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State College Legal Blog

Pennsylvania authorities set up holiday DUI checkpoints

Law enforcement in the region of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is setting up DUI patrols and sobriety checkpoints in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day. The holiday is a time of fun and festivities, but accidents and deaths related to drunk driving have the potential to spoil the good time for everyone, according to the director of the Center for Traffic Safety in nearby York County.

Since 2014, there have been three crashes related to drunk driving over the St. Patrick's Day period in Lancaster County, none of which resulted in fatalities, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. During the same period, there were four drunk driving deaths during the St. Patrick's Day period statewide. On the national level, during the 2017 St. Patrick's Day holiday, there were a total of 59 deaths due to crashes allegedly caused by drunk driving.

Is the nursing home chemically restraining your parent?

If you are one of the many people who has had to make the painful decision to place your elderly parent in a Pennsylvania nursing home, you likely make it a point to visit him or her as often as possible. You also likely have continuing concerns about the level of care (s)he receives, even though you carefully checked out the nursing homes in your area before choosing this particular one.

While most nursing homes do, in fact, take reasonably good care of their patients, some do not. That is what makes the results of a recent Human Rights Watch investigation of 15,000 nursing homes across the country so disturbing. This investigation found that many nursing homes routinely medicate their dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients with antipsychotic drugs such as Haloperidol, Seroquel and Risperidone for no other reason or purpose than to control them and make their often obstreperous behaviors easier to manage. Elder rights activists call this chemical restraint, an illegal and abusive nursing home practice.

Weather Related Traffic Accidents

According to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration there were over 5,890,000 vehicle crashes last year. Over 120,000 of those crashes were weather related. Meaning that the weather such as rain, sleet, snow, fog, cross winds and blowing snow or sand or a wet pavement contributed to the collision. According to the same publication nearly 5,000 people were killed and 418,000 were injured in weather related crashes.

What is a disqualification?

If you have a commercial driver's license in Pennsylvania, you could end up in a situation where you have a disqualification. According to the Department of Transportation, a disqualification is when you lose your privileges to operate a commercial vehicle. Essentially, you have your CDL suspended. Since most people use their CDL for employment reasons, this could be a serious issue. It is important to understand what leads to disqualification so you can avoid it.

A disqualification occurs after you commit an offense while driving. You could have one offense that leads to automatic disqualification or it could be an accumulation of incidents that lead to the disqualification. It is important to note that you do not lose your CDL over minor infractions. The incidents that lead to a disqualification are serious offenses.

Are all driving distractions the same?

With the widespread prevalence of cellphones that everyone has with them at all times, the topic of distracted driving is a familiar one. However, distracted driving is not a new problem. In fact, you and other Pennsylvania drivers may be interested to learn that dangerous driving distractions have been around for as long as motorized vehicles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have outlined three main types of distractions that, when you combine them with driving, can turn deadly. These include the following:

  • Visual – takes the driver’s eyes off the road
  • Manual – involves the driver’s hands or other body parts necessary to operate the vehicle
  • Cognitive – takes the driver’s mental attention off the task of driving

What can you do about a reckless driving charge?

Many people do not take traffic offenses seriously. While getting a speeding ticket is certainly not the end of the world, some offenses are more significant and so too are the penalties. Being charged with reckless driving is considered a more serious offense.

In Pennsylvania, reckless driving is a summary traffic offense. Though this is the most minor criminal offense possible, it is still a criminal offense. If convicted, you have a criminal conviction on your record.

Falls are hazardous for a senior's health

When Pennsylvania residents think about accidents that can result in serious injuries, they may not consider falls. However, falls can be especially dangerous for seniors. If people serve as a caregiver for an elderly parent, it is important for them to understand why seniors are more likely to fall and how these incidents can affect their health.

There are many hazards that might cause an elderly person to trip and fall. Medicine Net says that seniors might fall if they trip over toys and other objects that are lying on the floor. Steps and slippery floors can be dangerous for elderly people if they lose their footing, and a senior also might fall if he or she trips on loose rugs. Hallways with dim lighting can also be a hazard because a senior might not see objects on the floor until he or she trips over them. Falling can be dangerous for an elderly person because the fractures sustained in these incidents can sometimes threaten a senior's health. Some seniors might break a leg or an arm, but falls can also result in vertebral and pelvic fractures.

How do you prove fault in a slip-and-fall accident?

As a Pennsylvanian resident who has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you know that it can be difficult to prove fault. Just how do you show that you were the victim?

FindLaw has an article about proving fault in a slip-and-fall accident, which may be harder than it initially seems. A number of things will be looked at in order to determine fault. First of all, it must be determined that the property owner could have reasonably prevented the accident. They aren't held responsible for things that a person could have avoided, such as tripping on a hose on a lawn that's being watered.

Icy winter weather conditions cause injury

Pennsylvanian winters can be treacherous for many reasons. As winter sweeps in, it often brings snow, ice, sleet, hail, and more along with it. People who are out and about this holiday season should be aware of the dangers that this weather can bring, such as an increased chance of slip-and-fall incidents.

FindLaw defines a slip-and-fall accident as one that involves a person tripping, slipping, and falling on someone else's property. This is quite common in winter, especially as snow and ice begin to collect on all paved surfaces. Sidewalks and parking lots can be particularly dangerous, as black ice tends to form there. This type of ice can't be seen by the naked eye, which means it can be missed when sand or salt is being laid out.

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