorcycle accident last month. The police officer was riding in the procession, when one of the cars in the procession made a turn in front of his motorcycle, causing his motorcycle to crash into the car.

Police-escorted funerals are not common in California. They are typically reserved for high-profile citizens, or military personnel. While it's rare to have a police escort for the funeral of an ordinary citizen, the risk of accidents, and liability issues, have forced many police departments in the country, including those in California, to ban funeral escorts altogether. In California, Los Angeles no longer provides funeral escorts, except for funerals of firefighters, police officers or military personnel. Miami, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Charlotte have also enforced similar bans on funeral escorts.

Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers also believe that a change in the car culture has played a part in increasing motorcycle accident risks during escorts. In days past, motorists would pull aside when a funeral procession went by. Now however, motorists are more likely to charge through a procession, in a hurry to get ahead. A situation like this places a motorcyclist at a high risk of accidents.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Could Feds Be Doing More to Keep Americans Safe from Plane Crashes Aboard?

It has been a source of great frustration to California plane crash lawyers that the United States provides little information to Americans traveling abroad about the safety of the airlines in those countries. As a result, passengers may be at risk when they fly some foreign airlines that have little safety information available.

The European Union lists foreign airlines that are banned from flying into the European Union because of safety concerns. The European list includes more than 270 airlines from 20 nations which are banned from flying into airports in the European Union.

Compare that to the manner in which the Federal Aviation Administration keeps Americans safe when they travel abroad. The Federal Agency only lists civil aviation authorities that don't meet specific standards and lists them by country. The Federal Aviation Administration takes into consideration those countries that do not have proper oversight over airlines that operate within their borders. The United States simply does not offer passengers any information about the safety record of airlines they use abroad.

There are currently 22 civil aviation authorities on the FAA's “dangerous” list. Most of these are in third-world countries. Some of those countries are frequently visited by Americans. For instance, Israel is on the list for having inadequate oversight over aviation safety. Another country on the list is Barbados which hosts millions of American tourists every year.

Very often, this lack of specific and accurate information proves fatal. Americans have been killed in plane crashes in other countries where aviation safety is not assessed by the agency because of unique concerns. For instance, Cuba is not rated on the Federal Aviation Administration ratings, because the United States does not have diplomatic relations with that country, and there are no direct flights between the United States and Cuba. Some sources hold that Cubana Airlines, the nation's flagship carrier, has one of the worst plane crash records of any airline between 1986 and 2010.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Bankruptcy Risk Increases with Diagnosis of Cancer

Persons who suffer from cancer are likely to find that their risk of bankruptcy increases in the year after the diagnosis. That shouldn't be a surprise to California bankruptcy lawyers, who often come across individuals being forced to file for bankruptcy for medical reasons.

The link between cancer and bankruptcy comes from a study conducted by researchers who analyzed data from a cancer registry. The results of the study were presented this week at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago. Records from close to 232,000 cancer survivors over 14 years were studied and analyzed.

The investigators found that the rate of bankruptcy increased by a whopping four times when the individuals had been diagnosed with cancer. Out of the records that were analyzed, 4,805 persons, which is a little more than 2%, sought bankruptcy protection in the years after the diagnosis.

Bankruptcy rates among adult cancer survivors were twice as high one year after the diagnosis, compared to persons who did not have cancer. On an average, an individual with a cancer diagnosis would file for bankruptcy after a period of 2.5 years.

The risk of bankruptcy was not the same for all types of cancers. Some types of cancers including thyroid, lung and blood cancers like leukemia, were more likely to drive patients to bankruptcy. Additionally, elderly citizens over 65 years of age were less likely to declare bankruptcy after a cancer diagnosis. That could possibly be because many of these people are typically covered under Medicare.

What is even worse is that the number of persons with cancer diagnosis who declared bankruptcy seemed to increase after the recession set in. Even in such medically-related bankruptcy cases however, Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys would encourage people to look at alternatives to bankruptcy before making a decision.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Recording Industry Pushes for California Antipiracy Bill That Would Allow Warrantless Arrests

The recording industry is promoting support for an antipiracy bill introduced by a California senator which promises to undermine civil rights. The bill would allow warrantless searches of optical disc plants, and will allow the seizing of CDs and disk stamping equipment without a warrant.

The bill, SB 550, which has been proposed by State Sen. Alex Padilla, Democrat-Pacoima will make civil liberties groups and California criminal defense attorneys nervous, because of the manner in which it seems to exempt searches from any application of the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment requires probable cause before a search, and the bill would eliminate any such need.

Under SB 550, police would be able to force replicators to comply with existing laws. Violators would be hit with fines of up to $250,000 for a repeat offense. The measure has already cleared the Committee on Public Safety and has also passed the Appropriations Committee.

The bill has been heavily promoted by the Recording Industry Association of America, which claims that music piracy has sounded the death knell for the industry. The industry has suffered heavy losses because of rampant piracy, and representatives say that nothing seems to help contain the problem. They allege that many of the country’s replicator plants are located in California. These plants are mainly involved in copying disks with educational and religious content, but according to the recording industry, many of them also make counterfeit music discs on the side. According to the recording industry, about 90% of counterfeited discs come from replicator plants.

California alone is home to 70 such plants. In fact, the recording industry says that as many as 70 million counterfeit music discs every year are pressed in California alone.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Senior Drivers’ Risk of Accidents Increases with Age

Senior citizens are at a much greater risk of accidents, a fact not unknown to any Los Angeles car accident lawyer. However, a new study by the Australian National University shows that senior drivers’ risk of making serious driving errors and being involved in accidents increases substantially with the senior’s age, even when they are otherwise healthy.

Researchers followed 266 volunteers who were given a driving test. The subjects were between 70 and 88. All the motorists in the study were of sound mental and physical health. They did not suffer from dementia, and they all lived independent lives. They were also regular drivers, driving at least once a week.

During the 12-mile driving test, there was a driving instructor and an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist’s role was to note down the number of critical driving errors made, including speeding, and tailgating.

The researchers found that seniors between the age of 70 and 74 made an average of one critical driving error. However in the case of seniors between the age of 85 and 89, the number of average driving errors increased to four.

Also, the chances of making a driving error increased depending on whether the driver had been involved in an accident before. A crash in the past five years seemed to substantially increase the senior’s risk of making a critical driving error.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the year 2009, the United States had 33 million people over the age of 65 operating motor vehicles. Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that in 2008, there were 30 fatal accidents for every 100,000 licensed drivers above the age of 75. In comparison, among drivers between the age of 65 and 74, there were just 20 fatal accidents in the same span of time.

Very often, Los Angeles car accident attorneys find that medication use, dementia and other factors are responsible for senior driver-related accidents. However, this study shows that even seemingly healthy drivers can make serious driving errors that can lead to an accident.