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News And Thoughts On The Law In Berkeley And Beyond

Millennials' view of prenuptial agreements

In California and in other parts of the United States, there have been taboos about marriage and divorce that seem to be losing their power among certain parts of the population. An example of this can be seen when one looks at the view that many millennials have toward prenuptial agreements. In the past, prenuptial agreements were seen as only used by the wealthy, or they were seen as an indicator of divorce. However, a recent study shows a 62% increase in the number of clients asking their attorney for a prenup agreement. This increase seems to be driven by millennials.

There are a number of factors behind this. One factor could be that millennials, both men and women, are more focused on building their career prior to getting married. This means that they enter marriage with a better understanding of what money is, how it works and its value. They are concerned not only about their financial situation today, but they are also thinking about situations that could impact them in the future.

Distracted driving poses a threat on the road

Distracted driving is a serious and growing threat to safety on California roadways. Despite widespread public awareness campaigns designed to highlight the dangers of texting while driving and other forms of distraction, the omnipresence of technology continues to divert drivers' attention from the wheel. One survey indicates that technologies meant to reduce phone use can also be seriously distracting. Advanced software like Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto integrate major smartphone apps with newer cars' infotainment systems. These services aim to keep drivers from picking up their phones and taking their eyes away from the road and hands away from the wheel while operating their vehicles.

However, the researchers who conducted the Multi-National Distracted Driving Survey say that any type of system that deliberately draws attention from the road is a hazard, even if drivers don't need to use their hands to operate the technology. Indeed, the proliferation of hands-free devices has served to make phone use while driving even more common. Survey results indicate that 86% of millennial drivers use their phones while driving. Another 79% of millennial drivers reported taking incoming calls or reading texts while behind the wheel, and 72% said they looked at incoming notifications.

Drowsy driving as dangerous as drunk driving

Drowsy driving is a serious problem on roads in California and all over the country. In a survey conducted by AAA, nearly 33% of respondents said they had driven at least once in the prior month while they could hardly keep their eyes open. In a study of 1,767 people, Consumer Reports found that one in five people who take prescription sleeping pills had driven within seven hours of taking them. Most sleep aids advise users to sleep for at least seven hours after administration.

Since so many areas of the state lack effective public transportation systems, many people are forced to get behind the wheel even when they're too tired to drive. According to the National Sleep Foundation, being awake for 24 hours straight is equivalent to drivers having a blood alcohol level of .10, which is higher than the .08 legal limit.

2 TSA officers suspended after noose discovered at airport

Californians who regularly fly may be interested to learn that two Transportation Security Administration officers at Miami International Airport were suspended with pay in July after a noose was found in a bagging screening area. In a statement, TSA stated that the item was immediately removed upon its discovery and that an investigation has been launched into the issue.

According to the report, the item was located in a baggage screening area that is off-limits to the public and passengers. Regardless, the two officers accused of being involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave so that a full investigation into the matter could be completed.

Take precautions to avoid trucking accidents and injuries

Trucking accounts for a large percentage of roadway traffic across America, but unfortunately, along with the heavy volume of trucks comes an increase in trucking accidents. Accidents involving commercial trucks can lead to a variety of injuries, including broken bones, vital organ damage and concussions. In extreme cases, trucking accidents can lead to death. As a result, it's important to understand common causes of trucking accidents in order to minimize risk and improve safety on the nation's highways.

According to The Urban Twist, speed is one of the most common causes of trucking accidents. Equipment failure, including the failure of vital components like brakes, is cited as the second most common cause followed closely by driver fatigue and intoxicated driving. Research published by The Urban Twist also lists environmental hazards and general distracted driving as further contributing factors in many trucking accidents.

Employers urge Supreme Court to extend Title VII protections

The California-based Walt Disney Company is one of more than 200 employers that recently submitted a letter urging the U.S. Supreme Court to extend protections provided by the Civil Rights Act to LGBT and transgender workers. Title VII of the landmark 1964 law prohibits discrimination based on gender, but it does not specifically mention sexual orientation or gender identity. Courts in New York, Illinois and Ohio have recently ruled to extend these protections. The nation's highest court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the issue on Oct. 8.

The list of companies behind the amicus curiae brief, which was released on July 2 by five LGBT advocacy groups, includes the Bank of America, Xerox, IBM, Nike, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Coca-Cola and Microsoft. The brief states that corporate polices dealing with discrimination and a patchwork of state laws and regulations are not enough to protect LGBT and transgender workers.

Drivers are confused about what their cars can do

Drivers in California and throughout America may be confused about what autonomous vehicles are actually capable of. There are five levels of automation, with the highest level reserved for vehicles that can truly drive themselves with no human engagement. Currently, most autonomous systems are at level two, which means that a human operator must still be paying attention at all times. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did a study featuring 2,000 drivers to see what they knew about current autonomous technology.

Of those who participated, almost half said that they could keep their hands off of the steering wheel while using Tesla's Autopilot feature. This was partially because they believed that the name implied that the car could do the driving for them. Advertising from companies such as Tesla and Mercedes have further led consumers to believe that their vehicles can drive for them.

Defective hernia mesh can cause painful consequences

People in California who sought treatment for a hernia may have wound up suffering serious damage as a result of the mesh products used to repair the injury. While hernia meshes have been used for over 60 years in these procedures, some of the options and materials developed over time have caused even more severe injuries due to product defects. Some of the materials that were used to create hernia mesh products had not been fully tested before being used in patients' surgical procedures. In many cases, patients have required additional surgery to treat the original hernia and additional damage.

Some of the defective meshes have included products produced by Covidien, Bard, Ethicon and Atrium. Many of them cause severe pain, but they can also lead to more severe problems, such as adhesions and bowel obstruction due to the mesh. When an adhesion form, scar-like tissue sticks together, leading to serious pain as well as other problems depending on the location of the adhesion. In addition, hernia mesh also poses a risk of rejection, infection or migration of the mesh to another area of the body.

How California women can fight back against harassment

Women in California should be aware that while women are filing more harassment claims than ever before in the #MeToo era, they are also facing substantial retaliation. Even though there have been issues with retaliation, there have also been many major success stories as a result of the #MeToo movement, including several high-profile cases involving celebrities. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released numbers showing that complaints about sexual harassment in the workplace rose 13.6% in 2018. These numbers are evidence that more people than ever before are reporting harassment despite obstacles meant to dissuade them.

However, the most frequent charge filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is retaliation. A whopping three-quarters of sexual harassment charges that have been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission include a charge of workplace retaliation whether that retaliation comes from a boss or a fellow employee.

Operation Safe Driver Week targeting speeders

Law enforcement in California and across the country will be focused on bad behavior by commercial and passenger vehicle drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, which is scheduled from July 14 to 20. The special focus of the program this year is on speeding. Statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that speeding drivers were a factor in 94% of all traffic accidents during the year 2015.

The president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance pointed out that speeding has contributed to almost 33% of traffic deaths for more than 20 years. The president called that statistic unacceptable, especially in light of its preventability. The CVSA is sponsoring Operation Safe Driver Week, and the president of CVSA acknowledged that traffic tickets are not popular. However, driver behavior changes based on contact with law enforcement, citations and warnings.

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