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Likely Increase in LA DUI Sobriety Checkpoints

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Motorists in Los Angeles can expect more sobriety checkpoints for DUI over the next few months as the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department gets to work using a whopping $1.1 million grant for DUI prevention. The grant comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety, and will fund DUI prevention efforts in the Los Angeles area.

Drivers can now expect more enforcement efforts in Los Angeles, including sobriety checkpoints. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department also plans to conduct warrant searches and stakeouts for repeat DUI offenders. It also plans to inundate the Los Angeles area with saturation patrols. The grant money will also be used for court stings to catch offenders who have had their licenses suspended or revoked and get behind the wheel after leaving the court.

The increased sobriety checkpoints and other enforcement measures come even as there was a decline in the numbers of drunk driving accidents over the Thanksgiving weekend this year. According to the California Highway Patrol, DUI arrests and DUI accident fatalities were down this Thanksgiving weekend, widely regarded as the most dangerous holiday of the year. According to the California Highway Patrol, 520 people were arrested for DUI across California in 2010. Last year, there had been 542 DUI arrests. In Los Angeles County, law enforcement officers arrested 98 people for DUI this year, compared to 160 last year.

That should prove to any Los Angeles DUI lawyer that drunk driving rates in Los Angeles, in particular, and the state, in general, have gone down. There are fewer people now driving under the influence, because of the potential fines, penalties and license suspensions they face. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department decision to have more sobriety checkpoints therefore, makes little sense.

CDC Report Finds Infant ER Visits Dropped by 50% after Cold Medication Withdrawal

Monday, November 29, 2010

Here’s a sobering fact for California pharmaceutical product liability lawyers and parents: According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency visits by infants dropped by approximately 50% after manufacturers withdrew a number of brands of over-the-counter infant cold medications. The results of the study have been published online in the journal Pediatrics this week.

The CDC study looked at the impact from the withdrawal of the infant cold medications from the market in October 2007. The aim of the study was to look at the rates of infant cough and cold medication-related adverse events among children after these products were yanked from shelves. The researchers looked at emergency room visits for these cold and cough medication-related adverse events among children below 12 years of age. Data was analyzed for the 14 months after the products were pulled off shelves.

The results were staggering. After these products were withdrawn from the market, the number and proportion of infants below the age of two years that were rushed to hospital ERs after adverse events related to the use of infant cough and cold medications dropped by 50%. Emergency room visit rates for children below the age of 12 remained unchanged.

It's obvious from the study that the use of infant cough and cold medications that are available over the counter can have dangerous adverse events. California pharmaceutical liability lawyers would like to warn parents that just because a product is available over the counter and is promoted by a well-known pharmaceutical company, doesn't necessarily mean that it is safe for little ones. Never use over the counter cough and cold medications for a child without advice from your family physician.

California Real Estate Upside Down in Mortgages By the Numbers

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The real estate boom and collapse continues to be factor in personal finance. In recent years a person's home has become a larger percentage of their expenses, and many people felt comfortable taking on more and more debt, thinking that that prices would only rise. Prices have definitely fallen and as personal incomes are dropping, the percentage of mortgage burden is increasing even more.

A notable figure recently published:
Half of all homeowners who are underwater in their mortgage owe at least 25% more than their properties value in the first quarter of this year, according to Moody's Analytics' calculations of government information and an Equifax credit record data.

This has even greater effect in the southern California real estate market, and in places like Simi Valley Bankruptcy Lawyers are increasingly busy. California homeowners are in the top three states, with the average "upside down" amount over $100,000. What is staggering is the amount of time required for rises in the real estate market to build back the equity. At modest single digit gains it may take a decade to return to values from three years ago.

Baby Boomers Aging - Soon 20% of Drivers Older than 65

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) - within fifteen years 1 in 5 motor vehicle drivers will be aged sixty-five or older. Compared to the number of drivers today ~30 million, it will nearly double to 57 million by 2030, according to estimates by the Government Accountability Office.

This is a large shift in the driving population, and we can expect seniors to enjoy their mobility and freedom as the retire. But also a consideration is that our workforce is aging - people are not retiring at the earliest age possible due to financial considerations. Thus, a larger proportion of commuters of the road may consist of older drivers, 

As people age, a few thing happen that can affect driving ability.

  • Decreased night vision
  • Slowing of reflexes
  • Physical mobility impairment

Portions of the above may be addressed by engineering automobiles to be more friendly to the aged. Brighter headlights, dashboard and control ergonomics with larger controls (both easier to read and manipulate), radar assisted warning systems, larger rear side and rear view mirrors, and video back-up cameras are just a few things that can be implemented.

Although media reports exist regarding older drivers, especially involving gas pedal vs. brake pedal confusion, such as the car accidents involving sidewalks and pedestrians as in the Santa Monica Farmer's market tragedy in 2003 - overall older driver are not the most dangerous demographic. Teen drivers are statistically the most likely to be involved in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. Adding to the lack of driving experience that many teen drivers have are issues involving being distracted by technology (cell phone, texting, mp3 players etc) and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

FDA Criticized for Failure to Step up Foreign Drug Manufacturing Plant Inspections

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Food and Drug Administration has amped its budget for foreign drug manufacturing plant inspections, and has also ramped up the numbers of inspections of these plants. However, a new report by the Government Accountability Office indicates that the federal agency needs to do much, much more to inspect overseas plants.

The Government Accountability Office this week released a report, which says that the federal agency has not been able to follow through on the GAO’s recommendations for oversight of foreign drug manufacturing facilities. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration granted itself a $41 million dollar budget for foreign plant inspections. That was a substantial increase from the agency's sparse budget for foreign plant inspections in the past. The agency also managed to increase the number of inspections in 2009.

Last year, the agency conducted 424 inspections of foreign drug manufacturing facilities. However, last year, the agency's rate of inspections means that it would assess each facility outside the country just about once in nine years. However, when it comes to domestic manufacturing facilities, the agency has a much better rate of inspection, at once in 2.5 years. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration conducted more than 1,000 inspections of domestic drug manufacturing facilities.

It is this gap between inspections of high-priority foreign facilities and domestic facilities that the GAO and California pharmaceutical product liability lawyers are concerned about. It's not that we would like for the agency to conduct equal numbers of inspections of both foreign and local plans. That would be impossible. However, it is important for the FDA to prioritize inspections of foreign plants, especially those where the manufacture of contaminated or defective drugs could lead to a public health disaster. The FDA has a high-priority list for foreign plant inspections, and it has managed to inspect very few facilities on the list. It needs to step up inspections, especially since so many drugs and pharmaceutical ingredients these days are being manufactured in plants in India and China.

NTSB Blames Air Traffic Controller Error for Minneapolis Near Miss Plane Crash

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Aviation safety issues revolving around air traffic controller errors have been linked to a number of near miss plane crashes and aviation accidents recently. The National Transportation Safety Board is blaming air traffic controllers again for another near miss incident that occurred over Minneapolis in September.

This particular incident involved a US Airways plane and a cargo plane. Both the planes had taken off from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on September 16th. Soon after takeoff, the traffic control tower instructed the pilot of the US Airways plane to turn left. That put the plane in the path of the smaller cargo plane that had just taken off from a parallel runway. The cargo plane should have turned, but it failed to so. Instead it traveled straight, and nearly collided with the US Airways jet plane. Neither pilot saw each other's plane, although the US Airways pilot did hear the cargo plane whiz by. Fortunately, the US Airways plane was equipped with an automated crash avoidance system, which warned the pilot to climb, thereby avoiding a collision.

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a brief investigative report on that incident. The report does not mention whether the US Airways plane pilot made a mistake. It also doesn't mention what Instructions the cargo plane pilot received. However, California plane crash lawyers understand that air traffic controller error may have played a part in this near miss.

There were 95 persons on board the US Airways flight, and one person on the cargo plane. This near miss could have been a disaster if the two planes had collided with each other. Any collision would also have resulted in massive amounts of wreckage debris being dropped on congested residential areas, as well as busy freeways around the airport.

Los Angeles Police Investigating Fatal Accident as Possible DUI

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating a fatal accident involving a school bus last week as a possible DUI case. The accident involved a black BMW, driven by a group of teen motorists, which crashed into a school bus and then hit a pedestrian walking near the intersection. The pedestrian was killed instantly in the crash. The school bus flipped over, and at least 19 people on board, including the driver, were injured. Some of those injuries were serious.

According to witnesses at the scene, the driver of the BMW and a passenger jumped out of the car and began to flee the scene on foot before they were detained by a couple of construction workers at the scene.

California's laws make it illegal for motorists below the age of 21 to have alcohol in their vehicle while driving alone. Motorists below the age of 21 are also not allowed to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .01% or more. In the case of drivers below the age of 18, it is illegal to drive with any amount of blood alcohol concentration in your system.

California therefore has zero tolerance laws when it comes to drunk driving below the age of 18. Violating these laws can have tremendous consequences for a teenage driver. There may also be long-term consequences if your child has been arrested or charged with drunk driving. There may also be increased insurance premiums, license suspensions and other consequences to worry about. In case your child is involved in an accident that is linked to drunk driving, the consequences become more severe, especially if the accident has resulted in severe injury or death.

In cases like this, you need to get in touch with an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney as quickly as possible.

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