Distracted driving is no “accident”

Fascinating NYT article on how we talk about distracted driving.  Words have meaning.  The word “accident” implies no one is responsible.  “Accidents happen,” as the saying goes.  Most car crashes are not accidents.  They are caused by driver action, inaction, or distraction. Let’s call a spade a spade.  #crashnotaccident

Female driver with mobile phone. Focus on hand holding phone

She did not pick up the phone and decide to text by accident.

Now that’s saying something

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law released a study of the records of two Ohio Supreme Court Justices – Justices French and Kennedy – who are both running for re-election this year.  The study found that Justice French voted with her top campaign contributors over 91% of the time, and that Justice Kennedy voted with her contributors 88% of the time.  This study is really remarkable for a couple of reasons.

court gavel on U.S. Twenty dollar bills

First, money in politics matters.  We don’t want our government sold to the highest bidder.  Second, the 1851 Center is affiliated with the tea party movement.  One of their main issues is limited government.  The fact they they, of all groups, are critical of two of the conservatives on the Court says something.

What does this mean to you:

If you are interested in Justices who aren’t influenced by campaign contributions or are interested limiting government, this study suggests, these aren’t the Justices you’re looking for.

Take a moment and repose yourself

Most people are familiar with a statute of limitations, a law that gives you a certain amount of time to bring a claim starting from the date of the injury.  That makes sense, since you know when you are injured.  A “statute of repose,” on the other hand, is a limitation on the amount of time starting from the date a product is made, whether you have been injured yet or not.

Seeking enlightenment

What makes these laws – such as Ohio’s law – particularly vicious is that they can cut off the ability to file a claim BEFORE THE INJURY HAS EVEN HAPPENED.  One a product had been made – whether that’s a medical device like a hip implant, a smoke detector, or a baby’s high chair – after 10 years, no claims can be made against the manufacturer.

What does this mean to you?

Not surprisingly, Ohio’s statute of repose has been described as “a victory for manufacturers.”  If manufacturers won, who lost?  And by the way, how does this make products safer?

Shhh! We’d like to keep our fraud secret!

So, Über and Lyft want to keep their insurance policies secret, which raises a lot of questions in my mind.  Like, what are they hiding?  And specifically, what is covered by the policy?  Is it only the driver, or are the passengers covered too?  Seems like we should be allowed to know the answers.

secret

 

Interestingly, the companies are required to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage – insurance that protects you when you are not at fault.  But, there is no requirement that the rest of us buy uninsured motorists coverage, and there is no requirement that your agent offer or even explain it to you.   Its important enough to require it for those services, but not for everyone else.  Hmmm.

What does this mean to you:

Go now and find out how much uninsured motorists coverage you carry on your insurance policy.  We will wait for you here.  Yes, its that important.  Go on.

Do you have uninsured motorists coverage in your auto policy?  Do you also have it in your umbrella policy?  What are the limits?  Considering that almost 15% of drivers carry no insurance and many more do not carry enough insurance, do you have high enough limits?

 

What did you expect?

Its football season again.  Finally.  But with the season comes the ongoing discussion about concussions, especially repeated ones, and what is and is not an acceptable level of carnage that players endure for our amusement.  The NFL recently settled a lawsuit by former players regarding concussions.  And now comes word that a suit has been filed in California against FIFA attempting to alter rules to curb concussions too.

Brain Trauma

What does this mean to you:

Does everyone know that slamming your head into a 300 lb. hunk of linebacker is probably not good?  Sure.  But if the organizing league had information that the problem is much worse than reported, and refused to take action to fix the problem, all in order to make a profit at expense of the players’ health, that is a problem too.

The passengers on the bus go ’round and ’round

Seat belts have been mandatory in cars since 1968.  Seat belts are even required in airplanes, where there is usually no such thing as a “minor” crash.  Why, then, are no seat belts in commercial or school buses?

Bus travel

It seems the bus industry has resisted efforts to mandate seat belts in new buses, or to retrofit old buses with new seat belts.  You see, the health and safety of those pesky passengers shouldn’t get in the way of the bottom line.

What does this mean to you:

Be careful when selecting your preferred method of travel.

 

Father SHOULD know best

A father and son in Dublin, Ohio have been charged as “social hosts” for serving alcohol to a young man under age 21, who the crashed his car and died.

Man Serving Champagne To His Guests At A Dinner PartyDublin also happens to have a fairly strict social host law in place.

What does this mean to you:

With the holidays approaching, keep in mind that you can be help responsible for providing alcohol to minors when bad things happen.

The real stuff is bad enough

Ohio has seen more than its fair share of tort deform laws over the last decade.  These laws have the affect of making it harder for folks who get hurt, through no fault of their own, to be made whole again.

 

 

Man with a broken leg  walking on crutches

As if reality wasn’t bad enough, I saw this post on The Pop Tort about fictitious laws on TV shows written in to scripts to limit fictitious rights of the characters.  Art imitating life indeed.

What does this mean to you:

Know that insurance companies and corporations have lobbyists.  Most of us don’t.  When laws get passed, guess which one they favor?

 

 

The joke is on us

The US Chamber of Commerce says it lobbies for “pro-business” laws and policies on behalf of all businesses, large and small.  What it doesn’t say is that more than half of its funding comes from just 16 mega-corporations.

Joker

 

This is just one of the Top Ten ways the US Chamber of Commerce hurts America outlined in a new report, and yet another reason many prominent companies, like Apple, have severed their ties to the Chamber.

What does this mean to you:

The next time you hear about an idea that is claimed to be “pro-business,” consider the source.  It may just be pushed by someone like the Chamber that has an interest in maximizing profit at the expense of human well-being.

 

And another thing about that Instagram…

The Facebook world was aghast this week when Instagram changed its Terms and Conditions so it could claim ownership of photos posted there.  What was also changed, but not as well known, was the requirement for mandatory arbitration of any disputes with Instagram.  Thanks to the Pop Tort for pointing out this equally clandestine yet more nefarious change!

shrug

What does this mean to you:

Always read the fine print.  Forced arbitration means you cannot file a lawsuit if they treat you unfairly.  You cannot have a jury of your peers hear your case and decide what is right.  You “agree” to have any disputes decided by an arbitrator, who sees the company in arbitration all the time.  There is usually no appeal from an arbitration decision – you must live with whatever the arbitrator decides.