The Risks of Lyft and Uber

The ridesharing apps Lyft and Uber have been in the news recently. Uber, of course, had its fair share of notoriety after problems with executives at the company and various accusations of poor management. Lyft, on the other hand, has largely been in the news for emerging stories about its business; the app made headlines for its initial public offering a few weeks ago — it emerged into the stock market with a value of several billion dollars!

While Uber and Lyft have maintained different reputations in the news, it is clear that both of these companies are forces in our economy to reckon with. I do not foresee either going away anytime soon. Even more, Uber and Lyft have both focused research on artificial intelligence development so that one day, self-driving cars could be introduced on a mass scale and allow riders to use their app to hail a ride that is not actually ‘manned’ by a human.

This is just one of the reasons that strikes have recently been taking place by drivers for the ridesharing apps. Conflicts and anger around payment rates, tipping procedures, and more have caused strikes and tensions to flare between drivers and company executives.

At times, it seems there will never be an issue related to Uber or Lyft driving on which all parties will agree. However, the issue of safety is at least allegedly important for all parties — riders included! This agreement is important because there are some real safety issues with Uber and Lyft rides.

One of the biggest is a lack of clarity on who is exactly driving Uber or Lyft vehicles. Most states do not have updated requirements for these companies to do the same type of background checks as required for taxicab companies or other modes of transportation. While there have been relatively few crimes committed by Uber or Lyft drivers to make the headlines, the fear is still present for many riders — especially younger females who rely on the services in busy, bustling cities.

An additional fear about Uber or Lyft safety is discussed on the Jurewitz Law Group website; accidents are fairly common issues in the daily life of commuters or city-dwellers. It is unlikely that you personally will crash every day. However, at any point in time, somewhere in a city a car is crashing or about to crash. So how do crashes work in Uber or Lyft vehicles?

Determining liability is a messy process. In some states, special exemptions have been carved out to make Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing apps some of the few mass-transit options not covered under “common carrier” laws. Essentially, large-scale transit types like trains or buses are considered at-fault in every instance there is an accident. It is cheaper and easier in the long term view of things to assume liability and pay out compensation for damages rather than investigate an endless amount of crashes that take place in a large city, every year.

Uber and Lyft, however, are not considered “common carriers” and thus determining responsibility for accidents is a convoluted process best managed through working with a lawyer; no matter if you are the other car, the rider, or ride-share driver.

Recent Changes to the Texas Controlled Substances Act

Given my interest in drug crimes and defenses, I try to keep up with the modern trends in the law. For those who don’t know, this article by the drug offense lawyers of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter provides an excellent explanation of the Controlled Substances Act. The article explains how CSA defines different penalties for various drug convictions. The law sorts different types of drugs into different “penalty groups,” and punishment is determined by the amount of the drug, the penalty group of the drug, and the type of drug offense committed.

To further my understanding of the Controlled Substances Act, I decided to do a little research on some recent changes to the act. The following list is what I discovered:

  • January 5, 2018: FUB-AMB, ortho-fluorofentanyl, tetrahydrofuranyl fentanyl, and methoxyacetyl fentanyl were temporarily added to schedule I classification
  • December 29, 2017: naldemedine was removed from schedule II classification
  • October 20, 2017: acetyl fentanyl was moved from temporary to final schedule I classification
  • September 29, 2017: fentanyl was temporarily added to schedule I classification

I discovered all this information from the Texas Department of State Health Services. While the essential components of the Controlled Substance Act remain the same, I think it is very important to keep up with any modifications. Not only does this make us knowledgeable citizens, but it helps us try to understand what policies the state is trying to push forward.

Drug offense punishment is partially dependent on the type of drug offense committed. The same article I referred to earlier also explains these various types of offenses. According to the article, the more common types of drug offenses include drug possession, drug sales, drug manufacturing or delivery, drug trafficking or distribution, and drug paraphernalia.

If you were unaware, drug paraphernalia charges result when someone is found with possession of an item that is intended to use, conceal, or prepare an illicit drug. These items include glass pipes, bongs, roach holders, razor blades, syringes, and vials. This charge can result in hefty fines and jail time.

Drug possession is not to be confused with drug trafficking. Sometimes, drug possession charges can result in the same penalties as drug trafficking. This rise can occur based on the amount of substance, or if there are any devices or packaging equipment found with the substance. Drug sales charges are very serious. These are often brought forward when the illegal substance is found alongside a gun, an excessive amount of cash, or scales and other drug paraphernalia.

Again, the various types of drug-related offenses are addressed in the Controlled Substances Act. This is a comprehensive law that has undergone many changes over the years. In fact, as I have just explained, the act has changed very recently. It is important to stay up-to-date with these changes and policies. Drug offenses are very common, so knowledge of the CSA is crucial.

Local landmark destroyed in single-vehicle crash in Fort Smith

Fort Smith residents were upset to learn that one of the city’s favorite local landmarks was destroyed in a single-vehicle car crash around mid-day on Thursday, August 24th. Locals and visitors enjoyed the local treasure, which was an antique medical carriage that was formerly used by doctors to make house-calls. The carriage was a landmark for many in the town, who would often give directions to others by referencing the carriage outside the “Through the Years” antique mall.

The carriage was destroyed when a driver plowed into it after veering off the road. After demolishing the carriage, the car continued through and hit a light pole before continuing to spin out of control. The driver was taken to the hospital with injuries, and authorities have not yet released details on how the crash occurred. They do believe that the driver may have been unconscious at the time of the crash, whether from falling asleep or some other reason.

If the accident was caused by a mechanical error or some auto defect, the injured driver may be able to take action against the vehicle manufacturer. While vehicle defects have not been announced by investigators, it is always a possibility when investigating any crash. I looked up legal resources in Fort Smith, and according to this law firm, McCutchen & Sexton’s website, if it were driver error, the driver would obviously have no legal recourse, but if the accident was not the driver’s fault, he or she may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover expenses due to his or her medical bills, any lost wages, and replacement of their vehicle. The damage to property, like the carriage, may also be paid for by the party responsible.

In the meantime, the carriage’s owner, Terri Feeny, the owner of Through the Years, is trying to figure out how to replace the priceless carriage. According to Channel 5 News, Feeny said “I’m hoping that we can find someone who can build us one that looks like it. I’m hoping to have a replica made.” While Feeny looks for someone who can make a replica, she is putting together a collection of photos of the carriage so that the memory of the local landmark will live on. She asked the police to leave what debris was left of the wreckage so that she could salvage certain pieces of it, a favor that they were happy to oblige.

For many people in the town, the carriage was a small source of pride and was an enjoyable local attraction that is now completely destroyed. We will follow up with more news on this story if the authorities ever release news about how or why the crash occurred. We will make sure to keep you posted on the latest news regarding this beloved local landmark.

It is Time to Do Away with the Traditional Silver or Metal Fillings

Tooth-colored fillings, as explained by the Patchogue dentists of Babylon Dental Care clinic,   are an exceptional replacement or alternative to silver or metal fillings that were commonly used for more than 100 years. Not only are silver fillings contaminated with mercury, a harmful substance to your body, but they are also unattractive.

Tooth-colored fillings, also commonly referred to as “composite fillings” or “white bonded fillings”:

– are completely natural-looking, that no one will even know you have a cavity;

– are used to repair decayed, cracked, or broken teeth; and,

– are commonly used to replace old silver fillings.

The traditional solution to fix cavities was silver-mercury amalgams which, until now are still used by so many dentists. Metal or silver, when used to fill cavities, however, do not allow for a tight seal, thus letting moisture inside. Over time, the filling would expand and may cause the tooth to crack, eventually leading to broken fillings. Besides this, old metal amalgam fillings leave patients with discolored teeth too.

Today, composite fillings are chemically bonded to the problem tooth once the decay is removed. This process helps to protect the remaining natural tooth structure from breaking or eroding. This makes tooth-colored fillings:

  • Long-lasting and durable;
  • Completely customizable in size and color so there are no visible differences between the filling and your natural surrounding teeth;
  • Bonded extremely well to your natural tooth, thereby preventing leaks that can lead to cavities or dental problems in the future; and,
  • Mercury-free

Moreover, tooth-colored fillings are an improvement to the traditional silver-colored dental fillings which made dental works pretty obvious. Tooth-colored fillings offer a finer appearance that would make repaired teeth and original teeth blend together. Through this modern dental treatment, it will be hard to tell which tooth is original and which was repaired due to damage.



The Effect of Weak Vehicle-roof Support during Rollover Accidents

Multiple-vehicle collisions are among the deadliest types of car accidents in the US. These include rear-end collisions, head-on collisions and side-impact crashes, also called side-swipes or T-bones. More dangerous than any of these, however, are rollover accidents, which have claimed more lives and greater damages in the past years, especially during the 1990s, when production of passenger vans increased and SUVs were introduced.

Based on the figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 10,000 lives are lost every year due to rollover accidents, which number to more than 280,000. Though any type of vehicle can rollover, the ones more prone are pick-up trucks, vans and SUVs. This is because these vehicles, compared to cars, have a center of gravity of is higher from the ground.

The results of a rollover accident becomes doubly worse is the roof of a vehicle collapses. Collapsing vehicle roof is another major cause of severe injuries and fatalities during rollover accidents. A vehicle’s roof crashing down on the driver and other passengers’ head and spine can cause severe or fatal head and spinal injuries.

One reason for roof collapse is failure of the roof pillars (these are the vertical structures that are supposed to hold up the vehicle’s roof in the event of a rollover accident). There are usually six (if counted individually) or three pairs of roof pillars: the A-pillars, which support the windshield, front side windows and the beginning of the roof. These can also channel the electrical wiring for the lights at the rear of the vehicle and for overhead lighting. The two other pairs are the B and C pillars; the former are the vertical supports between the front and rear doors, while the latter joins the vehicle’s rear side and rear windows.

Despite the great danger posed by weak roof support, many vehicles are built with reduced pillar strength. While this strategy lessens a vehicle’s weight as well as lowers its cost, it, nonetheless, also greatly increases the risk of serious injury for the driver and his/her passengers. Thus, to ensure the safety of every occupant even when the vehicle rolls over, the government has mandated a roof crush resistance standard which manufacturers should incorporate in every vehicle built.

Besides the roof crush resistance standard, the NHTSA has also required manufacturers to make the electronic stability control system (ESC) a basic feature of every car. The ESC is designed to give drivers greater control of their vehicles, especially when these skid, to lessen the possibility of a rollover.

The law firm Mazin & Associates, PC, says that when a car accident occurs, the result could be grave injury, permanent disability or death for drivers and their passengers. If this accident is the fault of one specific party, however, it would be greatly unfair to expect innocent victims to waste their time and resources dealing with the situation, especially in the event of a wrongful death. Pursuing legal action against responsible parties, especially for the purpose of recovering compensation, should be considered by victims. It may serve a great advantage for victims if they are represented by a seasoned personal injury lawyer in this legal pursuit.

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