Halloween Safety: Dangerous drivers scarier than vampires and werewolves.

Ghouls and ghosts and goblins should be the only things kids have to be afraid of during the Halloween season.  Distracted or unsafe drivers should not be an issue. But unfortunately, they can be.

That’s why as drivers, we need to be extra aware as Halloween approaches. If you aren’t a parent, you might not know when trick-or-treating takes place in your area. But it shouldn’t take much effort to find out when it is. You can ask a neighbor. An online search or a call to your City Hall likely will help you find out. Once you know when trick-or-treating is in your area, it is up to you as a driver to take extra care if you are on the roads during the event. If you are on the roads and see swarms of costumed kids, it is time to slow down and watch the road extra closely.

Here are some tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for driving safely during trick-or-treat events in your area:

  • Drive slowly, and don’t pass stopped vehicles. The driver may be stopping to drop off children who are trick-or-treating.
  • Park your mobile phone. Avoid distractions by waiting until you’ve stopped to call, text, or surf, as you should every time you are behind the wheel.
  • Watch for children darting into the street. Kids can cross the street anywhere, and most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections.
  • Yield to young pedestrians. Children might not stop, either, because they don’t see your vehicle approaching or don’t know how to safely cross the street.
  • Communicate with other drivers. Always use your turn signals. And if you have to pull over to drop off or pick up your kids, turn on your hazard lights.

If you are a parent with young children, you probably are already thinking about their costumes and planning for the big night of trick-or-treating. But costumes and candy shouldn’t be your only concern. As parents, we also must make sure our children are knowledgeable about trick-or-treat safety.

To keep your own kids safe as they are trick-or-treating:

  • Teach them how to safely cross streets. They should look both ways and cross only at corners and crosswalks.
  • Consider indoor community Halloween programs for younger kids. Some communities also offer to help you inspect your kids’ treats to make sure they are safe to eat.
  • Brighten them up. Give them flashlights and glow sticks, and/or use reflective tape on their costumes, so drivers can see them.

Halloween should be a very fun time of the year. Don’t let a lack of preparation or awareness ruin the fun for your family, or someone else’s family. Be safe and have fun this Halloween.

Drivers who use cell phones are high-risk drivers, even without devices

By now, we all are aware of the dangers of texting or using other electronic devices while you are behind the wheel. In 2010, more than 1.2 million accidents involved drivers who were talking on their phones or texting. In response, many states have enacted laws banning the use of cell phones by drivers. Last month, Ohio became the 39th state to ban texting while driving.

However, a recent study shows that banning the use of cell phones while driving may not necessarily have the expected effect. That’s because researchers found that people who use cell phones while driving are more likely to be high-risk drivers, even when you remove cell phones from the equation.

The study, conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s New England University Transportation Center, looked at the behavior of 108 Greater Boston drivers. About half of the drivers admitted frequent phone use when driving and the rest said they rarely used their phones behind the wheel.

For each person, the researchers compared answers on a questionnaire with data collected from on-board sensors during a 40-minute test drive.

The frequent callers tended to:

–          Drive faster

–          Change lanes more often

–          Spend more time in the far-left lane

–          Accelerate rapidly

–          Slam on their brakes

The results suggest that the driver’s personality may be the real risk. “They are subtle clues indicative of more aggressive driving,” said study leader Bryan Reimer, a human factors engineer at MIT.

“Legislating the technology alone is not going to solve the problem,” Reimer said. “We need to look more at the behavior of the individual.”

This may explain why cell phone bans have not resulted in lower accident numbers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, two separate studies found no reduction in crashes due to hand-held cell phone or texting bans, based on insurance claim rates in states with and without the laws.

Whether or not the bans are showing a definitive reduction in crashes, legislators need to continue looking at ways to adapt laws to keep up with technology and keep all drivers safe on the roads. As Massachusetts Sen. Mark Motigny said, “You can’t really legislate against irresponsibility or stupidity, but you can at least take away one of the distractions.”

As always, the ultimate responsibility lies with each individual driver. Slowing down and driving defensively are always the best ways to reduce accidents and save lives.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact the Ohio auto accident attorneys of Elk & Elk today. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or fill out our online evaluation form.

 

Euclid focus of insurance company’s motorcycle safety efforts

One Cleveland suburb has become part of a nationwide effort to increase motorcycle safety. Allstate Insurance has posted signs reading “Watch for Motorcycles” at one intersection in Euclid as part of the company’s ONE (Once is Never Enough) program.

The Ohio personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk believe that motorcycle safety is an important issue. To read more about the signs and Allstate’s program, click here.

 

Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers: More Americans traveling this Labor Day weekend

Major Traffic Jam 1As the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day traditionally finds many of us celebrating with family picnics, ball games and vacations. In spite of soaring gas prices once again creeping near the $4 per gallon mark, a higher number of travelers are expected to be traveling during this long Labor Day weekend.

According to AAA, 33 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, a 2.9 percent increase from the 32.1 million people who traveled last year. 

Approximately 28.2 million people (85 percent of holiday travelers) will make their Labor Day holiday journey by automobile, considered the most convenient mode of travel for many Americans.  This is a 3.1 percent increase over the 27.3 million people who took to the nation’s roadways in 2011. The total number of 2012 Labor Day holiday travelers is expected to reach a new post-recession high. Continue reading “Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers: More Americans traveling this Labor Day weekend”

Ohio Product Defect Lawyers: Magnetic balls dangerous to young children

A safety watchdog has filed suit against the manufacturers of magnetic balls, claiming they are dangerous to children. The Ohio product recall lawyers of Elk & Elk believe companies should not benefit from dangerous products.

In an effort to protect children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has sued two companies that manufacture high-powered magnetic balls.

The CPSC filed administrative complaints against Zen Magnets of Denver, CO, and Maxfield & Oberton Holdings of New York City alleging that the company’s products contain defects in the design, packaging, warnings and instructions which pose a substantial risk of injury.

Maxfield & Oberton is the manufacturer of the popular Buckyballs, the high-powered magnetic desktop toys for adults that many young children have swallowed. The tiny magnets can then cluster together and get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract, causing blockage or infection or punching holes through the stomach or intestinal walls. Continue reading “Ohio Product Defect Lawyers: Magnetic balls dangerous to young children”