Habits of the Most Dangerous Drivers

We have already discussed some of the habits of the world’s safest drivers, so what is it like on the other side of the coin? Now that you know what you should be doing, it is helpful to become educated on what you shouldn’t be doing.

Not Wearing a Seatbelt

The National Highway and Transit Safety Association has stated that more than 75,000 lives were saved between the years of 2004 and 2008 by seatbelts alone. Seatbelts save lives, it is a proven fact. The inconvenience of wearing a seatbelt is negligible to the inconvenience of death. Once seatbelt wearing become a habit, most drivers forget they are even wearing them. Even low speed accidents have a much higher chance of being fatal if drivers are not wearing seatbelts.

Go ahead and Yield

Roads are extremely dangerous places and highways are some of the most dangerous place on the road. Cars move on highways at incredibly high speeds. This not only makes every collision more dangerous, it also makes them more difficult to avoid. Drivers who yield the right-of-way are much less likely to be involved in a highway collision. Yielding will only cost you a second or two of your precious time and it could save your life.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has become an epidemic worldwide. It is not just young drivers who are driving distracted, it is everyone. 16-year-olds and 45-year-olds alike are addicted to their cellphones and can’t seem to put them down while they are driving. If you are looking at your cellphone screen, you can’t be looking at the road. Make the decision to put your phone out of reach when you sit in your car. Remove temptation.

If you take the time to eliminate these potentially deadly habits from your driving, you can make the roads a safer place not just for yourself, but for everyone else!

A Few Habits of Safe Drivers

Driving is an inherently dangerous act. We pilot massive blocks of metal, which weigh thousands and thousands of pounds, at incredible speeds in incredibly close proximity to other ridiculously dangerous blocks of metal. It is almost amazing more people are not hurt! The best way to keep you safe out there on the road is to imitate some of the following safe driving habits.

Use Your Turn Signals

Many drivers think turn signal use is common sense. Unfortunately, many drivers do not consider turn signal use common sense and these drivers make the road more dangerous for all of us. Drivers need to be able to communicate with each other to keep the road safe. Using a turn signal is one of the clearest forms of on-road communication. Let people know what direction you are going! Use your turn signal!

Check Your Blind Spot

A large percent of accidents occur because drivers forget to check their blind spot before they change lanes. You can look in your rear-view mirror and check your side-view mirrors, but it is still a possibility that there is a car driving alongside you in your bind spot. Know where the blind spots are in your car and learn how to turn your body to check for them.

Don’t Tailgate

If you are tailgating a car, you are just increasing the likelihood that you may be involved in an accident. Give every car on the road the space it needs. As a general rule, maintain at least two car lengths of distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. The faster you are going, the more distance you are going to need to maintain. Those few feet of distance are not going to get you to your destination a quicker!

Following these few safety tips can go a long way towards keeping you out of an accident. Drive safe out there everyone!

Making an Appeal: Unhappy with a Court Decision

Not everyone is going to be happy all of the time. Further, no one is going to be correct 100 percent of the time. Our American court system is designed to dispense justice as accurately as possible; however, it may not always get things right. If a party believes a rendered decision is inaccurate, it has the ability to appeal that decision.

What is an Appeal?

In the world of law, an appeal is a formal request that the court reassess a decision it has made. Appeals can have two purposes: one is to try and correct an error that was made when rendering a decision while the other is to attempt to clarify or reinterpreted a reading of the law. It is not uncommon for appeals to be made and the United States of America has an entire court system dedicated to the processing and ruling of appeals.

What is the Appeal Procedure?

Typically, an appeal cannot be made until a verdict has been reached. Once a verdict has been reached, either the defendant or the plaintiff will be granted victory. The losing party will be given the chance to be granted an appeal. There will always be a time limit set on this process. After an allotted time has passed, appeals will no longer be granted.

The Court of Appeals

Unlike standard courts, appellate courts are not afforded the opportunity to do fact-finding. Rather, appellate courts must draw on the information that was gathered during the initial trial. The court can review these facts and look at them from new angles, but it does not consider any new evidence. Appeals are usually brought in front of a judge or a panel of judges, rather than jury. Typically, each party will have the opportunity to address the judge and deliver their views and opinions verbally.

California Strikes Down Drone Regulations

Drones are becoming more a more widely seen. They are already extremely popular in recreational circles around the world and it is likely that they are soon to become vital in business as well. They are mobile, quick, fun, can fly, and can be controlled by remote control. They are certainly interesting devices, and funny enough, they are also divisive devices. California Governor Jerry Brown recently stated, “Drone technology certainly raises novel issues that merit careful examination.”

Current California Restrictions

Currently, flying drones have a reasonable amount of freedom to navigate through the air. Regulations are different for commercial and recreational drones. As of now, FAA regulations prohibit recreational drones from flying about 400 feet. They must also stay a reasonable distance above homes and commercial buildings. There are also restrictions in place as to where drones are permitted to take off and land.

New Proposed Restrictions

A new bill was recently proposed which would have severely limited the air space available to both commercial and hobbyist drones. The proposed bill would have made it illegal for drones to fly lower than 350 feet above private property, without first gaining permission. Recreational drones are not allowed to exceed 400 feet, while commercial drones may soon not be permitted to exceed 500 feet. The proposed bill would have afforded drones a rather narrow ribbon of airspace.

Striking Down the Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown struck down the restrictive bill. Drone technology is very exciting and offers both hobbyists and businesses a nearly infinite number of interesting opportunities. Gov. Brown wanted nothing to do with stifling the growth of the drone industry. It appears that state regulations may have little power over drones anyway. The FAA has stated that it has sole authority over airspace and that it alone can dictate and regulate traffic. Either way, it seems the air above us is becoming an increasingly crowded and interesting place indeed.

A Barrier to Entry: Moving the Bar

Lawyers are some of the most highly esteemed professionals in the world. They need to be intelligent, well educated, and dedicated. There are high standards for entry into the profession. One most go through undergraduate school, law school, and finally, they must pass the bar exam. Admission to the bar is the final barrier for entry into the legal profession. In New York, the requirements for admission to the bar are about to change in a subtle but meaningful way.

Pro Bono Requirements for Bar Admission

This creative requirement for admissions to the New York Bar Association was first introduced in 2012. It called upon all would-be lawyers to perform at least 50 hours of pro bono law service before being admitted to the bar. Pro bono service is simple service performed for the public good without charge. This was seen as an excellent way to prove a new lawyers’ dedication and give them the chance to provide some much needed community service.

Meeting Pro Bono Requirements

The 2012 addition of pro bono requirements for bar admissions in New York was a rousing success. One minor drawback did gradually appear. Monitoring these pro bono hours was quickly becoming an administrative nightmare. The rule dictates that the new lawyer doing the pro bono work must be supervised by an attorney from the same jurisdiction. This required extensive coordination between law schools, faculty members, court clerks, and practicing attorneys. The high amount of bureaucracy made the system unwieldy.

Making a Change

The bar association decided to remove the requirement that supervising attorneys practice in the same jurisdiction as the law students they are supervising. The hope is that this will untangle the previously complicated process and make it easier for law students to meet bar requirements. The emergence of a burgeoning global law community was cited as one reason for striking away the antiquated location based requirement.

Court Deems that Uber Driver is an Employee

The upstart company Uber has been putting massive pressure on taxi cab companies everywhere. Uber functions using an innovative business modelin which individual drivers work as contractors and use their own cars as transportation. Uber is also an application based services, making it often easier to use and more convenient than standard taxi cabs. Unfortunately for Uber, their business model may be coming under attack.

The California Court Decision

One month ago, The California Employment Development Department came to the decision that a former driver for Uber served as an employee, rather than a contractor. They came to this decision based on the fact that Uber controlled “every aspect” of the driver’s daily work and maintained the right to terminate the driver at will. The ruling forced Uber to pay the driver unemployment benefits, which the driver would have been ineligible for if he had been a contractor.

Uber’s Response

Uber seemed unfazed by the ruling. The company issued a statement through a spokeswoman that said:

“This decision applied to one person — it does not have any wider impact or set any formal or binding precedent. Many public bodies have found that individual driver partners are independent contractors, including unemployment and labor departments.”

The company seems confident that it will continue to be able to categorize its drivers as contractors, rather than as employees.

Pros and Cons: Contractor vs Employee

Uber’s business model is built upon the fact that it can hire its drivers as contractors. Contractors are not granted the same benefits as employees. This makes it cheaper to use contractors;however, companies have less control over contractors. Uber states this as one of the benefits for drivers, as Uber drivers have absolute freedom to make their own schedule, and work as much or as little as they want. Future court rulings could have a massive impact on the future of transportation.

Receiving a Court Summons

Usually, one wants to show up at court. Courts are typically associated with lengthy proceedings, bureaucratic red tape, and heart ache. A court summons is a document sent by the court ordering an individual to appear. Court summons can be sent out for multiple reasons. The three most common types of summons are citations, civil summons, and administrative summons.

Citations

A citation is a form of summons that is usually written or administered at the scene of an occurrence. Traffic citations are by far the most common form of citation. An officer may pull you over, inform you of the violation you committed, and write you a traffic citation (ticket). The citation will give you a court date. Failure to appear on that date is a separate crime. Often, however, individuals can deal with traffic citations simply by paying a fine or attending a traffic safety class.

Civil Summons

A civil summons is a document which informs an individual that a lawsuit has been filled against them by another individual. The specific complaint will be brought to the defendant by a plaintiff. Individuals who receive civil summons may either show up on the designated court date or supply a written response, which is usually best prepared by a lawyer. It is always best to consult a lawyer on what the best course of action may be.

Administrative Summons

An administrative summons is a demand for either the presences of an individual or for a call for them to turn over records they may have. An administrative summons is issued by a government authority. The IRS is an agency that commonly issues administrative summons to individuals. Citizens who have been served summons by the IRS should be prepared to produce any tax records, books, or papers that they may have as part of their records.

Famous American Speeches: “Duties of American Citizenship”

America has a long, storied and glorious history. It is built on the backs of legendary figures like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, and many more. Each of these individuals was brilliant, hardworking, charismatic, and brave. Another trait they all shared: a gift for oration. More simply put, they inspired people by delivering historic, revolutionary, heroic speeches.

Long before Theodore Roosevelt was ever elected president of the United States, he served as an assemblyman for the State of New York. During his service, he delivered a speech later titled “Duties of American Citizenship.” Roosevelt viewed American Citizenship as a right that must be earned, maintained, and protected. He thought that involvement in politics was one of primary duties of an American Citizen:

“It ought to be axiomatic in this country that every man must devote a reasonable share of his time to doing his duty in the Political life of the community.”

Roosevelt did not call for absolute dedication to the world of politics. He simply believed that every citizen should be knowledgeable about politics and aware of its current state in the country.

Roosevelt also believed it was every citizen’s duty to work as a productive member of society. He thought that by everyone working together the Country as a whole could become even greater than the sum of all of its rather significant parts. Roosevelt did not want to turn The Nation’s citizens into a bland, mindless workforce. He knew the importance of individuality:

“Each man’s individual temper and convictions must be taken into account. To a certain extent, his work must be done in accordance with his individual beliefs and theories of right and wrong.”

Roosevelt knew the importance of balance. He asked citizens to be active and informed while imploring them to maintain their own individuality and integrity.

Subpoena: What it Means to be Summoned

Receiving a subpoena can be a very scary thing. They are official court documents, signed by a judge, and affixed with the seal of the court. Plus, it has been sent to you. Right to your doorstep. They know about you, where you live, and who you are. Further, they want something from you. It may seem scary, but we encourage you to take a deep breath, there is nothing to worry about.

Why do Courts Send Subpoenas?

Courts send out subpoenas because they want to gather information. The direct Latin translation of the word subpoena translates as “under penalty.” In truth, this definition could still apply, as people who ignore subpoenas open themselves up to prosecution; however, courts prefer to define subpoenas as “witness summons.”

That is exactly what they do. If you have received a subpoena, you are likely a witness who has some information that either the prosecutors or defendants in a case need to hear. It is your civic duty to arrive at court and give them that information.

What to do When You Have Been Subpoenaed

The first thing you need to do when you have received a subpoena is to read the document very, very carefully. It should tell you where you need to go, when you need to go there, and provide you with information on the case you are being subpoenaed for. It should also provide you with the contact information of the party that issued the subpoena. If a prosecutor’s office wants to see you on the stand, you are going to want to be properly prepared. They can help you with that.

Other Evidence

Sometimes a subpoena will ask you to provide documents or other information, such as a tape recording, instead of calling on you to take the stand. You have to comply with this order. Ask Richard Nixon, failure to produce the documents or information called for in a subpoena usually doesn’t end well.

 

Facebook Fights in California Court

Every day, it is becoming more and more common for people to share large amounts of information about themselves online. There are so many places we can share, from sites like Facebook, to apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. There is a lot of information about us out there. Maintaining privacy is important. Facebook recently won a court battle which centered upon the sharing of private online information.

A Deadly Need for Information

This battle for privacy began as an actual battle out on the streets of San Francisco. Derrick Hunter and Lee Sullivan were accused of committing a drive-by shooting. Before the trial began, lawyers subpoenaed Facebook, believing that the two may have posted some information about the shooting on their private online profiles. Facebook declined to offer the information, saying that it was private online information and thus protected.

A Shield for Information

Facebook believed that that information was protected by a 29-year-old federal law called the Stored Communications Act. The law is designed to protected private online information from unauthorized disclosure and access. The trial court which had issued the subpoenas decided that the law did not apply and proceeded forward. Facebook then decided to appeal the trial court’s decision

A New Ruling

On Tuesday, September 8th, the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned the decision made by the trial court. The court stated:

“In sum, we find no support for the trial court’s order for pretrial production of information otherwise subject to the SCA’s protections.”

The court went on to emphasize that their ruling focused on the pretrial process only, saying that circumstances may be different during the actual trial . For now, private information will remain private, at least during pretrial proceedings. As always, the best way to keep information private is to keep it off of the internet. If you have private information, the best thing you can do is to keep it secret, keep it safe, and keep it off Facebook.