Timothy J. Casey Attorney at Law
Representing Clients In Phoenix And Communities Throughout Arizona
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Arizona Personal Injury Blog

Congress introduces sleep apnea regulations bill

Arizona truck drivers may be aware that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration tabled a rule that would have regulated sleep apnea screening criteria and treatment in mid-2017. In late September, Congressional Democrats in both the House and the Senate introduced bills that would force the FMCSA to create a sleep apnea screening rule.

The rule would set industry-wide criteria that medical examiners would use to refer truck drivers for sleep apnea testing. As of October, medical examiners had to rely on many different sets of sleep apnea screening criteria to determine if a truck driver needed a referral for a sleep apnea test. This policy created confusion and, in some cases, caused unwanted referrals from drivers. Due to the lack of consistent sleep apnea screening materials, some drivers felt that the testing companies and the companies that manufactured the sleep apnea devices were taking advantage of the lack of standards in the sleep apnea rule.

When household products pose a threat – Part 2

When you spend your hard-earned money on a car, phone or even a sandwich from the deli, you expect quality as well as safety. We trust product manufacturers and sellers to put items on their shelves that won't land us in the hospital. Unfortunately, mistakes happen. Perhaps food became contaminated during transport or the design for one tiny car part was faulty and caused a fire under the hood. Regardless of the cause of the malfunction, someone is accountable for the damages you or a loved one has suffered.

In many cases where a product liability exists, the manufacturer or seller will issue a product recall. This might include bringing the product in for a repair or it could mean a full exchange. But what if you have a product that is not under recall? What if you have seen signs of a potential hazard? Is there anything you can do to protect yourself and your family? Read below to find out what you should be aware of when it comes to dangerous products in your household.

When household products pose a threat – Part 1

When you buy a product, whether it is a cellphone or a car, you expect it to work. Furthermore, you expect it to be safe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. From phones catching fire to airbags exploding and dryers catching fire, there are times when products wind up in our homes that pose an unexpected threat to our families. Manufacturers have a duty to notify consumers when they realize they have unleased dangerous products that pose an unreasonable risk to the public. They usually do this through product recalls.

In 2008, one of the largest product recalls in history was enacted by Takata, a Japanese manufacturer of airbags. In fact, the recall is still in effect since it applied to over 40 million vehicles that contained Takata airbags. More recently, Costco was at the center of a premade chicken salad recall that landed multiple people in the hospital across several states due to severe food poisoning.

The multiple ways drivers may be distracted

Arizona residents may like to multitask whenever possible. However, doing so in the car could increase their risk of getting into an distracted driving accident. The three types of distracted driving are manual, cognitive and visual. Texting while driving is considered especially dangerous because it incorporates elements of all three types of distractions. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there were approximately 424,000 injuries attributed to distracted driving in 2013. However, as the information comes solely from police reports, there may be many more injuries related to distracted drivers.

When a person is not looking at the road, he or she is said to be visually distracted. Visual distractions could include changing a radio station or looking at a passenger while engaged in conversation.

Smaller cars cause more injuries in crashes

In Arizona and other states, people who own smaller cars are more at risk of having serious injuries in an auto accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that crashes involving small lightweight vehicles have twice the fatalities of large heavyweight automobiles.

The front part of a vehicle sustains the most impact in a frontal collision. When a vehicle has a larger front end, the distance between passengers and a front impact increases. Therefore, cars with large front parts withstand more impact during a collision. Since smaller vehicles have shorter front ends, this results in the passengers receiving more of the force.

The threats posed by stoves

Arizona residents with children might worry about the potential dangers of the kitchen stove. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 13 fatalities occurred between 2000 and 2006 because of stove instability and tipovers.

Scalds and burns are the most common types of injuries when stove accidents occur. For example, stoves can tip when weight is added to an open oven door. Children may stand on an oven door to get to the stove, and this can cause the stove to move forward. If there are pots and pans on the stove, the contents can spill and burn a child.

Increased visibility reduces accident rates

Arizona residents who use their headlights while driving during the day may be at a lower risk of getting into an accident. This has been shown in research done in America, Canada and Europe. In Canada, there has been an 11 percent decrease in multi-car accidents when drivers used their headlights. In America, there was a 23 percent decrease in motorcycle accidents and a 10 percent reduction in accidents overall.

The main reason why accident rates went down is because cars are more visible with their headlights even on clear days. Other motorists and pedestrians are better able to see a vehicle when it has its headlights on. If drivers were to run their headlights during the day, it would only cost between $3 and $40 extra per year. The actual amount would depend on the type of headlights that they use.

Fall season requires extra awareness for safe driving

From the deserts to the mountains in Arizona, autumn places new demands on drivers. The changing season alters driving conditions, and back-to-school activities increase traffic and the presence of pedestrians. Fall also entices tourists on to the highways to enjoy the scenery. To reduce the seasonal risks of accidents, conscientious drivers take care of simple vehicle maintenance tasks and exercise greater caution behind the wheel.

Colder nighttime temperatures and warm afternoons impact air pressure in tires. Tire pressure should be checked and adjusted to recover from expansion and contraction caused by shifting temperatures. Colder temperatures mean that bridges might be icy late at night or in the early morning. Drivers need to slow down in case their vehicles encounter slick roadways. Frost needs to be cleared completely from vehicle windows so that drivers can see. Fog could also arise in low areas, and drivers must slow down in foggy conditions and never use high beam lights because they reduce visibility.

Understanding fiduciary duty, your pension and your investments

It's common knowledge for most people that putting your money to work making more money is smarter than just sitting on financial assets. After all, inflation will decrease the buying power of your savings over time. As prices and wages increase, the same amount of money buys less. Investing your retirement fund or pension can be a great way to offset the decrease in purchasing power over time.

Unfortunately, investing money you depend on for your retirement also poses risks. You could end up losing some or even all of the money you've saved. While it's tragic when your own poor investment choices result in a loss, it's worse when it's caused by someone else.

Children's liquid medications recalled for possible contamination

Arizona parents who have given their child certain liquid vitamins or medications may be interested in information about a recall by the Food and Drug Administration. It was ordered on Aug. 10 due to possible contamination. The products involved in the recall are manufactured by PharmaTech and include dietary supplements and medications that are made for young children. The FDA alerted distributors of the products after a PharmaTech product was suspected of being contaminated with Burkholderia cepacia. The product was connected to reports of severe adverse events in patients who were diagnosed with the infection.

Distributor Rugby Laboratories voluntarily issued a recall on Aug. 3 of Diocto Syrup and Diocto Liquid after being contacted by the FDA. After further notice, Rugby and distributors Leader Brand and Major Pharmaceuticals recalled all lots of PharmaTech liquid products that had not yet expired.

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