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News And Thoughts On The Law In Berkeley And Beyond

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.

Dealing with divorce in the workplace

It is important to keep the divorce out of the workplace as much as possible. However, this is easier said than done for many soon-to-be exes in California. That's why it's important to create some strategies for dealing with the process.

Anxiety from divorce issues and the time it takes to deal with them can be consuming. Rather than face continual interruption throughout the work day, it's better to set aside time each day to phone the attorney or do other necessary divorce-related tasks. Make phone calls in private, and send emails using a personal account. Having the communication pass through an unprotected server could put the attorney-client privilege in jeopardy. It's also wise to inform attorneys of court dates that may conflict with other work commitments.

Volvo announces drunk driving safety features

Volvos are popular choices for car buyers in California and around the country who place safety above all other considerations, and the Swedish company has developed a reputation for introducing new accident avoidance technology before other carmakers. Volvo added to their safety legacy recently by announcing that it will soon be installing sensors and cameras in its vehicles that are designed to detect signs of distracted or intoxicated driving.

According to Volvo, the sensors and cameras will observe driver and vehicle behavior and then slow cars down and park them safely to prevent serious accidents. The technology will intervene when vehicles weave across lanes, driver reactions are not as rapid as they should be, no steering input is noticed for a dangerous amount of time or motorists look away from the road ahead for more than a matter of seconds. Volvo has also announced that all of its 2020 cars, SUVs, crossovers and wagons will be limited to a top speed of 112 mph.

Rumors could create a hostile workplace

California and federal law generally makes it illegal to create a hostile workplace for an employee. In some cases, rumors that are spread about a person could make a workplace hostile or otherwise constitute sexual harassment. For instance, if an executive had a romantic relationship with an employee, it may be seen as the impetus for that employee's upward trajectory within the organization. However, employment decisions should not be made on anything other than merit.

If the employee deserves a promotion based on being the right person for the job, he or she should have a fair chance to obtain it. Holding a relationship with an executive against that person may be seen as sexual harassment or disparate treatment. In fact, failing to put a stop to rumors of an office romance could in itself be seen as harassment. That was the conclusion the 4th Circuit came to in a recent case involving a woman who was subject to rumors that she slept with her boss.

Driving while texting is more dangerous than many think

Arizona drivers have likely heard that driving while texting is dangerous. Recent studies have added figures to this claim that give it more impact.

A driver simply needs to think about the distance they travel in their automobile when they are driving at 55 mph. When a person is traveling at that speed, their vehicle covers a length a little bit longer than a football field every five seconds. Now, drivers should think how long it takes a person to send a text: about five seconds. That means when a person is texting while driving, they potentially cover the distance equivalent to the length of a football field while distracted. If that does not highlight the danger of driving while texting, very few things will.

Pedestrian deaths in 2018 close to all-time high

Californians may be interested in a new Governors Highway Safety Association report that reveals that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. last year. That makes 2018 the deadliest year for pedestrians since 6,482 died in 1990. Pedestrian deaths were at an all-time low just a decade ago, but they have risen by a worrying 51.5 percent since 1990 and now account for 16 percent of all road fatalities. Groups like the GHSA have raised concerns about rising rates of driver impairment and the dangers of smartphone use behind the wheel. The association's report suggests that distraction and intoxication are a factor in many pedestrian accidents.

The GHSA study reveals that more than 90 percent of the pedestrians killed in 2018 died in accidents that took place after dark. Driver distraction is even more dangerous at night when peripheral vision is compromised. Drunk drivers are also a bigger threat to pedestrians at night. According to the report, alcohol was found in the blood of about half of the drivers involved fatal pedestrian accidents in 2018.

Steps for divorce preparation

Preparing for divorce in advance can make what is a difficult process move more smoothly. Thinking long and hard about the ramifications of divorce and whether it is the right decision as well as researching California state laws about divorce are both steps that a person should take before proceeding.

Getting organized is also important. This includes collecting bank statements, tax returns, mortgage documents and information on retirement accounts and any investments. Part of getting organized is also thinking about the post-divorce budget. This will help a person decide what to ask for in the divorce. For example, looking at the budget, the person might realize that keeping the family home on one salary is not sustainable. People should also get copies of their credit reports and close any joint accounts.

Job loss common result of breastfeeding discrimination

Many women in California face significant barriers at work when they choose to breastfeed their babies. Too often, employers respond with hostility to requests for temporary reassignments or daily breaks to pump breast milk. University researchers who studied data collected across a decade found that two-thirds of workplace discrimination cases involving breastfeeding mothers resulted in job loss.

The report published by the Nursing Mothers Law Project detailed how breastfeeding employees frequently endured denial of breaks, refusal to provide a private and clean area to pump milk and sexual harassment. Employers in many cases gave no consideration to the painful infections women might develop if they did not pump milk regularly. Workplaces hostile to nursing mothers also caused some women to wean their children from breast milk earlier than health guidelines recommend.

Handling sexual harassment in the workplace

The #MeToo movement struck a cord for many Californians and caused them to think about their own actions and behaviors. As more women have begun speaking out about workplace harassment, employers and fellow employees are wondering how they should act and what they can do to handle certain situations.

Sexual harassment occurs when one or more people in the workplace act in a way that makes a single individual or group feel uncomfortable. It must also include some element of sexual comment or action. Examples include commenting on the way a woman looks or a man's sexual orientation.

Large trucks cause more severe accidents

Many California drivers feel anxious when sharing the road with large trucks. As it turns out, that wariness is justified. When a large truck collides with a passenger vehicle, bad things tend to happen to the car's occupants. As a result, tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks are treated differently by both the government and insurance companies.

For example, insurance companies typically require 18-wheelers to carry well over $1 million in vehicle insurance. This is done because trucks often do much more property damage and are more likely to cause severe injuries during collisions, leaving insurance companies on the hook for expensive settlements. In addition, unlike passenger vehicles, large trucks are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation. These agencies make sure that truck drivers and trucking companies follow certain safety regulations, including rules on vehicle inspections and driver performance.

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