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August 2014 Archives

New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Attorney Discuss the "Ban the Box" Bill

Governor Chris Christie signed the "Opportunity to Compete Act" into law on August 11, 2014, also known as the "Ban the Box" law. This new law will no longer allow employers to ask applicants to check a box saying whether they have been convicted of a crime. This is a needed fix to a "silent" problem which has long existed, but which has gone unaddressed because the victims are ex-cons, a constituency most people don't much care about.

Study Focuses On Truck Driver Salary And Safety

It is no secret that employers will pay employees as little as possible to maximize profits. The law sets a floor for hourly wage, though some companies attempt to get below even that paltry figure. The impact of wages, particularly low wages, on employee health and morale is concerning in many industries. In the trucking industry, pay practices may even have a detrimental impact on safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is now conducting a study to better understand the relationship between how much drivers earn and how safely they operate their vehicles.

Three things every pregnant employee should know

While the U.S. economy appears to be adding more jobs this summer, the struggles that pregnant women have in finding (and keeping) jobs is largely ignored. Basically, not every employer wants to hire a pregnant woman. Additionally, some employers do not understand the rules that protect pregnant workers and prohibit certain actions against them. Because of this, it is important for pregnant workers to know their rights and be able to protect themselves against overzealous employers.

Trial Run For V2V Technology Regulation

Some technological advancements can be counted on to take root in the market on their own. There is a reason cars no longer come equipped with 8-track players. Some technology must be pushed by regulators because the profit-incentive is lacking for automakers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has taken an early step along the path of requiring the implementation of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology in new cars and trucks. The NHTSA has released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on the issue. It has opened up several issues to public comment to gather feedback on what should be included in the eventual rule.

Programming Morality In Autonomous Vehicles

Avoiding a car accident can be a matter of split-second decision making and perfect timing. Sometimes, even the most attentive and skilled driver will be put in a position where an accident is unavoidable. As you approach an intersection, a car runs a red light and you are forced to swerve. You have cars on one side and a pedestrian on the other. Someone is going to get hit. The safest course for you, in your car, is likely to hit the pedestrian. But the chances of that accident causing a fatality are higher than in swerving into cars or going forward and hitting the car running the red light. You will likely make your choice by reflex, without any real contemplation.

Do Texting Bans Work As Advertised?

Twenty-four states currently ban texting while driving. An additional seven states ban the practice for young drivers. These texting bans come in two varieties: primary bans and secondary bans. Primary bans allow law enforcement officials to stop and cite drivers solely for texting behind the wheel. Secondary bans mean that police officers can cite drivers for texting only after stopping them for a different reason. Most of the bans have been enacted in the past decade. Early research has shown that the bans work, depending on the level of implementation.

Out-of-state case shows importance of knowing whistleblowing laws

Many people here in New Jersey know that there are employment laws that protect a person from wrongful termination. In the event that an employer fires a worker for exercising their employee rights, that employee does have the right to file a complaint against their employer. It's worth noting though that not all cases result in compensation, even if you feel like your rights were violated.

New Jersey hour and wage laws

In every state across the nation, including here in New Jersey, employers must adhere to federal and state employment laws. This can include everything from employee rights, family medical leave, workplace safety and compensation for work-related injuries, just to name a few.

Moving At The Speed Of Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives car owners two methods of pursuing a safety problem. Most individual owners who experience a defect would choose the easier option of filing a complaint. You can file a complaint about your vehicle, a child seat, defective tires or other equipment. You can do this online or by calling the NHTSA during business hours. The NHTSA assures us that all complaints are reviewed, though individuals who file the complaints may not be contacted.

NHTSA Regulating Autonomous Vehicles

Estimates vary wildly on when, if ever, self-driving cars will become a commonplace sight on American roadways. Some question whether the technology will be viable. Others wonder whether state governments will allow the vehicles. Still others wonder whether consumers will be willing to entrust their safety to software. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be at the forefront of many of the issues facing autonomous vehicles. The NHTSA is already working on regulations to govern connected and autonomous vehicles. Early regulations focus on park-assist systems and crash warning devices, but the agency is already considering how to ensure the safety and reliability of self-driving cars.

Technology And Drunk Driving Prevention

Ignition interlock devices are used in some states to prevent those with prior DUI convictions from driving drunk again. The devices require a driver to blow into them before the vehicle can be started. Some safety experts have wondered if similar devices should be required for all vehicles, regardless of the conduct of a particular driver. Apparently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also considering the value of technology in deterring drunk driving.

Old Tires And Good Tires

If you are a good driver, you may have little concern about getting into a car accident, or at least about causing one. Even the best drivers, however, can find themselves out of control when they blow a tire. Not all flat tires are created equal. Some flats are a mere annoyance. Rapid deflation of a tire can send a car out of control and lead to deadly consequences. Michelin estimated that tire blowouts cause more than 500 deaths every year. To minimize these accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains tire standards for different types of vehicle. The NHTSA recently decided not to add an additional requirement concerning tire age.

The Rise In Truck Accident Fatalities

Traffic deaths have generally declined over recent years. Improvements in safety technology have offset a growing population to lower highway fatalities. In 2011, we reached the lowest number of highway deaths since 1949, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The downward trend of deadly highway crashes is driven almost entirely by safety gains in passenger automobiles. Motorcycle deaths and fatal truck accidents have risen in recent years. Deadly truck accidents have increased each year since 2009. This bad news is made worse by the fact that economic indicators suggest the industry will grow substantially in the near future.

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