Flashing Lights to Avoid Blue Lights

Ever been driving down the road, street, or highway and see an oncoming vehicle flash headlights at you? No this is not a Herbie the Love Bug story. Instead, the flashing headlights are typically a “heads up” of law enforcement ahead. Undoubtedly this friendly advice has saved many a motorist from a traffic ticket and made things on the roadways a bit safer. Well, it seems some law enforcement agencies didn’t like this tactic and decided to charge motorists who flashed headlights at oncoming motorists. It now appears that several courts have decided that a motorist’s flashing of headlights, in most circumstances, is protected as free speech under the First Amendment.

If you find yourself snagged with a speeding ticket or other traffic citation DO NOT try to handle it yourself unless you understand the circumstances and potential consequences. Consult a traffic attorney to discuss your situation. Happy and safe motoring!

John T. O’Neal is a practicing attorney with the O’Neal Law Office in Greensboro, NC who focuses his practice in Personal Injury/Wrongful Death, Consumer Law (includes Auto Dealer Fraud/Vehicle Issues and Debt Defense Lemon Law), and various types of Civil Litigation handling cases across North Carolina. A long-time NCAJ member, he is a former Chair of the NCAJ Consumer Areas of Practice Section and a two-time Ebby Award winner.

Bounce Houses Pose a Significant Risk to Children

Children love to bounce and while everyone recognizes the obvious risks posed by trampolines, a brightly-colored castle-shaped balloon seems like safe fun. Whether these devices are completely enclosed or have side openings, children can easily fly up into the air and fall quickly to the ground, offering countless opportunities to sustain serious accidental injuries. With complex rules and regulations scattered within North Carolina legislation, it often takes support from an experienced Charlotte injury lawyer to help hold all responsible parties accountable.

The Many Risks of Bounce Houses

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, an estimated 64,657 children age 17 and younger received emergency room treatment for bounce house injuries between 1990 and 2010. Even more disturbing, they reported a 15-fold increase in these injuries between 1995 and 2010 and a doubling between 2008 and 2010. Nearly 47 percent of injuries, which were primarily sprains and strains, occurred at places of sports or recreation, but home injuries were not far behind at nearly 38 percent.

The following are the most common causes of these injuries:

  • Falls in or on the bouncer (26.1 percent)
  • Falling from or getting in or out of the bouncers (17.2 percent)
  • Accidents involving other users, including colliding with or being pushed or pulled by another person (9.9 percent) or when another person falls on a victim (6.3 percent)

NC Regulations May Not Offer Adequate Protection

The Amusement Device Safety Act of North Carolina contains detailed regulations governing the actual operation and inspection of all amusement devices operated within the state. Still, it is easy to argue that injuries to children in bounce houses may be caused more by childlike behavior than by device defects.

In fact, even the inflatable device operation-specific regulations imposed by the North Carolina Administrative Code to provide appropriate supervision fail to truly address the types of accidents that can occur in a split second when more than one child is using a device.

Liability for these accidents can reside with numerous parties — including another child, supervisor inattention, improper setup and maintenance or improper manufacture. This means parents seeking compensation for injuries to their children need to enlist assistance from a personal injury law firm with the skills and resources necessary to conduct detailed investigations into the precise causes of these accidents.

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Brown, Moore & Associates, PLLC, represents personal injury and medical malpractice victims throughout North and South Carolina. The firm’s attorneys have in-depth experience in motor vehicle accident and workers’ compensation litigation, and are known as strong advocates for their clients’ interests. To identify all available legal options, call 800-948-0577 or use this convenient online contact form.

How to Prepare for Summer Road Trips

The warm, sunny season is a great time to get on the road with friends and family, exploring the country and various points of interest. To keep you and your passengers safe, we urge you to take a little time to prepare your vehicle and reduce your risk of getting in an auto accident. When it comes to road trip safety, a little preparation and vehicle maintenance can go a long way.

The following road-trip preparedness tips come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Routinely maintain your vehicle: Regular maintenance on your vehicle reduces your accident risk by eliminating the factor of a breakdown, tire blowout, belt snapping and other common problems. At a minimum, routine maintenance of your vehicle should include:
    • Oil change
    • Tune up
    • Battery test
    • Tire rotation/alignment
    • Tire pressure check
  • Buckle your seat belt every time: Seat belts save lives. They can prevent ejection from the vehicle in the event of an accident and also prevent serious injuries. According to the NHTSA, when front-seat passengers wear a seat belt, their risk of fatal injury is reduced by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical injury is reduced by 50 percent.
  • Never drink and drive: Alcohol delays your reaction time, reduces your ability to concentrate, impairs your vision, and makes you more drowsy. All of these things and other effects of drinking make it dangerous to drive and increase the risk of a drunk driving accident. Be a responsible driver and commit to never drink and drive. If you plan to drink, make sure a sober driver has been designated or that you have arranged for a taxi, Uber or other means of getting home.
  • Prevent distracted driving: Distraction is a major cause of car wrecks. Texting, talking on a phone, adjusting audio controls and using GPS navigation can all potentially lead to a distracted driving accident. Put away anything that distracts you from the task of driving during your road trip.
  • Obey “move over” laws: The “move over” law is effective in all 50 states and prevents accidents involving law enforcement officials providing motorist assistance on the side of the road. Move over to the other lane to give the officer(s) a safe distance from your vehicle.

These preparedness measures and any others you have adopted should help you stay safer when traveling the American roadways this summer season.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please call the Ricci Law Firm for a free case review at (855) 444-9764. The experienced and compassionate attorneys at Ricci Law Firm serve Fayetteville, Greenville, Raleigh and all of the surrounding areas in North Carolina.