PERSONAL INJURY BLOG

Court Orders Hearing on Reliability of Breathalyzer

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The Massachusetts Supreme Court recently ordered a hearing on the reliability of a specific type of breathalyzer device that has been used in a number of DUI arrests.

That state's highest court ruled in June that the reliability of breathalyzer device in question must be established before any evidence related to tests performed on the breathalyzer could be admitted in court. The breathalyzer device in question is the Alcotest 7110 MK III-C. This breathalyzer was used in a case in which the defendant mounted a challenge to the accuracy of the test. He is joined by at least 61 other defendants in similar DUI cases, who are calling into question the reliability of the results from this particular breathalyzer model.

According to the motorists, who are calling into question the reliability of these breathalyzer test device results, the device test results are scientifically unreliable. Further, they allege that the device also comes with several other deficiencies that make any breath test results produced by the device unreliable. They also allege that the test results from the breathalyzer are not reliable, because it is not designed purely to test for ethanol. They also allege that the calibration tests performed do not establish the accuracy of the device.

However, the judge assigned to their case rejected their motion without even a hearing, stating that the results of the device are admissible under a Massachusetts statute. However, the Supreme Court has disagreed, and ruled that the Alcotest is the first breath test machine that tests using infrared technology, and courts have thus far not established the reliability of this device.

Federal Law Could Mandate Interlock Devices for All Drunk Driving Offenders

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A new piece of federal legislation could help reduce the incidence of drunk driving accidents further. It would require all 50 states to pass laws that require the installation of ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders. Failure to comply could lead to a reduction in the highway transportation funds that the state is eligible for.

The legislation has been proposed by Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (Democrat-New York) who says that even a first-time DUI offense is one time too many. According to the plan that she has proposed, all first-time DUI offenders must be required to install an ignition interlock device in all of their vehicles. States must pass laws that include this requirement. States that do not do so before the deadline will be eligible for a reduction in highway transportation funds. The deadline for complying with the legislation is October 1.

The beverage lobby, as expected, has spoken out against the proposal. According to the American Beverage Institute, the real problem drinkers, like binge drinkers, will not really be targeted under the law.

The fact is that many drunk driving accidents caused in the United States every year are caused by repeat offenders. When a person is able to get away with a mere slap on the wrist the first time that he is arrested for DUI, he is just more likely to drive under the influence, placing his life and other motorists’ lives in danger. California currently has a program in four counties, in which even first-time DUI offenders are required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. The program was kicked off in 2010, and under the program, even persons arrested for the first time for DUI are required to get the devices installed. The devices measure the amount of alcohol content in a person’s breath, and if the amount exceeds a certain limit, will prevent the vehicle from starting.

High Risk of Drunk Driving Fatalities on New Year’s Eve

Thursday, December 12, 2013

According to a new infographic that was released recently, the New Year's Eve holiday ranks fourth on a list of holidays based on the numbers of alcohol-related accident fatalities that occur during these holidays. According to the infographic, the deadliest alcohol-related holiday is the Fourth of July Holiday, followed by Memorial Day, Labor Day, New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The results were based on an analysis of traffic accident fatalities that occurred during the holiday period between 2007 and 2011. Although New Year's Eve is ranked fourth based on the actual number of traffic accident fatalities that occurred over the past four years during the holiday period, it also happens to be the holiday period with the highest average percentage of alcohol-related traffic fatalities with a rate of 42%.

The holiday period that resulted in the greatest number of accident fatalities was Thanksgiving, with an average of 444 fatalities during the entire holiday period. However, that holiday doesn't rank at the top of the list as far as alcohol-related accidents are concerned.

You’ve probably been in a position where you're driving after having had a few alcoholic beverages. There are a number of ways that you can prevent this from happening. If you are out in a group, designate a driver whose job is to remain sober for the duration of the evening, so that he can drive you home safely. Make sure that this is a trustworthy person, who can be trusted enough to stay away from the alcohol during the evening. If you are out alone, hitch a ride home. Try to make arrangements to stay the night over at your host’s place if possible.

Thanksgiving Holiday May Lead to Increased Driving Hazards

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

As they do every year, millions of drivers will be travelling throughout California for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. And, of course, more drivers mean more dangers on the road.

In many parts of the country—and even in some places throughout California—snowy and icy driving conditions may make for some driving challenges. While some outlying areas of Los Angeles may see frosty and slick roads, the weather is typically not a widespread hazard in Los Angeles at Thanksgiving (or any other time of year). Instead, many motor vehicle accidents in LA will be caused by other dangers.   

Many drivers will be heavily fatigued from long drives. Whether from other parts of California or from other states, long drives into Los Angeles can be harrowing especially if the driver is not from the area; the Southland’s freeways can lead to confusion for any driver but especially those unfamiliar with the labyrinth of overpasses, off ramps, and car pool lanes. Additionally, many drivers will be intoxicated. Innumerable accidents over the holiday weekend result in drunk driving catastrophes. For a wide-variety of reasons, Thanksgiving is an extremely hazardous time to be on the road.

USA TODAY recently reported findings from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study. In their most recent study, 431 people were killed nationally on Thanksgiving in 2010. That is more than were killed on any of these other three federal holidays: Veterans Day, Independence Day, and New Year’s Day. Those four federal holidays—including Thanksgiving—have a higher ratio of fatal car accidents than other holidays. For a variety of reasons, Thanksgiving is consistently the deadliest. The reason for this high number of fatal crashes is not altogether clear but simply having more drivers on the road is a definite hazard. Many of those drivers, unfortunately, will be disoriented and unfamiliar with the terrain, many will be exhausted and some will be intoxicated. For too many families, Thanksgiving will mark a day of loss rather than a day of thanks.      

Hit and Run in Rancho Cucamonga Leads to Bicyclist's Death, Suspect Arrested

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Good news is hard to find in such a story: 25 year-old Michael Vega of Norco was riding his bike on a recent evening when he was fatally struck by a white utility truck. Vega was rushed to an Upland hospital where he was pronounced dead. The truck driver fled the scene hoping to evade justice. That evasion may have come to an end if police have the right suspect in custody. If there is any good news at all in this story, it may be that this case will be solved.

Riverside’s Press-Enterprise newspaper confirms that a man has been arrested in connection with the fatal bicycle accident. Jason Cox, a construction worker in the area, was identified as the man driving the truck. Though the arrest came nearly two weeks after the incident, police felt confident that they had the evidence to charge Cox with gross vehicular manslaughter and hit and run that resulted in death. He is also accused of causing the accident while driving drunk at the time of the crash, according to San Bernardino news reports.   

According to the report, tips sent in to We-Tip anonymous crime tip organization lead to the arrest (http://www.wetip.com/). The tip lead Riverside sheriffs to Jason Cox’s home where they questioned him, examined his truck and ultimately arrested him. Though punishing Cox will not bring Michael Vega back, the arrest may signal one more step towards justice. This case is also a stark reminder of the many dangers that Southern California cyclists face on the roadways. 

Feds Test Alcohol Detection Device to Prevent DUI Accidents

Saturday, February 05, 2011

California drunk driving accident lawyers may soon see the day when sensors in a car automatically detect a driver’s blood alcohol level, and prevent him from driving if his alcohol levels are too high. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently attended a demonstration of an alcohol detection device prototype that can automatically detect blood alcohol levels of the person attempting to drive the car. If the person has an alcohol level that is .08 or above, the vehicle will not start, preventing the motorist from driving.

The demonstration was held at QinetiQ North America, a Massachusetts-based research and development facility. During the demonstration, a young woman consumed two one and a half ounce glasses of vodka and orange juice. In order to make the woman's alcohol consumption as close to a social setting as possible, the woman, who was in her 20s and weighed about 120 pounds, ate some cheese and crackers too.  She then used touch and breath sensor prototypes, which showed her blood alcohol level was at .06 and she was able to start the car.

Transportation Sec. LaHood believes that vehicles equipped with such alcohol detection sensors are the next frontier in automotive safety. However, federal officials also insist that any such systems are purely voluntary, and will not be mandated in all vehicles. Any such device will only be commercially available after a period of at least eight years.

Where these alcohol detection devices score over traditional breathalyzers is that these devices are quite unobtrusive. Unlike with traditional ignition interlock devices that have been available for many years now, motorists are not required to blow into a breathalyzer device to detect intoxication levels. Because of this, motorists may be more accepting of such devices than they are of ignition interlock systems. It is reasonable to assume that if these devices are found to be successful and reliable, insurance companies may offer low premiums to motorists who get these devices installed in their vehicles.

 

Huntington Beach Has Highest DUI Accident Rates in California

Friday, February 04, 2011

Blame it on a lack of will to crack down on repeat drunk driving offenders, or drinking establishments that have no qualms about over serving patrons. Whatever the reason, it is no surprise to Los Angeles car accident attorneys that Huntington Beach has the highest DUI accident rates in California.

According to data released by the California Office of Traffic Safety, 195 people were killed or injured by intoxicated motorists in Huntington Beach in 2009. The list includes 55 other California cities with a population of between 100,000 and 250,000.

Huntington Beach has always had a problem with drunk driving accidents. The city has featured on the list of the top California cities for per capita drunk driving accidents for the past five years. In 2005, the city was placed sixth on the list, and in 2006, it dropped to eighth position. In 2008, Huntington Beach was fourth on the list. In 2009 however, there had been more per capita drunk driving accidents in Huntington Beach, than any other city in California.

The news is not a surprise to the Huntington Beach Police Department either. Officers say they are aware that the city has a problem with drunk driving, but even they were not expecting their city to be the number one city for accidents caused by intoxicated motorists. According to the police department, they arrested 1,558 DUI suspects in 2009.

Surf City also has far too many bars and pubs that fail to set a limit on the amount of alcohol that a patron can be served before he goes out driving. There's also a lot also to be said for the lackadaisical attitude that the City Council has taken toward stemming the drunk driving problem in Huntington Beach. Last month, the City Council voted down a proposal to post the mugshots of repeat drunk driving offenders on its Facebook page.

Eight-time DUI Offender Convicted of Murder

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Edward Schaefer was convicted of murder in the 2nd degree on Thursday for the killing of a child he struck with his motorcycle in a crosswalk in Novato, Calif. Schaefer has eight previous DUI offenses to his record. The jury returned their verdict in less than four hours, saying that his DUI history showed malice.

Schaefer's driving history leading up to the accident includes the eight DUI charges and convictions, probation for 14 years and assorted judgments such as rehab treatment and license forfeiture. Even with such measures put in place, Schaefer still had access to a motorcycle and rode it through a stop sign, plowing into the Osheroff family, killing one of them and injuring the others.

The Osheroff family expressed gratitude for the verdict of guilty for five felony counts. Aaron Osheroff said that he remembered lying in the street, asking himself when he would wake up, thinking it was a horrifying dream.

Schaefer's recklessness killed the Osheroff's nine-year-old daughter Melody.

Schaefer's behavior was hardly that of a remorseful man. According to reports, he made obscene gestures at photographers during his first court appearance.

Osheroff also said anything other than the verdict returned would have been "an abomination." He called the decision "a no-brainer."

Aaron suffered damage in the impact, as well. His right leg is gone below the knee, and his left was severely mangled in the impact. Extensive surgery was required to repair both the muscles and the skin, necessitating a number of tissue grafts from other parts of his body.

When asked about the verdict, Osheroff stated that he didn't think Schaefer had demonstrated any remorse. He said he was glad of the verdict, and glad to have Schaefer out of his lives and off the streets. Currently, Osheroff's priorities lie on rebuilding his family's lives and making sure his surviving daughter has everything she needs.


CASE TYPE

Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers

LEDERER & NOJIMA VIDEOS

David Lederer and John Nojima used to defend the insurance companies. Now they are on your side.

At Lederer & Nojima LLP, in Los Angeles, California, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with the highest quality legal services and advice. We recognize that our success is based upon our client's success — so we are absolutely committed to obtaining the results our clients want and need.

CALL TODAY: 310-312-1860

OUR LOCATIONS

12100 Wilshire Boulevard

Suite 480
Los Angeles, 90025
Phone: (310) 312-1860

Get Map | Driving Directions

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES

555 W. 5th Street
31st Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone:(310) 312-1860

Get Map | Driving Directions


Lederer & Nojima proudly serve Los Angeles, West LA, San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica, Downtown Los Angeles, Brentwood, South Bay, Long Beach, Riverside, Encino, Sherman Oaks, and more locations throughout Southern California.