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Texting & Driving Laws in Orange County

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Archive: Oct 2018

Texting & Driving Laws in Orange County

Negligent distracted drivers took at least 3,450 lives across the U.S. in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). By now, most states have recognized the seriousness of texting and driving and passed some form of distracted driving law. California is no exception. Although texting and driving is never a good idea, in some states and cities it can result in traffic citations and hefty fines – as well as liability for a resultant car accident. Here is what you need to know about texting and driving laws in Santa Ana, California.

If you or a loved one was recently injured by a distracted driver, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim. Speak to a car collision lawyer in Orange County to see if you are eligible.

The Dangers of Texting and Driving

Texting and driving kills. More than 44% of Californians believe texting and driving is the most serious form of driver distraction, according to a survey by the California Office of Traffic Safety. More than half of drivers surveyed (54%) said someone had hit them or nearly hit them while talking on a cell phone. National crash statistics found that something distracted at least 10% of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal accidents – likely cellphones. Cellphone use behind the wheel triples the risk of getting into a crash.

Texting and driving is such a deadly form of driver distraction because it removes a driver’s eyes, hands, and thoughts from the road. A driver must look at the phone to read a message, touch the phone to text back, and think about the conversation instead of the driving task. It is one of the only forms of driver distraction that requires all three types of attention. The NHTSA states that reading or writing one text message (looking at a phone for five seconds) at 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving across a football field with your eyes closed.

Understanding the dangers of texting and driving is the first step toward preventing this deadly mistake. Not only could you cause serious injuries or death while texting and driving – but you could also face civil and criminal repercussions. On top of traffic fines, you may be liable for damages if you cause a collision. This could result in higher insurance premiums and a civil case against you. You could also face criminal charges, such as vehicular assault or manslaughter if you hurt someone while texting.

Statewide Ban on Handheld Cell Phone Use

The state of California has one of the strictest universal cell phone bans in the country. California Vehicle Code Section 23123.5 states that no person shall drive a vehicle while holding and operating a handheld cell phone or other electronic communications device. This prohibits texting, scrolling, emailing, and even talking on handheld cell phones while driving anywhere in California – including in Santa Ana.

The only acceptable forms of cell phone use while driving are voice-operated and hands-free operations. The cell phone law does not apply to manufacturer-installed devices embedded in the vehicle. To operate a hands-free device, a driver must mount the device in the vehicle is the same way they mount GPS systems. The only time a driver’s hand can touch the device is to activate or deactivate hands-free features, with a single tap or swipe of the finger. Exceptions exist for making emergency phone calls to 911 or another emergency service agency.

Motorists under the age of 18 cannot use cell phones while driving in any manner – even hands-free use. The state’s handheld wireless phone law took effect July 1, 2008, while the texting and driving law took effect on January 1, 2009. The law is primary, meaning police officers don’t need any other reason to conduct at a traffic stop. Violating the statewide texting and driving ban can result in a fine of $20 for a first infraction and $50 for subsequent offenses, plus additional costs that can bring the fines to $159 and $279, minimum. Protect yourself and others. Put your phone down while driving.

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What Minor Injuries Can You Claim Workers’ Compensation For in Orange County?

Although many work-related injuries are serious, you don’t have to suffer a concussion or permanent spinal cord injury to qualify for California workers’ compensation. The state program extends to all injured workers, regardless of the severity of the injury, if the incident occurred during a job-related task and the employee qualifies for benefits. You can claim workers’ comp for many different minor injuries to avoid out-of-pocket medical expenses. The following are a few common minor injuries that qualify for a claim in California.

To learn more about what you need to file a work injury claim, contact one of our Orange County workers compensation lawyers today.

Minor Lacerations

If you cut yourself at work, you may need to visit a doctor for disinfecting treatments, stitches, or bandages. Open cuts are prone to infection without proper medical treatment and follow-up care. A cut in the wrong place could force you out of work for a week or longer while the wound heals. If you work as a chef, for example, your employer may not permit you to keep working with an open cut on your hand. Although a minor laceration isn’t a serious injury, you could still seek restitution for your doctor’s visit, treatment, and time off work.

First-Degree Burn

Working around hot equipment, electrical components, or harsh chemicals could result in minor job-related burns. A first-degree burn can be painful, but won’t form blisters or break the skin. Thus, the risk of infection is very low. Still, a first-degree burn could be enough to send you home for the day, or require medical care if it covers a large portion of your body or a vulnerable area, such as the face. If you lost hours or must visit a doctor for your first-degree burn injury, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation.

Bump on the Head

You should always see a doctor immediately after an incident that involves something striking your head, even if you feel normal and don’t think you have a concussion. Many head and brain injuries have hidden or delayed symptoms. A medical scan may be the only way to diagnose your brain injury in its early stages. If you fall and hit your head or something falls and strikes your head, tell your supervisor and request an immediate visit to the hospital – even if you don’t feel any symptoms. You may then request workers’ compensation coverage for the medical visit and any treatments the doctor recommends.

Sprain or Strain

Bending and lifting objects, repetitive motions, and slip and fall accidents can all result in muscle sprains or strains. Soft-tissue injuries can cause significant pain and temporary disability. If a work-related sprain or strain puts you out of work or requires medical attention, file a claim for workers’ compensation. Request reimbursement for visits to a doctor, chiropractor, or rehabilitation center, as well as any days you had to miss from work. If a strain temporarily puts you in a different position for lower pay, you may also qualify for lost wage compensation.

Allergic Reaction

If something at work – such as a bee sting – triggers an allergic reaction, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation for related health problems. Allergic reactions may require a hospital visit and treatment to reduce swelling, as well as emergency actions such as using an EpiPen. You may have to go home for the day or take a few days off to completely recover. Even minor allergies may qualify if they require medical care or days off.

Get More Information About Minor Injuries and CA Workers’ Compensation

Almost all injuries can qualify for workers’ compensation in California. Minor injuries will give rise to workers’ compensation claims if they cost the employee damages in the form of medical bills and/or missed income. You may not qualify for disability benefits or lost wages if your injury isn’t serious enough to put you out of work for at least a week. However, you can receive medical care compensation if you’re a covered employee and the injury occurred at work. Contact a lawyer if you encounter problems obtaining workers’ compensation for a minor injury in Orange County.

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How to Safely Share the Road with Big Rigs

Truck accidents aren’t necessarily more common than typical car accidents, but they are deadlier. When big rigs crash into smaller vehicles, passenger vehicle occupants almost always suffer worse injuries than truck drivers. In 2016, 4,213 fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. involved commercial trucks. Most fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants. Reduce your risk of a collision with a large truck by being proactive. Use the following safety tips to share the road with big rigs – without risking your life.

If you were recently involved in an accident with a big rig, speak to a truck wreck lawyer from Orange County now. A qualified attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Leave Plenty of Room to the Front of the Truck

Never drive too closely to the front of a big rig. Large trucks take longer to stop than passenger vehicles traveling the same speed. It takes about twice as much distance for an 18-wheeler to stop than a smaller vehicle. Assuming a truck driver can stop before hitting you can lead to a deadly rear-end collision. Don’t swerve in front of big rigs and hit your brakes, as odds are the driver can’t stop the truck fast enough to avoid striking you.

Don’t Drive in the No Zone

The No Zone describes areas on all sides of the big rig where the truck driver has blind spots. The length and height of a big rig makes it impossible for truckers to clearly see all parts of the roadway. Although many drivers assume truckers have a better vantage point from so high up, the opposite is true. Stay at least 30 feet away from the back of the truck, 20 feet from the front, one lane from the left, and two lanes from the right to avoid a truck’s No Zone. This will minimize your odds of the truck merging on top of you, or colliding with the truck if it stops.

Go Slowly

Braking isn’t the only thing big rigs do differently. All types of maneuvers take longer from behind the wheel of a large truck. Truckers must make slow, wide turns, and cannot maneuver to avoid a collision very quickly. Give a truck driver plenty of time and space to make his/her move, always assuming the trucker cannot see you or stop in time. Never cut off a truck to reach an exit or while the truck is making a turn. Don’t tailgate a big rig, or you could end up in a fatal underride accident. Go slow in all that you do around a big truck.

Pass Quickly

Don’t linger behind or near a big rig if you can help it. Minimizing time spent around the commercial truck can reduce your risk of a serious accident. Pass the large truck as soon as it is safe to do so. Pass as quickly as you can without speeding. Spending too much time hovering by the side of the truck puts you in a dangerous No Zone. The large size of the truck also creates a wind tunnel that can push and pull your vehicle. Carry out your passing maneuver as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Don’t Underestimate a Truck’s Speed

A common mistake passenger vehicle drivers make is assuming the big size and heavy weight of a big rig means all trucks are driving slowly. This can lead to motorists trying to turn in front of oncoming trucks when they don’t have enough time to do so safely. Don’t underestimate the speed of an approaching big rig at an intersection. Remember, large trucks cannot stop as quickly. The truck will smash into you if you make a turn without enough time. T-bone collisions with big rigs are often fatal for motorists.

Yield Right Away

To be safe, avoid thinking you always have the right-of-way since a commercial truck is slower than your vehicle. The slowness of the large truck does not determine right-of-way at an intersection or freeway on-ramp. The regular rules of the road still apply with a big rig in the picture. Yield a truck driver the right-of-way when applicable. Give the truck driver enough time and space to make his/her move before proceeding.

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