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The Department Of Transportation And Defective Vehicles

The Grow America Act is a transportation bill put forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation submitted last month. The bill outlines the department's hopes for improved authority for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to combat defective vehicles. The bill prioritizes the NHTSA's ability to identify defects quickly and inform consumers about potential hazards. It also greatly increased the authority to punish vehicle makers for violations related to vehicle recalls. If the bill passes, it could alleviate the problem of car maker and auto parts makers functionally ignoring the NHTSA in their efforts to pin down safety problems.

The bill would also close several areas of concern regarding recalled vehicles. It would give the NHTSA the power to force rental car companies and used car dealers to have known defects addressed before they could rent, sell or lease the vehicles. It would also give the NHTSA the power to stop the sale of vehicles with defects or order car makers to repair vehicles if it found that the defect posed an imminent hazard to consumers. 

Safety Technology In The Auto Industry

The rise of so-called 'infotainment systems' in new automobiles has caused many to wonder if technology could be making cars less safe than they used to be. A survey of potential car buyers has revealed that safety technology is actually quite popular among consumers while devices such as built-in navigation systems are not. Drivers want safer cars, though they did express some reservations about what they were willing to pay for them.

Among the technological advancements discussed in the survey were blind spot detectors, collision avoidance systems and night vision. Those were the top three technologies that appealed to those surveyed. When asked how much they were willing to pay for technological advancements, the responses varied from a high of $3,703 for buyers under 38 years of age to $2,067 for drivers over 70. When cost is factored in, the potential benefits of the safety systems is muted. Safety devices like the ones considered here are often sold as packages costing $4,000 or more. 

New Jersey Employment Consumer Rights and Personal Injury Trial Lawyer Discusses Republican Attempts to Destroy Consumers' and Victims' Rights

Or . . . Everybody saw this coming.

No matter how you voted in the recent election, unless you're a complete fool, you knew what was at stake. The fact that the congress has gone dominantly red means that the republican right - and the corporate monsters that fuel the right win republican agenda - is now mobilized to mount an unprecedented attack across the board on the rights of individual citizens.

If you enabled this attack by voting for a republican candidate over a democrat, I'm not going to castigate you for doing it, but I am going to tell you that you deserve what you're about to get. Unless you yourself are a millionaire - and I don't mean "just over the edge of a millionaire," I mean comfortably a millionaire - then you're a "normal" person. I don't care if you make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, or tens of thousands. Unless you're a millionaire, you share much more in common earning five hundred thousand dollars a year with someone who earns fifteen thousand than you do with someone who earns five million. The tax laws aren't written for you. The corporate agenda to prevent your access to the courts affects you regardless of your income level. Caps on damages that you can collect for being wronged by a corporation affect you regardless of your income. A dirty environment and unsafe products affect you and your family, regardless of your income level. 

Positive Ruling In Transgender Discrimination Case

Transgender people are frequently targeted for abuse and oppression. Even people who do not target same-sex oriented individuals may demonstrate ignorance and bigotry when dealing with transgendering. A recent decision by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission bodes well for transgender employees who want to be free from discrimination in the workplace. The ruling requires the Department of the Army to pay damages based on inappropriate actions toward a transgender employee.

The discrimination was of the type that many transgender people experience. The employer referred to the worker in question by her previous gender and barred her from using the restroom matching her identity. The Army's position was that it had non-discriminatory reasons for barring her from the using the correct bathroom and instead forcing her to use a single-user, gender-neutral restroom. Fortunately, that rationalization for discrimination did not carry the day. 

Increased Distracted Driving Enforcement

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month and New Jersey police are participating. Distracted driving is just the latest target of public service campaigns designed to improve traffic safety. The latest national campaign, "U Text, U Drive, U Pay" specifically targets a common distracted driving concern: the text message. Texting is far from the only type of distracted driving, however. In fact, it may represent only a small percentage of the distraction that drivers are succumbing to, with deadly results. The crackdown by New Jersey police will focus on all types of distracted driving, including texting behind the wheel.

Some police agencies received grants to increase distracted driving patrols this month. The hope is that the publicity around distracted driving enforcement will help convince drivers to put down their phones, stop adding creamer to their coffee and focus on the act of driving. Similar efforts were considered effective in getting people to avoid driving drunk and to buckle up when they drive. Whether that will work for a problem like distracted driving is not clear. 

What Would Women's Health in America be Like Without Trial Lawyers?

An Employment and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses Women's Health and Trial Lawyers

This is another in my "what would life be like without trial lawyers?" (and jury trials) series. Glad everyone is enjoying it.

The Pharmaceutical Industry has marketed estrogen supplements as "menopause treatments" since 1942, even with known links to breast cancer, heart attacks and blood clots. Despite recommendations from health experts, the Global HRT market is expected to be worth 3 billion dollars by 2017. The only thing standing in the drug companies' way is the civil justice system - juries and trial lawyers.

In 2012, Pfizer was forced to pay $896,000,000.00 to settle claims that its hormone replacement drugs caused cancer. The company faces another 4,000 cases.

Motorcycles A Sign Of Spring

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month doesn't start until May, but the season has arrived for many riders happy to see an end to winter weather. The majority of collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles are caused by the non-rider. While rider training and safety efforts including mandatory helmet laws can make a difference, the real key to reducing motorcycle accidents is awareness from other drivers. If you are on the road, you need to be aware of all other vehicles, including the two-wheeled variety.

Motorcycles have all the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on New Jersey roads. Calls for motorists to "share the road" aren't a request. Many people hold a bias against motorcycle riders or consider motorcycling an inherently dangerous activity. That does not give the driver of a passenger vehicle the right to endanger motorcyclists by driving drunk, driving while texting, driving while fatigued or just driving carelessly. Motorcyclists are just as interested in arriving home safe as anyone else on the road. 

New Training Proposed For New Jersey Officers

Discrimination is a problem in almost every facet of life in the United States. While every instance of discrimination is wrong, there are situations where discrimination has the potential twist our society into a nightmare. Discrimination by police or other law enforcement professionals can start a vicious cycle that can be virtually impossible to break. It is impossible to understate the importance of having a police force that understands the impact of discrimination and has the tools and training to conduct itself impartially.

Police are forbidden from making arresting and processing decisions based on race, gender, gender expression, religion, sexual orientation and certain other criteria. Several members of the New Jersey State Assembly believe that New Jersey officers would benefit from cultural diversity training. If the initiative passed, country and municipal law departments would have to complete a training course as part of the officers' in-service training. The courses would cover issues relevant to the racial ethnic and religious groups present within the jurisdictions of each group. 

The Age Of Safe Driving

Every day in the United States, 20,000 more people join the ranks of those 65 and older. According to the AAA, nearly 85 percent of people in that age group held driver's licenses in 2010. That percentage is not expected to fall. As is the case all too often, misconceptions and stereotypes about older people are more common than informed opinions. Older drivers are, in many ways, safer than drivers from other age groups. Older drivers tend to avoid risky or stupid behaviors, including drinking and driving and texting while driving that plague those in other age groups. Older drivers wear seat belts at a greater rate than other drivers. They are less likely to speed or engage in aggressive driving practices. That does not mean that older Americans are free from concerns about safe driving.

Elderly drivers tend to suffer greater harm in a comparable accident than younger drivers. An 18-year-old is much more likely to get into a wreck, but also more likely to walk away unscathed. Older people are more likely to be on prescription drugs that can affect driving ability. In addition, vision, reaction time and cognitive ability can also be affected by health conditions that disproportionately affect older people. 

New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses "Gay Conversion Therapy" as Consumer Fraud

Or... "Well, of course it's fraud."

I've blogged about so called "gay conversion therapy" - a veiled religious-based attack on one's homosexuality - before. I don't need to be gay to know that being gay isn't a choice, any more than being straight is. Being gay is well accepted as a biological fact (indeed, a genetically driven imperative). It's no more a "choice" than it is for the many other mammals in whom homosexual behavior has been noted (interestingly, at about the same percentages that it's noted in human mammals).

So being "gay" has been with mankind since before there was a mankind. Of course, if you're a religious nut, you don't believe the world existed more than a day or two before mankind, so science really isn't your problem. Given this, it's not surprising that, by and large, it's only religious nuts who believe that "gay conversion therapy" is anything other than the worst kind of religiously driven and devastating "quackery."

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