Archive for December, 2012

New Study Finds Drugged Driving More Prevalent than Drunk Driving

December 19, 2012

by Jean-Simon Serrano

drunk-driving-problem

The California Office of Traffic Safety recently released results of a survey which found that the number of people driving under the influence of drugs is higher than the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol.

The source of this finding is a survey of more than 1,300 motorists, conducted by the California Office of Traffic Safety.  The survey included roadside saliva tests of these motorists.  The saliva was tested for alcohol and illegal drugs, THC, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.

According to the survey, approximately 14% of the drivers tested positive for drugs in their system, compared to 7.3% of drivers who tested positive for alcohol.  The numbers included both illegal as well as prescription drugs.

Marijuana is the most frequent drug associated with drugged driving, and more than 7% of drivers in the Office of Traffic Safety study had marijuana in their system.

“Drugged driving” is dangerous because there are very few laws that govern the amount of drugs a person can have in their system while driving.  California, which has medical marijuana laws that allow the use of marijuana for health purposes, is especially at risk for drugged driving.  The passage of medical marijuana laws was not accompanied by corresponding laws limiting the amount of marijuana that a person can have in his system while driving.

Further, it is very difficult to tell exactly how many drivers involved in fatal accidents have drugs in their system, because of inadequate testing procedures or a lack of testing.

While the findings of this survey may be questionable, due to the small size of the population sampled, there is no doubt that drugged driving and drunk driving are a concern and play a role in many automobile accidents.

FAMILY LAW UPDATES

December 19, 2012

NEW LAW TARGETS CHILD ABDUCTION:  NO NEW PASSPORTS!

by Sara B. Morgan, Esq.

Under existing law, upon the institution of divorce, nullity, or legal separation proceedings, certain temporary restraining order automatically go into effect. Family Code, Section 2040.

Included amongst these orders, commonly referred to as “Automatic TRO’s” or “ATRO’s”, is a temporary restraining order precluding either party from removing any minor children from the state without prior written consent from the other party, or a court order. Family Code, Section 2040(a)(1).

The State Legislature, in an effort to target and prevent child abduction, has enacted Keisuke’s Law, also known as Senate Bill 1206. Effective January 1, 2013, the automatic temporary restraining orders under Family Code, Section 2040 will now also restrain the parties from applying for new or replacement passports for any minor children of the parties without the prior written consent of the other party, or a court order. S.B. 1206.

This legislative change may prove quite beneficial to parents involved in divorce, nullity, or legal separation proceedings, as well as the Family Law courts in California. Removal of a child is a common fear for such parents, particularly when the other party has ties abroad. Many an ex parte hearing was borne of word that a child’s passport application has been submitted. With the passage of Keisuke’s Law, the legislature may be able to give parents peace of mind while simultaneously lessening the Family Law court’s caseload.

Anchors Away

December 14, 2012

Heiting & Irwin
By: Dennis R. Stout

No, this does not refer to the recent resolution of the Los Angeles/Long Beach port strike, but to the equally recent decision by the R&A (Royal and Ancient) and USGA (United States Golf Association) to ban the use of belly putters and broom-handle putters effective in 2016. The proposed rule of golf reads as follows:

Rule 14-1(b): in making a stroke, the player must not anchor
the club, either ‘directly’ or by the use of an ‘anchor point.’

As with any type of rule change or change in law, the threat of litigation looms from those who have become accustomed to the belly approach. The great debate is whether the process of anchoring the putter qualifies as a “stroke” of the golf club (requiring the player to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball) or whether anchoring the club creates some form of advantage. Let the debate/litigation begin.

The R&A and the USGA are attempting to do that which is in the best interest of the sport, or level the playing field. Proponents of the belly putter and broom handle putters dispute any advantage and claim to fight the R&A/USGA, and their selective prosecution of those with a different approach to the putting “stroke”, claiming there is no distinct advantage to the anchoring method(s).

Our approach at Heiting & Irwin is to represent the best intent to our clients, following all the appropriate rules, procedures, and laws… even when they change! We update ourselves constantly on all important changes in the law, whether they apply to golf, law or life! Stay tuned for further developments as they occur.

SEVEN MISTAKES YOU CAN AVOID WHEN INJURED ON THE JOB – PART 3

December 10, 2012

By: Richard H. Irwin, Esq.,
Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist

5.    IF CONTACTED BY INSURANCE COMPANY – If you are contacted by the insurance carrier (or their investigator) regarding a “statement” that they want to obtain from you – if you are represented, contact your attorney immediately. If you are not represented let the person know that you will be more than willing to speak with them, but you will not agree to a recorded statement and you will not sign any statement.

Do not let them convince you that you must, by law or otherwise, provide a recorded or signed statement (other than a signed claim form )as to how your injury occurred, any previous injuries you have had, the doctors you are seeing, your current treatment or the parts of body you are claiming injured, as well as your current symptoms and complaints. It would be a mistake to either let your “statement” be recorded or let an interviewer prepare a statement and ask you to sign it. The reason for this is because, without proper representation, you could say something potentially damaging to your claim, say something that effects your ability to receive benefits or fail to state something that could have an equally disastrous consequence.