News And Thoughts From The Law Office of Curtis Floyd

Life after a traumatic brain injury

For many with a traumatic brain injury, life changes forever. The accident is just a blip of time along your lifetime, but it forces you onto a completely new path. Your broken and bruised body heals as it should, but the brain can be a different story altogether.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be caused by a blow or a jolt to the head. An object that penetrates the brain can also result in TBI. But what happens to the brain?

Rules to stay safe on the highway during forest fires

By now we’ve all seen the dramatic pictures of how the forest fires have affected the communities of California. Aside from the harrowing news of people escaping the encroaching infernos is an overlooked threat: highway traffic.

Traffic, even under the best of circumstances, can be dangerous. When you have the added distraction of towering blazes  just off the highway, it only gets more difficult. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 80 percent of accidents are caused when drivers are distracted.

Prepare your child for a long hospital stay

Your life changes when you have a child. You learn to love and nurture like never before. You might argue that the worst part of being a parent is when your child is sick. You never want to see your child sick or in pain. It can be heartbreaking. It is especially hard knowing that there is nothing you can do about it besides get them medical care.

If your child becomes ill or injured due to negligence, it can be even more gut-wrenching—especially if the party at fault is a medical professional you trusted.

Will new distracted driving laws make roads safer?

A new law targeting distracted driving in California went into effect in January. Aimed at curbing cell phone, the goal of the law is to keep drivers focused on the road and reduce the number of accidents.

The question is, how big a difference will the law make?

Increase in road deaths related to poor choices behind the wheel

Automakers have been improving safety technology for decades. Our vehicles now have systems that help prevent crashes and design modifications that make crashes more survivable. Because of these advancements, there has been a consistent downward trend in the number of fatal car accidents on U.S. roads annually.

Unfortunately, driver behavior threatens to reverse this trend, and already appears to be doing so. According to news reports, there were about 40,200 car accident deaths in the United States last year. This is a six percent increase from 2015 and a 14 percent increase from 2014.

Road safety concerns grow over Trump regulation vows

Road safety advocates in California and around the country are worried that President-elect Donald Trump's campaign stance on regulations could place road users in danger. During a contentious and controversial presidential election campaign, Trump vowed to support American businesses and encourage entrepreneurship by slashing regulations. He also floated the idea of forcing federal agencies to eliminate two existing regulations for every new rule put into place.

Safety groups are concerned about how these campaign promises could impact pending rule changes that would limit the maximum speeds of new heavy commercial vehicles. The regulations, which were initially proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, were published in August 2016. However, comments submitted by members of the public and trade groups must be reviewed before published rules are implemented, and it can take federal agencies a year or longer to complete this process.

Lawmakers block truck driver safety regulations

California residents may have heard that federal lawmakers moved to suspend rules aimed at keeping tired truckers off the road. Specifically, the rules called for truck drivers to take two nights off after working up to 75 hours a week. Currently, drivers are required to take a 35-hour break at the end of a work week, and they were at one time required to include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. as part of that 35 hours.

However, opponents of the rule within the trucking industry got it overturned, which means that truckers can go back to work whenever their break period ends. Drivers themselves are split on whether there should be government-mandated regulations requiring them to rest after long periods on the road. One man said the rest breaks were a good thing while another said that drivers should determine when they are too tired to keep going.

Autonomous trucks may result in new regulations

Truck drivers in California and around the country may be able to look forward to better working conditions once autonomous trucks become a part of the industry. The American Transportation Research Institute says that autonomous trucks will still require a driver in the cab, so they will not lead to job loss. However, it is hoped that the introduction of the vehicles will cut down on driver fatigue and allow operators to work on other tasks, such as logistics, during the time they would ordinarily be driving.

Drivers' on-duty limits may be more flexible with autonomous trucks. According to the ATRI, regulations such as the 14 hour on-duty limit, the 30-minute rest break, the 11-hour drive-time limit, and weekly limits may be revised. Drivers may also spend less time on the road.

Are phone apps to blame for the spike in traffic fatalities?

After a consistent decline over the past forty years, traffic fatalities have spiked in 2015. Recent statistics for this year are even worse. During the first half of 2016, highway fatalities have increased over 10 percent from last year. These numbers are truly alarming traffic safety analysts. They are trying to discover the cause for a sudden jump in traffic deaths.

Texting and driving has been the decade old scapegoat for distracted driving-related crashes. While texting is still a serious problem, experts are suspecting a different cause for traffic accidents. Phone apps are now a prime suspect for the spike in traffic deaths.

Though more widely legalized, truckers cannot use marijuana

The legalization of marijuana for recreational use, medicinal use or both may be on the rise, but use of the drug remains off limits for commercial truck drivers in California and elsewhere across the country. According to the Department of Transportation, marijuana is listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, and the department has indicated that it will stand by its previously established stance as long as this remains so.

On Nov. 8, voters in California joined those in Maine, Nevada and Massachusetts in legalizing the drug for recreational use. Voters in three additional states elected to legalize the drug for medicinal use with loosened restrictions on medical marijuana approved by voters in Montana. Following the vote, a spokesperson for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implied that the DOT does not have the authority to change current drug testing laws for truck drivers without any such change first being initiated within the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy.


Law Office of Curtis Floyd, A Professional Law Corporation
903 H Street, Suite 200
Bakersfield, CA 93304

Phone: 661-846-2295
Fax: 661-633-1391
Bakersfield Personal Injury Office