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MOTORCYCLE DEALERS JOIN ATTORNEY BILL PELHAN TO OFFER MOTORCYCLISTS FREE ICE CARDS

Posted on Thursday, June 30th, 2016 at 1:18 pm    

Starting in the spring of this year, most of the local motorcycle dealers in Lancaster County and nearby areas have joined the Law Office of Bill Pelhan in its efforts to make ICE cards available to motorcyclists throughout our area. In case you are not familiar with the concept of an ICE card, ICE stands for “in case of emergency”. These cards are also often referred to emergency medical cards.

And as such, the card contains basic information about you that could be of vital importance to emergency medical responders who are providing treatment at the scene of an accident.

After speaking to an attorney colleague in the mid-west about his efforts to distribute ICE cards to motorcyclists in their state, I thought this was something we could and should do for our community, too. Given that the information contained in an ICE card could literally save someone’s life, I was quite surprised when I discovered that no one was making such cards readily available to motorcyclists in our area. Following some additional research regarding ICE cards, and with the input of the director of operations at LEMSA, Jerry Schram, we came up with a simple ICE card that can be easily completed by the motorcyclist and slipped into their wallet.

After completing the design for the ICE card, I contacted local motorcycle dealers in our county and surrounding area to get their help in distributing the cards. I am pleased that virtually all of the dealers have joined me in this effort to make ICE cards available to motorcyclists in our area.

Channel 27 News and Blue Ridge TV recently did a story about our efforts to get these ICE cards out to the motorcyclists in our area. Here are the links for those stories: http://abc27.com/2016/05/16/Lancaster-lawyer-creates-cards-for-emergencies/ and https://youtu.be/wJFFwsH5VAo.

You can get an ICE card at most of the major motorcycle dealers in Lancaster County and also by going to the menu bar at our site and clicking on download ICE card.

PA ALLOWS 70 MPH SPEED LIMITS ON 800 MILES OF STATE ROADWAYS

Posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 at 1:22 pm    

Pennsylvania will allow motorists to go up to 70 mph on approximately 800 miles of Pennsylvania highways as soon as PennDOT crews complete posting the new speed limit signsas soon as PennDOT crews complete posting the new speed limit signs

Approximately 36 states already have speed limits of 70 mph or higher. Pennsylvania allowed the higher speed limits as part of a 2013 law that also raised motorists’ taxes and fees in an effort to raise an additional $2 billion dollars each year for highway improvements.

As a result of these higher speed limits postings, approximately 90% of the Pennsylvania Turnpike will allow for speeds up to 70 mph. Areas on the turnpike that will not get the higher speed limits are areas that have significant crash histories, work zones, heavy or weaving traffic and other characteristics that PennDOT officials felt made the higher speed limits unsafe.

In addition to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, other Pennsylvania highways that will see new 70 mph speed limits include sections of Interstate 79, 80, 99 and 380 and U.S. 15.

PennDOT officials stated that before deciding where it would allow the higher speed limits, it carefully studied such factors as speed, traffic data and the physical characteristics of the highways.

If you, or someone you know, sustained injuries in a motor vehicle 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 in the LNP on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 entitled 70 mph limit starts on 800 miles of road.

DON’T DRINK AND RIDE

Posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 at 6:29 pm    

According to recent statistics released by NHTSA, approximately 43% of the nearly 2,000 motorcycle riders who died in single vehicle crashes in 2014 were alcohol impaired. And looking at weekend nights only, this percentage increased dramatically to 62% of those killed in single vehicle crashes on weekend nights being alcohol impaired.

Alcohol and drugs can affect your ability to ride a motorcycle safely in many ways. It negatively affects your judgment, coordination, balance, throttle control and ability to shift gears. Additionally, alcohol and drugs also impair your alertness and increases your reaction time.

Furthermore, helmet use is significantly lower among motorcyclists who are alcohol impaired compared to those who have not consumed alcohol prior to riding.

Even when you are fully alert, it is impossible to predict what other vehicles or pedestrians on the highways are going to do. Therefore, make sure you are alcohol and drug-free when getting on your motorcycle. The life you save by following this simple rule is likely to be your own.

Even if you are lucky enough to avoid an accident while riding impaired, keep in mind the penalty for a DUI typically is around $10,000, can lead to jail time, the loss of your driver’s license, and significantly higher insurance rates.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

AIRBAG WOES CONTINUE FOR THE AUTO MANUFACTURERS

Posted on Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 at 1:18 pm    

Nissan recently announced that it is recalling approximately 3.5 million vehicles because the front passenger’s airbag may not work properly in a crash.

According to an article appearing in the New York Times, this recall ends a two year effort by federal regulators to get Nissan to fix widespread problems with the occupant sensing system which is designed to detect whether or not the passenger seat is empty or occupied by a child or an adult.

The recall involves some of Nissan’s most popular models including: the 2013 – 2016 Ultima; 2014 – 2017 Rogue; 2016 – 2017 Maxima; 2015 – 2016 Murano; 2013 – 2017 Pathfinder; 2013 – 2016 Leaf; and the 2014 – 2016 Infinity Q50 and QX60.

It should be noted that this problem is different than the problem involving airbags using defective Takata inflators. The problem with airbags using the defective Takata inflators is that the inflators are defective and they can deploy with excessive force causing metal and plastic fragments/shards to strike the very individual that the airbag is intended to protect.

Source: An article appearing at nytimes.com entitled Nissan Recalls 3.5 Million Vehicles for Airbag Problems by Christopher Jensen on April 29, 2016.

HAWAII SUES TAKATA OVER AIR BAGS

Posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2016 at 1:29 pm    

According to a recent USA Today article, Hawaii claims to be the first state to file a lawsuit against Takata. According to the article, Hawaii filed the lawsuit against Takata on the basis that it violated the state’s unfair and deceptive practices law by reformulating the propellant in its air bags to use a substance it knew was risky. Honda is also being sued by Hawaii on the basis that they made cars which they knew were unsafe.

The lawsuit alleges that Takata and Honda put profits ahead of their customers’ safety. And, Stephen Levins, the executive director of Hawaii’s Office of Consumer Protection stated that Hawaii intends to hold Takata and Honda accountable for their conduct. The lawsuit alleges that Takata engaged in deception when it switched to a cheaper propellant in its inflators (ammonia nitrate) which is more unpredictable when the air bags deploy in a car crash. And, Hawaii also alleges that Takata sought to hide the fact that it had discovered that the air bags could be faulty.

Earlier in May, 2016, NHTSA announced that Takata would recall another 35 to 40 million air bags in addition to the 28.3 million that had already been recalled. Thus far 10 deaths and hundreds of injuries have been blamed on the faulty Takata air bag inflators which can spew deadly metal fragments and plastic shrapnel when they deploy.

Source: An article appearing in usatoday.com on May 16, 2016 entitled Hawaii says it’s first state to sue Takata over air bags by Chris Woodyard.

SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS NOW MAKING THEIR WAY INTO TRIAL

Posted on Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 at 1:59 pm    

A recent murder trial in Lancaster County illustrates the significance that postings on social media can play in trials and lawsuits.

At the recent homicide trial of Lester Johnson in the beating death of 2 year-old Ranasia Knight presiding judge, Dennis Reinaker, admitted into evidence a mock coupon for one free murder appearing on the Facebook account of the accused Johnson. This evidence was admitted in spite of the defense attorneys’ strenuous objections to the admission of the coupon based upon the argument that anyone could have posted the coupon to the Facebook account associated with defendant Johnson.

In the article appearing in LNP, it was noted that this was not the only case where such evidence has been admitted. One example is in the trial of the accused Boston Marathon bomber where social media accounts were introduced into evidence.

The introduction of social media posts is becoming more and more common in civil litigation and trials, including cases involving personal injury claims. It is a fairly common practice for insurance companies and defense attorneys to search social media accounts of an accident victim for anything that they think could be used against the injured victim in a lawsuit brought by the injured party. For example, an insurance company might look for a photograph that suggests that the injured parties injuries are not as painful as the injured party claimed.

The LNP article noted, “. . . officials said the case is a disclaimer for folks with public social media accounts: Be careful what you post. Anyone, including criminal investigators, could see it”.

Source: Article entitled Social media increasingly part of trials by Brett Hambright appearing in LNP on Tuesday, March 24, 2014.

IS THAT MOTORCYCLE HELMET SAFE?

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2016 at 1:32 pm    

For more than two decades now, May has been designated as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness month in Pennsylvania.

In addition to learning to ride safely, another important step that motorcyclists can take to help insure their safety is wearing the proper clothing and helmet. Here are some tips offered by NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation to insure that the helmet that you buy is a safe helmet.

According to NHTSA’s website, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all motorcycle helmets sold in the United States meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS 218). This standard provides minimum performance levels that helmets must meet in order to protect the head and brain in the event of a crash. And, all states requiring the use of helmets also require that the helmet meet the federal regulations for safe helmets.

Nevertheless, NHTSA notes that there are helmets being sold as novelty items which circumvent the FMVSS 218 standards.

NHTSA recommends to insure that you are getting a safe helmet, you should look for the DOT sticker on the outside of the helmet. However, NHTSA notes that some novelty helmet sellers will provide DOT stickers separately to apply to non-complying helmets. Therefore, NHTSA suggests that you also look inside the helmet for a label indicating that the helmet also meets the standards of non-profit safety organizations such as SNELL or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). NHTSA website states that they have never seen a novelty helmet or unsafe helmet that has both a phony DOT sticker and a phony SNELL or ANSI label.

In addition to following these guidelines, a reputable motorcycle dealer should be able to advise you whether or not a helmet you are considering purchasing meets the federal guidelines for a safe helmet.

Source: The website for the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

HOW TO KEEP YOUNG DRIVERS SAFE ON OUR ROADWAYS

Posted on Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 at 1:43 pm    

The National Senate for Health Statistics reports that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15 to 20 year olds. One in five 16 year old drivers has an accident within their first year of driving.

Here are some safety tips to help keep your children and young adults safe on the highway.

• TURN OFF THE PHONES. According to the National Safety Council, when talking on a cellphone, drivers can miss seeing up to half of their surroundings including traffic lights, stop signs and pedestrians. Numerous studies show that hands-free devices are no safer because the brain remains distracted by the conversation.

• SLOW DOWN. Speeding reduces all drivers’ ability to avoid an accident. However, this is even more so for new and inexperienced drivers.

• KEEP PASSENGERS TO A MINIMUM. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the risk of an accident for a young driver increases by 44% with one passenger, doubles with two and quadruples with three or more. In fact, many states now have laws limiting the number of passengers teenaged drivers may have in the car when driving.

• AVOID ALL DISTRACTIONS. Teen drivers are not only easily distracted by cellphones and other passengers, but due to their inexperience even something as simple as listening to the radio can prove a significant distraction. All drivers, not just teens, should avoid distracting activities which can take your attention away from the road. This includes such things as texting, snapchat, talking on the phone, making phone calls, and texting while driving.

Source: An article appearing in the Lititz Record Express on Thursday, March 10, 2016 entitled How to Help Young Drivers Stay Safe on the Road.

FIVE HIDDEN HOME HAZARDS

Posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2016 at 3:46 pm    

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), these are the top five hidden hazards in a home:

1. MAGNETS:
Small powerful magnets, when swallowed, can attract inside the body and block, twist or tear the intestines. If you think your child has swallowed a magnet, seek medical attention immediately.

2. RECALLED PRODUCTS:
There are many products that are recalled because they pose a serious danger or a health hazard. The CPSC recommends that you be aware of the latest safety recalls so you can get dangerous products out of your home. You can sign up for recall notices at www.cpsc.gov.

3. WINDOWS:
Blinds can be extremely dangerous and can present an extreme danger to small children. The CPSC recommends that you never place a crib or playpen near a window blind. And, to prevent strangulation, use cordless blinds or install safety devices on blinds. They also recommend that you install window guards or stops to prevent falls.

4. TIP OVER:
Because children will climb on things, top-heavy furniture can pose a risk to children. TVs and stoves can tipover and crush young children. The CPSC recommends that you make such appliances, etc. more stable using anchors and brackets.

5. POOLS AND SPA DRAINS:
The suction from a pool or spa drain can be powerful enough to trap a young child or even an adult underwater. Therefore, the CPSC recommends that you inspect pools and spas for missing or broken drain covers and replace any missing or broken drain covers.

For more information or to sign up for recall notices, see the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission site at www.cpsc.gov.

SEATBELT DEFECT LEADS TO RECALL OF 1 MILLION TRUCKS BY GM

Posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 at 1:44 pm    

According to a recent article appearing in the USA Today, GM is recalling more than 1 million of its pickup trucks due to a defect in its seatbelts. Apparently, the defect stems from a flexible steel cable which can wear out over time and eventually snap as a result of the driver repeatedly sitting down on the seat.

The recall affects 2014 and 2015 model-year Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks. This recall covers approximately one year’s worth of production of these popular vehicles by GM.

The recall affects vehicles in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Middle East. In a statement, GM said the cost of repairs will be free to owners and is not expected to be significant.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on April 15, 2016 by Nathan Bomey entitled GM seat-belt defect triggers 1 million-truck recall.