HensonFuerst Independence Day Safety Tip #3
June 30th, 2011
Holiday Safety Tip #3: Practice Safe Driving
You know what this blog is about… these are the same instructions you give your teenagers when they begin driving, and the tips you hear every holiday weekend. During the holidays, we tend to try to cram as much fun into three days as possible. Plus, we usually travel–to see family or friends, or to a vacation spot. That means more people on the road, all of them dealing with the same stresses…and many of them cutting corners on safety. With that in mind, here are reminders about safe holiday travel:
- Watch more carefully for erratic driving by other motorists.
- Buckle up–everyone in the car should be wearing a seatbelt or be secured in a car seat.
- Avoid distractions that pull your focus off the road. This includes texting while driving (which is illegal in North Carolina, anyway), applying make up, looking for radio stations or CD tracks, reading, dialing a phone, or even having a heated discussion with others in the car or on the phone.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Mind the speed limits. If necessary, leave extra time to travel so you don’t feel pressed for time.
Finally, enjoy your weekend…and come back safely. We’ll miss you!
Happy 4th of July, everyone!
HensonFuerst Independence Day Safety Tip #2
June 30th, 2011
We say this every holiday season, but we feel compelled to say it again…
Holiday Safety Tip #2: Whether on land or on water, don’t drink and drive.
Earlier this week, we posted a blog about Operation Dry Water, a campaign to prevent BUI–”Boating Under the Influence.” And we also wrote about Operation Firecracker, part of the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s “Booze It and Lose It” campaign. From now through July 4, 2011, there will stepped-up patrols and a greater number of sobriety checkpoints throughout the state.
During the Independence Day week of 2010, North Carolina saw 205 alcohol-related crashes, and six fatalities. In addition, 1,200 North Carolina motorists were charged with driving while impaired.
We wish everyone a safe, happy, and fun-filled 4th of July… but please don’t drink and drive.
HensonFuerst Independence Day Safety Tips
June 30th, 2011
Holiday Safety Tip #1: Beware of Sparklers
The countdown to the Fourth of July holiday weekend has begun! To ensure that everyone has stays safe and healthy, HensonFuerst Attorneys is offering a few suggestions.
Do you know that one-third of fireworks-related injuries to children under age 5 are caused by SPARKLERS?!? It’s true. Those seemingly harmless decorations burn at 1,800 degrees or hotter (true!) and spit sparks from molten metals.
In one demonstration by the Roanoke County Fire Marshal, the sparks ignited and burned a dress off a hanger in 30 seconds.
“It’s the extreme temperatures that can make something go really quickly,” said [public education specialist Brian] Clingenpeel.
Experts recommend that if you must have sparklers at your party, make sure they are handled only by responsible adults.
“Our biggest advice would just be to leave the fireworks to the professional. Go see one of the professional shows. Enjoy it with your families,” said Clingenpeel.
If you’re going to set off your own fireworks, he recommends keeping a bucket of water nearby and carefully supervising children, especially when it comes to handling sparklers.
Stay safe, everyone!
Raleigh Tour Bus Crash Kills Driver
June 30th, 2011
June 30, 2011
Details are slowly being brought to light by authorities regarding a tour bus accident that killed the driver, a former North Carolina State University standout. The accident report, which was released yesterday, says that the bus was traveling five miles over the speed limit.
According to WRAL News, the accident occurred Monday on Interstate 40 near the Highway 54 exit. The bus veered off of the highway, and traveled more than 380 feet down the shoulder of the highway and crossed the on-ramp from eastbound Chapel Hill Road. It then ran into a wooded area and struck several trees, redirecting the vehicle back towards the highway, where it came to rest. The vehicle sustained heavy damage to the front end and the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
Thankfully, no passengers were aboard the bus at the time of the accident, and no other vehicles were involved. Although the accident report has been released, the exact cause of the accident is still under investigation.
The man who was killed in the accident is best remembered as the NCSU basketball star that made the game winning slam-dunk during the 1983 NCAA basketball tournament finals.
The North Carolina truck accident attorneys with HensonFuerst say that commercial bus drivers must undergo many of the same tests and follow many of the same regulations as drivers of semi trucks and can be held responsible if an accident occurs and is found to be their fault.
Gabrielle Giffords’ Recovery Called Ideal
June 28th, 2011
When Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head on January 8, 2011, her future looked grim. But she got the best treatment available, and is doing quite well. In fact, according to an article on CronkiteNewsOnline.com:
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ attending physician called the Arizona congresswoman’s recovery “ideal” and “typical for those who have the ability and access to the right resources” to recuperate from a debilitating injury.
But not everyone has those resources, said Dr. Gerard Francisco during a congressional briefing in Washington on Thursday [June 23, 2011] to support rehabilitation in America’s health care system.
According to Giffords’ doctor, Giffords stayed 4 months in the hospital, but not everyone can stay that long because of insurance limitations…and that she was allowed 4 months in-patient treatment because she is a public figure. In most hospitals, an individual with Giffords’ type of injury would be sent home after less than a month as an in-patient.
“Many people now do not have the appreciation for how brain injury rehabilitation has to be done,” Francisco said. “Unfortunately, we have had to take a lot of shortcuts in the past decade, when patients stay for under a month.”
If there is any good to come from this tragic shooting, perhaps it might be the start of a national discussion and change in how health insurance deals with the rehabilitation of people with brain injuries.
To read the full article, click here: Giffords’ recovery praised by doctor, who tells Washington to support rehab
Army Asks Soldiers to Take Concussions Seriously
June 27th, 2011
We have been writing a lot recently about the National Football League (NFL) and the steps they are taking to make sure that players and coaches take concussions seriously. Now, the U.S. Army is waging a similar campaign.
According to an article in Army Times, the Army is teaching soldiers that concussion–also known as mild traumatic brain injury–is a physical wound, not a behavioral issue. It has also launched a new campaign to reverse the “cultural attitude” against this common battlefield injury. (How common? Since 2000, soldiers have suffered more than 91,000 concussions.)
According to the article, this concussion awareness campaign has several features:
- Soldiers will be required to take an annual traumatic brain injury (TBI) awareness class, and a second class about how to assess and treat concussions.
- Concussions must be recorded and tracked.
- To remember the symptoms of concussion, soldiers are taught the acronym HEADS: H = Headache; E = Ear ringing; A = Amnesia or loss of consciousness; D = Double vision or Dizziness; S = “Something feels wrong.”
In a perfect world, our soldiers would not have to experience concussions (or any injury). But this is a step in the right direction–mild traumatic brain injury can be a serious injury, and it deserves respect, awareness, and treatment.
It’s the least we can do for our soldiers.
To read the full article in Army Times, click here: Army to soldiers: Take concussions seriously
For more information about the effects of concussions, feel free to visit the HensonFuerst website at http://www.lawmed.com/. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
"Operation Dry Water" Starts Today
June 24th, 2011
We all know about the risk of driving under the influence (DUI), but do you know that there is also a danger when “boating under the influence”? Boating under the Influence (BUI) is both dangerous and illegal. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the use of alcohol is involved in about a 17% of all recreational boating fatalities. If marine law enforcement finds that a boat operator is BUI, the vessel’s voyage will be terminated, the boat may be impounded and the operator may be arrested. Penalties may include fines, imprisonment, impoundment of the boat, loss of boating privileges, even loss of driving privileges.
Alcohol and many drugs can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. The problem is compounded by sun, wind, noise, vibration and movement , which cause fatigue. As a result, a boat operator’s coordination, judgment and reaction time decline even faster when using alcohol, drugs and some prescribed and over-the-counter medications.
A boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration above .10 percent is estimated to be more than 10 times as likely to die in a boating accident than an operator with zero blood alcohol concentration. Passengers are also at greatly increased risk for injury and death – especially if they are also using alcohol.
To combat this problem, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), along with the states and the U.S. Coast Guard, coordinates “Operation Dry Water” every year during the last weekend in June.
This year, Operation Dry Water is June 24-26, 2011, and North Carolina is a major participant. In previous years, hundreds of intoxicated boaters were arrested during Operation Dry Water. If you are a boater, you can expect to see an increased number of BUI checkpoints, as well as random stops for alcohol testing.
At HensonFuerst Attorneys, we applaud this action. We know the disastrous effects of driving while impaired, and it makes sense to educate boaters about the effects of intoxication, as well. We’re just at the start of the summer boating season: Stay Safe!
To learn more about this program, click here: Operation Dry Water
Dunn Couple Killed By Drunk Driver
June 23rd, 2011
June 23, 2011
A couple from Dunn, North Carolina, was killed on a Sunday motorcycle ride by what state troopers believe was a drunk driver. According to WRAL News, the accident occurred at 12:20 Am on North Carolina Highway 82, near the Averasboro Civil War Battleground.
The accident occurred when the driver of a white, Chevy pick up truck crossed the centerline on the road while intoxicated and operating an IPod. The truck struck the motorcycle head-on, throwing both the driver and the passenger off the bike. A friend who was riding with the couple at the time of the crash witnessed the accident and said “It was terrible, there was nothing anybody could have done.”
The man who died in the accident leaves behind a 5-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl. He was also a regular volunteer with Dunn Emergency Services.
The drunk driver involved in the accident was arrested and charged with two counts of felony death by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, driving left of center, and careless and reckless driving. He was originally being held on a $100,000 bond, but a magistrate later lowered the bond to $50,000.
The North Carolina Wrongful Death Attorneys with HensonFuerst may be able to help family members who have lost a loved one too early because of someone else’s careless mistake. Their wrongful death lawyers have experience and sensitivity. Fill out a free consultation form now!
Kiddie Pools More Dangerous Than You Think!
June 22nd, 2011
from The New York Times
All parents know that in-ground swimming pools are a danger to children. We know to keep an eye on swimming children, and homeowners need to keep the pool fenced in to prevent kids from accidentally falling in and drowning.
But the problem extends beyond large pools. Now, for the first time ever, the medical journal Pediatrics reports on submersion events in wading pools, kiddie pools, and portable above-ground pools.
According to the article, there were 209 fatal and 35 nonfatal cases reported from 2001 to 2009. Most (94%) involved children younger than age 5, and 73% of the events occurred in the child’s own backyard. The pools ranged from the tiny inflatable wading pools (with water 18 inches deep or less) to larger portable pools (with water depth 19 to 48 inches).
According to an article in The New York Times, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) believes the number of accidents is likely understated:
“In our opinion, we don’t think parents are paying the same attention to safety when they go out and buy a portable pool,” said Dr. Gary A. Smith, senior author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “We want parents to understand these pools also pose a similar drowning risk for young children as in-ground pools.”
The stories were educational…and frightening.
It can be difficult to understand how 6 inches of water in a kiddie pool can be dangerous. (At least one accident occurred in a mere 2 inches of water.) For about 1-in-5 cases, supervision lapsed when the adult in charge fell asleep, answered the telephone, chatted with a neighbor, or did chores inside or outside of the house. In one case, two 9-year-old girls jumped into a covered, inflatable pool and drowned when they became entangled in the cover. In another, 3-year-old twins unlocked their back door, exited the house, and drowned in a neighbor’s pool.
According to the article in Pediatrics:
Preventing children from accessing the pool area is the first step in preventing submersion events in residential swimming pools. It is recommended that pool fencing be at least 4-feet high, nonclimbable, have no opening under the fence or between uprights…and have gates that open away from the pool and are self-closing and self-latching.
The researchers also suggest the use of door locks and alarms, removing ladders or items that could be used by a child to gain entry to the pool, keeping toys out of the pool (when not in use), and swimming and water safety lessons for children and adults. Also, it might be valuable to empty small pools after each use to prevent a child from going into the water unsupervised.
To read the full article in The New York Times, click here: Portable Pools Pose Drowning Risk
To read the full article in Pediatrics, click here: Pediatric Submersion Events
Hit-and-Run Driver Urged to Stop Running
June 21st, 2011
According to a report on WRAL.com, a woman driving a 4-door, light brown Honda Accord crashed into a bicyclist in Fuquay-Varina. She stopped to ask “Are you okay?” but sped off without waiting around for an answer.
The bicyclist, Joe Natale, was thrown into a ditch by the impact. He was banged up and bruised, but lived to tell the story.
“The sound was horrific. I remember sliding and hearing plastic from the bike getting torn up,” he said. “I said, ‘God, don’t let somebody else run over me.’”
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol are actively looking for the driver, and anyone who knows anything about the accident is encouraged to contact the police. One important clue: The crash broke the sideview mirror off the woman’s car.
Sharing the Road
There Mr. Natale is hoping that his pain can serve to remind drivers of the rules of the road. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) has “Share the Road” rules designed to keep cyclists safe.
Motor vehicle drivers are reminded to:
- Use signals to make sure cyclists and other drivers can anticipate movements.
- Leave a minimum of 2 feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist on the left, and don’t move back to the right until safely past the bicycle.
- Not pass on the crest of a hill or at a curve in the road where you cannot see at least 500 feet ahead.
- Wait until the cyclist has cleared the intersection before making a turn, and don’t make a right turn in front of a cyclist you have just passed.
- Slow down when passing a cyclist, and try not to make any startling sounds or movements.
- If there is oncoming traffic, wait until the traffic has gone by before passing the cyclist.
- When approaching an oncoming cyclist at night, dim your lights.
Bicyclists are reminded to:
- Follow all the same rules of the road as motorists, including riding on the right side of the road.
- Use signals to warn motorists of your movements.
- Yield to other drivers and pedestrians, as appropriate, at intersections, alleys, and traffic circles.
- Move to the right to allow lawfully operated overtaking vehicles to safely pass.
- Remain aware of your surroundings, and try not to make any sudden or unexpected movements.
To read the full WRAL.com article about the hit-and-run crash, click here: Wake Bicyclist Urges Driver Who Hit Him to Come Forward
To read the NC-DOT rules of the road for motor vehicle operators and cyclists, click here: Share the Road
HensonFuerst has a particular interest keeping cyclists safe: We’re cyclists ourselves. We even have a HensonFuerst Cycling Team, which rides for fun and participates in fundraising efforts for various organizations, including the American Diabetes Association (the Tour de Cure) and the Brain Injury Association of NC (the Ride for the Rock). Plus, we represent too many cyclists who have been injured as the result of negligent motorists. We urge everyone–cyclists and motorists–to Share the Road for safety.
For more information about HensonFuerst and our cycling team, visit our website at www.lawmed.com. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.