Articles Posted in Miscellaneous News

Did you know that there is a new device able to test if a driver has used recreational drugs and is driving while high?  As you may know, medical marijuana is used by many and there is a proposed ballot measure to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in California.   As a result, on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, California legislators proposed a new law to use this new technology to stop motorists who are driving while under the influence of drugs.

The proposed legislation – referred to as SB 1462 – would give California police authority to use an oral swab test when there is probable cause to believe a driver is impaired and failed a field sobriety test.  The swab is read by a hand held portable electronic device that is able to detect the presence of not only marijuana, but also cocaine, amphetamines and pain medications like opiates.

The proposed bill is authored and sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Huff of San Dimas, California.  This bill also is backed by the California Police Chiefs Association and the California Narcotic Officers Association.

Backers of SB 1462 referred to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which found a 22% increase in driving arrests relating to the use of drugs while driving from 2007 to 2014.

In Colorado, where recreational marijuana use was permitted in 2013, according to the Los Angeles Times, marijuana related traffic deaths went up by 32% in just one year!

If you have any thoughts about this new device and proposed legislation, you are encouraged to contact Senator Bob Huff of San Dimas or our personal injury & wrongful death accident lawyers.

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According to LAist, the City of Santa Monica will be putting in eleven pedestrian scrambles to help make the streets safer and attempt to prevent Santa Monica pedestrian accidents. Because of the amount of foot traffic in downtown Santa Monica, we hope that these measures will help prevent accidents and help move traffic along at a more efficient pace.

The pedestrian scrambles function by stopping all cars in all directions at the designated intersections so that pedestrians can cross in all directions, including diagonally across an intersection. With cars stopped in all directions, this should lead to fewer people getting hit by a car in Santa Monica.

Also, because drivers will not have to wait for pedestrians to cross when making turns, this should help cause less traffic congestion on the streets of downtown Santa Monica. The counter argument would be that since there must be a significant time after each traffic cycle where all vehicles are stopped, this could cause certain traffic backlogs.

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Assistant Los Angeles Sheriff Michael Rothans has announced his retirement from the Sheriff’s Department for “health reasons” while he is being investigated for purchasing an impounded Audi, believed to be year 2010, with 24,000 miles on it, for just $3,000 from Lisa Vernola, who happens to own Vernola Towing in Norwalk, California.  Vernola Towing has a contract with the Sheriff’s Department and such purchases by Sheriff officials are strictly prohibited.  Purportedly the Kelley Blue book lists a similar car – if in good condition – for $17,000.00.   But Rothans was able to buy it for only $3,000.

In fact, the subject Audi was not a 2010 model but is a 2012 model that reportedly was stolen while new from a car dealership in Mission Viejo.

Assistant Sheriff Rothans told the Los Angeles Times newspaper that he had no idea it was stolen and when he bought it it had 24,000 miles on it and needed a radio and had rear end damage.  Rothans allegedly could not provide any receipts for such alleged repairs.

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As you may have heard, Volkswagen (VW) is embroiled in a major fraud, where they are accused of falsifying records of emissions from its diesel engine cars covering the years 2009 to 2015.  As a result, owners of VW diesel engine vehicles in California have filed suit against VW to compel it to buyback its cars that do not meet emission results as previously represented by VW.

Reportedly, VW sold 482,000 diesel vehicles in the United States and VW has estimated that it could take at least one year for it to fix most of these vehicles that had “secret” software designed to trick pollution tests. Many believe it would take much longer than one year to fix all of its diesel engine vehicles to comply with emission standards in California and the U.S.

Apparently the “secret” software detects when the VW diesel vehicles are undergoing laboratory emission tests and alters how the diesel vehicles operate to trick the laboratory to conclude requirements are met when, in fact, the diesel engine under normal use does not comply with required emission standards.

Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are demanding that VW fix its diesel engine vehicles to comply with mandated emission standards.

According to the Kelley Blue Book, approximately 67,000 of these VW diesel engine vehicles are in California, manufactured from 2009 to 2015.

CARB has given VW until November 20, 2015, to submit remedies to bring its California VW fleet of diesel engine vehicles into compliance with California emission regulations. It is doubtful whether VW can timely comply with this demand.

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The California Judicial Council ended on Monday, June 8, 2015, the long standing unfair practice of requiring drivers to pay their fines for traffic tickets in advance if they want to contest their tickets in court.  The way it worked was if one received a ticket and wanted to challenge it in court, the driver was required to post bail in advance–that is to actually pay the amount of the ticket in advance, even before being found guilty.

The problem was that the fines, which initially may have run about $100 to $150 or so, then had fees or penalty assessments (PAs) added onto them and these PAs were several times the amount of the fine, so a fine of $100-150 with the PA became about $450 or more.  One purpose of the PAs is to help pay for the cost of special programs.  Such total fines now became totally disproportionate to the offense, not affordable for many and as a result many fines went unpaid, people did not appear in court and many driver’s licenses were suspended.

As a further result, the California legislature is reportedly preparing to vote on a proposal to cut the cost of delinquent fines, provide payment plans and reinstate licenses that may have been suspended for failure to pay and failure to appear in court.

The other issue to resolve is the harsh, oppressive and unconscionable PAs or additional fees that our legislature and courts have tacked onto such traffic tickets.

Meanwhile, according to the Los Angeles Times, the new rule about not having to pay in advance if one wants to fight his or her traffic ticket reportedly will apply only to those who have not yet missed their court date.  If you have already missed your court date, the new rule is not supposed to help you.  So, if you received a ticket but have not yet had your first appearance (i.e., court date), you may request a trial without paying the fine (technically posting bail) in advance.

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Congratulations to the Continental Evangelism Center Church, known as Iglesias CEC, on its wonderful 28th year grand anniversary celebration!

The senior pastor, Dr. Joel Gomes, and his family, along with the whole ICEC congregation, commemorated on November 14, 15 and 16, 2014 with an extravagant event for the entire community. Some photos of this event can be viewed below.

The celebration began Friday night with the women presenting a parade of flags of the many countries represented in the church. They also danced in folkloric clothes demonstrating the Latin and Hispanic culture.​​
The commemoration continued Saturday night with talent-filled music by Pastor Isaac Gomes, the House of Praise Band, and an exciting urban performance by the CEC Dance Team.

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A person with the username “habloconleche” recently posted a reddit video of some of the things seen, including many near car accidents, while driving around Los Angeles. The short video, which can be seen on laist, is shot from a dashcam in front of the vehicle and shows some of the many dangerous and unsafe maneuvers that many Los Angeles drivers attempt on the roads and freeways.

Sometimes these cars, vans and trucks are driving in emergency lanes to save time and others are changing lanes or doing other unsafe turning movements without properly signaling their intent to other drivers. This video shows some of the risky behavior of certain drivers and why it is always necessary to be on alert when driving around Los Angeles.

After watching the video, it is amazing that none of the dangerous and often illegal maneuvering directly led to any Los Angeles car accidents occurring in front of this driver. The driver does note, however, an intention to keep videotaping and posting videos of these dangerous actions.

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While early reports indicated the water loss was 8-10 million gallons of water, updated reports put the loss at in excess of 20 million gallons of drinkable water.

The water loss increased significantly because the L.A. DWP could not simply turn off the broken trunkline. Instead, first it had to find the right valves then turn them off slowly to prevent too much sudden pressure causing more breaks. Then, it was reported some valves would not completely close, causing thousands of gallons of additional drinking water to be wasted every hour. Thursday morning, July 31, 2014, it was reported that the valves finally were completely closed so repair work could commence.

Clearly the damage to land, structures, including famous Pauley Pavilion at UCLA, and hundreds of water logged cars and other vehicles parked in the flooded UCLA underground parking structures will be in the millions of dollars, and the loss of so much drinking water during our Los Angeles water drought is immeasurable.

According to CNN, a magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck today off of the coast of Chile. It is not presently known if there are any earthquake related injuries or fatalities. There is, however, a threat of a tsunami striking the Chilean coast. As of now, reports from the Los Angeles Times indicate that there is not currently a tsunami threat for California.

Recently, after a long period of time without noticeable earthquakes in Los Angeles, there have been numerous earthquakes that have rattled our area. Fortunately, none have been as powerful as the 1994 earthquake, which caused massive earthquake damage and many injuries and deaths in Los Angeles.

We wish to remind our readers, including our personal injury clients, to make sure they are protected by earthquake insurance, in case another “big one” hits the Los Angeles area. Not only that, it is very important to have bottled water and canned food in case of shortages and power outages. This was a major problem after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

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According to ESPN, former National Football League running back, Jahvid Best, who played for the Detroit Lions, has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the NFL, Riddell and Easton-Bell Sports, for the concussions that he sustained while playing football, which ended his professional football playing career.

It will be particularly interesting to see what information is gained through litigation against Riddell and Easton, who make the helmets that the NFL players wear. Have these companies been withholding relevant concussion information from consumers? Can football helmets be made in a way that, when used properly, including helmet to helmet hits (which are part of football), the players wearing the helmets do not suffer concussions? Is there a better helmet that could have been designed and used that is not being used so that teams can save money? Hopefully the litigation process will divulge this information.

It is understandable if some people see this lawsuit and do not believe the suit has merits. Some may argue that Mr. Best knew full well the risks of playing football before he agreed to be paid a lot of money to play. However, more and more information keeps emerging about the damages of a concussion. It is very important for people to remember that a concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is a serious injury that cannot be taken lightly. If certain companies intentionally withheld safety information, including the damaging effects of concussions, from users of the products the companies manufactured, or if the league did not disclose the risks and dangers of concussions to its players, we can understand why there would be personal injury liability on those parties.

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