Jeffrey E. Johnston

Evans Legal Issues Blog

The top dangers of driving at night

Georgia residents may find themselves commuting in the dark now that daylight saving time has ended. Though motorists in general only do a quarter of their driving at night, 50 percent of traffic deaths occur during this period. According to the National Safety Council, the risk for a fatal car crash triples at night. The following are just some of the factors in this trend.

The nighttime is known to compromise depth perception, color identification and peripheral vision. Plus, the glare of oncoming lights can temporarily blind drivers. Older drivers also have diminished night vision and may have trouble seeing the road even when their high-beam headlights are on.

Is GPS use while driving against the law?

Evidence has demonstrated that using a smartphone while driving leads to accidents. Georgia’s recent ban on handheld use was enacted in an attempt to reduce these incidents of distracted driving.

However, the new law has left some wondering if they can still use a navigation application on their cellphone for directions.

Ways to stay safe when driving in bright sunlight

In Georgia and across the U.S., drivers put themselves and others at risk for a crash because they fail to make provisions for bright sunlight. In such conditions, drivers are actually at 16 percent higher risk for a fatal car crash. The following seven tips help keep drivers safe and should be taken into consideration.

Drivers are to use their sun visors. These are designed to not hinder visibility, and they can be effective in blocking the sun from the front windshield and the side windows. Next, drivers could purchase a stylish pair of sunglasses and keep them in the car. They will be doing their eyes a service because sunglasses protect against harmful UV rays.

Violent crimes defense in Georgia

Being accused of a crime can be a frightening experience. If you're facing criminal accusations in Georgia, it's important to mount an aggressive defense so that you might receive a more favorable resolution. Being charged with a violent crime will potentially expose you to a long term of incarceration.

It's vital that you understand the criminal court process and how to build the strongest defense possible for your case. You might need to conduct a thorough investigation of what happened, obtain discovery from the prosecution, review the evidence that is being used against you and interview witnesses.

People Injured in Floor Collapse at Party

Some people in Georgia might have heard about an apartment collapse that happened near Clemson University in South Carolina. Police say ambulances were called to the scene after a phone call was made around 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 21.

A private party was underway at a clubhouse rented for the purpose. People posted video online that showed attendees who had been dancing fall through the floor to the basement below. Although roughly 30 people were taken to the hospital, police said no one suffered a life-threatening injury or was trapped. The property manager declined to state whether there was a limit on the number of people who could use the clubhouse.

Surge in truck accident deaths prompts calls for new regulation

Accidents involving semi-tractor trailers around the country claimed 4,300 lives in 2016 according to government crash statistics, and this alarming surge in commercial vehicle road deaths in Georgia and other states has prompted renewed calls for autonomous crash avoidance systems to be mandated. Since the technology was developed about two decades ago, the National Transportation Safety Board has called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to introduce such a regulation on at least 10 occasions. The agency says that it hopes to complete field testing of the latest autonomous truck safety systems within two years.

Any new regulation is likely to meet fierce opposition from trade and lobbying groups. Organizations like the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association say that implementing a forward collision avoidance system regulation would place an unfair financial burden on their members. They also claim that the safety benefits of the technology are unclear and more research should be done before compelling business owners who may be struggling to invest in expensive new equipment.

How people may defend against drug charges

When Georgia residents are taken into custody on charges of drug possession, they might choose among several options for their defense. These would broadly fit into the categories of either procedural defense or one that challenges the prosecution's evidence.

One of the main types of procedural defenses might be if the search that led to the seizure of the drugs was illegal. If law enforcement pulls a car over and the drugs are in plain sight, this is probably not a procedural error. However, if drugs are only recovered after an extensive search that a person did not agree to, it could be. Charges are usually dismissed when there is an error of this type. A person might also allege that the drugs were planted or that entrapment occurred if the person was pressured into accepting the drugs as part of a law enforcement operation.

Marijuana still not decriminalized in Georgia

While recreational marijuana use is only legal in a handful of states, thirteen states have decriminalized the drug. Decriminalizing pot means removing hefty criminal penalties for possessing relatively small amounts of the substance.

Georgia is far from decriminalizing marijuana, with severe penalties in place for possessing more than an ounce of the plant.

Safety technology might prevent truck crashes

The National Transportation Safety Board has repeatedly asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate crash avoidance technology in large trucks. According to the NTSB, many large truck crashes could be avoided, or their severity mitigated, by crash avoidance technologies. The NTSB does not have the power to mandate that these systems be installed in trucks on Georgia roads. Rather, it can only conduct investigations and make recommendations to other agencies.

Data gathered by the federal government indicates that more than 4,300 fatalities occurred in 2016 due to large truck crashes. That represents an increase of 28 percent versus the year 2009. The NTSB has recommended that forward crash avoidance systems be installed in all large trucks. According to trucking companies that have installed forward collision avoidance systems, the technology can prevent up to 70 percent of rear-end large truck accidents. They also maintain that crashes are less serious when they do occur and damage to property is lessened. The NHTSA has not disputed these claims.

Help protect your college-aged child avoid substance abuse

Many college students, as they experience less parental control, act rashly and dangerously. Drugs and alcohol have proven to significantly alter the performance and emotional health of college students across the United States. Yet students continue to abuse substances on a regular basis while parents watch helplessly.

A court may inflict significant punishments to first-time offenders, and the toll of conviction may be significant. As a parent, you hold the ability to actively prevent your child from trying the substance even once.

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