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Posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2016 at 1:24 pm    

Everyone knows that riding a motorcycle poses special dangers for the riders. Here are a few safety tips offered by Geico Insurance Company that can help keep you safe when you ride.


A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is 5 times more likely to sustain a critical head injury.


Protective gear and clothing will help reduce the severity of injuries in case of an accident or a skid. Generally leather is the preferred type of clothing.


Speeding substantially increases the risk that you will be involved in an accident.


Never assume that other drivers can see you. Approximately two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers violating a motorcycle rider’s right-of-way.


Take a formal riding education program, get a motorcycle license, and take riding courses from time-to-time to keep your skills sharp.


Alcohol is a significant factor in many motorcycle accidents. Fatigue and drowsiness can also impair your abilities to a significant degree.


Before you get on your bike, check the tires and tire pressure, look for oil or gas leaks, check that all lights are functioning, and make sure your hydraulic and coolant levels are ok.

Once on the bike, check your mirrors, brakes, horn, and your clutch and throttle.

If you, or someone you know sustained injuries in a motorcycle collision in Central Pennsylvania, contact the Law Office of Bill Pelhan at 717-392-6362 to learn more about your rights and legal options.

Source: An article appearing at entitled Motorcycle Safety Riding Tips.


Posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2016 at 2:05 pm    

In a recent article the New York Times, reflected on the rapid movement to what appears to be the greatest leap in automobile safety, the self-driving automobile. In this retro report, the Times noted that the theory behind the self-driving automobile is to remove the greatest threat of all to road safety: the driver.

According to this article, human error is believed to be responsible for 90% of automobile crashes making human error the leading cause of the 33,000 motor vehicle deaths that occur each year in the United States. Thus, the thinking behind driverless cars goes something like this; the robotic car will sense lurking danger and take corrective action. The robot does not have one too many drinks, it does not fall asleep at the wheel, and it does not succumb to road rage.

Thus, by eliminating a human as the driver of the automobile, it will significantly reduce the number of automobile crashes and related deaths each year.

However, the New York Times article also points out that throughout the history of automobile safety advances, each new development in safety improvement has typically started with a reluctance by manufacturers and that even once the improvement is adopted there can be some bumps along the way to perfecting the safety device.

One example given was airbags. The first airbags were designed with a 165 adult in mind and, consequently, in the early years of the airbag, approximately 100 children were killed by airbag deployment. But, during the same time period, 6,400 lives were saved. Later improvements in airbag design corrected the one size fits all approach.

The Times article notes that while self-driving cars have great potential for saving lives, there are certainly some potential problems including the possibility that the computer operating the robotic car might crash while the car is moving. Even worse, a hacker may figure out how to seize control of robotic cars purposely causing collisions. Only time will tell how long it is before the dream of robotic cars becomes a reality and how bumpy the ride is to achieving that goal.

Source: Lessons From the Past for a Future in Smart Cars by Clyde Haberman appearing in The New York Times on September 15, 2014.


Posted on Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 at 1:26 pm    

According to statistics recently released by the PennDOT, traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania rose slightly in 2015 to 1,200. This was slightly higher than the all-time low set in 2014 at 1,195.

Significant decreases in fatalities in certain types of crashes were noted by PennDOT. For example, deaths in crashes involving drivers 65 years old and older declined from 300 in 2014 to 279 in 2015. Significant decreases are also noted in crashes at intersections dropping from 271 in 2014 to 251 in 2015 and in crashes involving aggressive drivers where the number of fatalities dropped from 134 in 2014 to 119 in 2015.

However, PennDOT noted that there was a significant increase in the number of fatalities as a result of single vehicle run off the road crashes and single vehicle crashes into fixed objects.

PennDOT stated that it invests about 20 million dollars annually in safety education and enforcement efforts statewide. Nevertheless, recent statistics revealed that distracted driving citations increased by 43% from 2014 to 2015 on a statewide basis. Pennsylvania law prohibits drivers from texting while driving which includes sending, reading or writing a text-based message or email and also from wearing or using headphones or earphones while a car is in motion.

Source: Articles appearing in the Ephrata Review on April 13, 2016 entitled Traffic deaths in 2015 at second-lowest level and Distracted driving citations on the rise in Pennsylvania.


Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2016 at 2:20 pm    

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently crash tested full-size pickup trucks. Of the seven full-size pickups tested only one received a rating of “good” – the highest possible rating. That was the Ford F-150. Raul Arbelaez, V.P. of the Institute’s Vehicle Research Center, stated that “Ford is leading the way among large pickup manufacturers when it comes to protecting people in a range of crashes and offering technology to warn drivers of eminent frontal crashes”.

According to the article appearing in USA Today, the Institute tested two different configurations for each pickup, that is the crew cab and the extended cab.

The Institute says that the toughest test which the vehicles are subject to and the one that has tripped up many makers of trucks and automobiles alike is what is called the small overlap test. In that test the vehicle is crashed in a manner that simulates hitting a pole or other narrow object on one side of the front of the vehicle.

The pickups that did the worst in that crucial test were the Ram 1500 Crew Cab and the Ram 1500 Quad Cab with both vehicles receiving a marginal rating overall. The Ford F-150 was designated a top safety pick by the IIHS as a result of its overall performance in crash testing.

Source: An article appearing at on April 12, 2016 entitled Here’s the one pickup truck that aced safety group’s crash test by Chris Woodyard.


Posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2016 at 1:21 pm    

If you are about to purchase your first motorcycle or are a relatively inexperienced rider, you should consider taking a beginners Learn to Ride course. And, you will be pleased to know that Learn to Ride courses are offered every year starting in April at the Lancaster Harley-Davidson dealer in Willow Street, PA.

In a recent visit to the Lancaster H-D dealer, I met Joy Shaub the manager of the riding academy. Joy was able to fill me in on many important details regarding the Learn to Ride course offered by Lancaster Harley-Davidson.

First off, you should know that this course differs in several ways from the course offered by the state. Unlike the state program, all riders learn to ride on a Harley-Davidson Street 500 bike which is specially equipped with safety gear designed to reduce the risk of any injury. This equipment includes safety bars designed to keep the bike from falling on an individual should they drop the bike or otherwise put the bike down.

Joy pointed out several other noteworthy features of their Learn to Ride course; namely:

– The course is 25 hours which is approximately twice the time of the state course. This allows for more riding time.
– Because classes are limited to 12, instructors are able to spend more time one-on-one with any individual having difficulty mastering a particular riding skill.
– Meals are provided by Lancaster H-D.
– Courses are free to all active-duty service members, veterans and reservists, as well as first responders.

Lancaster H-D is the only Harley-Davidson dealer in our state that is certified by Harley-Davidson to offer the official Harley-Davidson courses. The charge for the new rider’s Learn to Ride course is $349.00.

Courses are filling up fast, so if you want to take a course this riding season, you will want to register quickly. A DOT approved motorcycle helmet is required. More information and registration is available through the Lancaster H-D website at Hover over Departments on the menu bar and then click on New Rider Course in the drop down menu to register or to get additional information regarding the available courses. (A course is also offered for more experienced riders). You can also call Joy at 717-464-2703 x-207.


Posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 at 1:59 pm    

Based upon a report filed by Kenneth Feinberg, the New York Times reported that approximately 32% of the payments made out of GM’s compensation fund set up for victims suffering injuries due to its defective ignition switches, were paid for accidents that happened before GM went into bankruptcy. GM’s bankruptcy was approved in 2009 and in April of this year, District Justice Robert Gerber ruled that any claims arising from injuries suffered in accidents occurring before GM’s bankruptcy were discharged by its bankruptcy.

Nevertheless, according to the Times article, the Fund Administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, approved payment for 128 claims made by victims who were injured or killed in accidents occurring before GM went bankrupt. And, GM made payment to those victims in spite of the District Court’s ruling that GM did not have a legal obligation to compensate these victims.

According to Mr. Feinberg’s latest report, 399 death and injury claims out of the 4,343 claims filed were found to be eligible for compensation. And, the Times states that the report also revealed that many of the claims were settled by the fund in spite of evidence that the victims were speeding, driving recklessly or under the influence, or not wearing a seatbelt. The total compensation authorized by the fund to the 399 eligible claimants was $595 million. And, the report indicates that just over 90% of the compensation offers were accepted by the victims or their families.

However, the article also points out that there remains 180 lawsuits pending that relate to pre-bankruptcy accidents. The attorney representing those claimants stated that the claimants are counting on the Federal Appeals Court to overturn Judge Gerber’s ruling granting GM legal immunity in those cases.

Source: An article appearing at on December 10, 2015 entitled G.M. Compensated Some Pre-Bankruptcy Crash Victims by Bill Vlasic.


Posted on Thursday, May 5th, 2016 at 3:01 pm    

Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan/Renault, recently announced that Nissan/Renault intend to launch at least 20 vehicles with significant autonomous drive functionality by 2020.

Mr. Ghosn said that while the vehicles would still require a driver capable of taking over the wheel, the vehicles could effectively drive themselves on the highway and in the city with minimal interaction by a driver.

While Ghosn stated that 2020 was a realistic goal, he also noted that a key hurdle to reaching this goal is the patchwork of global regulations on autonomous cars. Mr. Ghosn noted that it was essential for governments to adjust their laws to allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road, otherwise autonomous car development will stall out.

Source: An article appearing at on March 23, 2016 Nissan, Renault to deliver 20 models with hands-free driving by Nathan Bomey.


Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 at 2:10 pm    

Unfortunately, there seems to be a steady stream of pedestrian auto accidents in Lancaster County and, particularly, in Lancaster City. Such accidents can, and frequently do, have tragic consequences including death. One such incident was the recent collision resulting in the tragic death of Chuck Leayman when he was struck while crossing in a crosswalk at the intersection of W. Lemon and N. Mary Streets in January, 2015.

The AAA offers these tips for Pedestrian Safety.


1. Be Visible.

• Wear lightly colored or reflective clothing at night and brightly colored clothing during the day.
• Stay in well-lit areas when crossing the street.
• Make eye contact with drivers in stopped vehicles before you cross in front of them.

2. Stay Alert – Avoid Distractions.

• Put down your cell phone. Such devices can distract you when you most need to be paying attention.
• Don’t wear headphones. Your ears tell you a lot about what is happening around you.

3. Follow the Rules.

• Know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals.
• Never assume the driver will give you the right-of-way.

4. Walk in Safe Places.

• Use crosswalks when crossing the street. If a crosswalk is not available, be sure to find a well-lit spot to cross at and wait for a long gap in traffic.
• Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, be sure to walk facing traffic.
• Avoid walking along highways or other roadways where pedestrians are prohibited.

5. Avoid Alcohol Consumption.

• Almost half of pedestrian-vehicle crashes involve alcohol consumption. And, in approximately one-third of that total the alcohol consumption was by the pedestrian.


1. Be Alert.

• Watch out for pedestrians at all times.
• Obey posted speed limits.
• Be visible: Make sure your lights are on and you use your signals.
• Be mindful of pedestrians when pulling into and out of driveways.

2. Crosswalks.
• Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
• When approaching a crosswalk, be sure to reduce your speed and be prepared to stop.
• When stopping at a crosswalk, allow sufficient room between your vehicle and the crosswalk so other drivers can see the pedestrians.
• Do not pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk.

3. Do Not Drive Under the Influence.