Birmingham Legal Blog

Should pedestrians be fined for texting and walking?

In Honolulu, a new law took effect in October regarding texting. But this time, the law is not aimed at drivers; it's targeting pedestrians.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, police in Honolulu are now permitted to fine people up to $35 if they are texting or doing any activity that requires them to look at their smartphone or tablet while crossing the street. They hope these measures will reduce the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. 

How close are we to seeing self-driving cars on the roads?

Just by looking at the numbers, it's not difficult to see why so many people are looking forward to the prospect of self-driving cars. In 2015 alone, according to the most recent statistical data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 35,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes that involved nearly 49,000 vehicles. The average annual economic cost of car crashes is estimated to be a staggering $242 billion.

Because most accidents are caused by driver error, self-driving cars are expected to significantly reduce the number of accidents caused each year in the United States. Unfortunately, the two automakers leading the charge on self-driving cars, Alphabet Inc. (the parent company of Google) and General Motors Co., aren't expecting to release their first fully automated vehicles until 2020.

What's on OSHA's 2017 list of commonly cited safety violations?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released their annual Top 10 workplace safety violations list. The top spot on the list is once again fall protection-general requirements.

These requirements apply to construction workers and include numerous provisions for walkways/working surfaces six feet or more above a lower level. The provisions apply to areas such as:

  • Walkways, ramps and working surfaces
  • Unprotected sides or edges
  • Leading edges
  • Holes and skylights
  • Excavation sites
  • Hoist areas
  • Locations near dangerous or heavy equipment

How to keep your kids safe on Halloween

It’s time to start thinking about Halloween. Your children may have been thinking about it for weeks, but as a parent, it is good for you to do so as well. You want the holiday to be fun and safe. Read on for some easy tips on Halloween safety.

Pedestrian safety

Why do roofers have such a high death rate?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roofers have one of the most dangerous jobs in America.  The data shows that there are 47.4 roofer deaths per 100,000 workers. This is much higher than the rate of many other construction worker deaths, which are nearly 17 deaths per 100,000 workers.

While all construction work is extremely dangerous, roofers are at increased risk for injury and death because they work at elevated heights. Whether it’s a commercial or residential building, roofers face hazards such as:

  • Falling off the roof
  • Falling off ladders or scaffolds
  • Ladders and scaffolding collapsing due to defects, wear and tear, or improper assembly
  • Lack of safety equipment and procedures

Nursing home deaths a grim reminder of how we treat the elderly

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma impacted millions of people across the U.S., but one of the groups that was most severely affected is the elderly, particularly those in nursing homes. While nursing home neglect is all too common in our country, the egregious incidents caused by the hurricanes' power outages and flooding remind us that the elderly need our support and protection.

The flooding in Texas from Hurricane Harvey caused some entire nursing home populations to require rescue by boat. Because nursing home residents are overwhelmingly vulnerable to physical and mental injuries, this type of rescue is especially dangerous for them.

Nurses are facing too much violence from patients

Most of us don’t think of nursing as a dangerous profession, but unfortunately, nurses in many places face more violence on the job than law enforcement personnel and prison guards. It has become an epidemic in American hospitals and clinics. Nurses’ aides and home health care workers are also at risk for patient violence and other injuries.

A recent survey found that over 75 percent of nurses report being abused verbally and physically just for trying to do their job. Nurses can suffer many types of abuse from patients, including:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Kicking and hitting
  • Scratching
  • Stabbing
  • Sexual assault
  • Being threatened with guns

Vegetable recall affecting Alabama residents

Southeastern Grocers issued a recall of several pre-cut vegetable products sold at Winn-Dixie, BI-LO and Fresco y Mas. The products are being recalled because of the possibility of Listeria. You can get a refund if you return the vegetables to the store where you purchased them.

Did you buy one of these recalled products? The recall includes:

  • 10 oz. packages of SEG Stir Fry Vegetables
  • 6 oz. packages of SEG Tri Pepper Dice
  • 12 oz. packages of SEG Fajita Blend
  • 23 oz. packages of SEG Vegetable Kabob

Watch for signs of eye damage after the eclipse

Most adults understood the potential dangers of looking at the recent eclipse without using special glasses or telescopes. Getting kids to understand this—and keep the glasses on—can be a different story, however.

Find out what type of damage staring at the sun during an eclipse can cause. Then you’ll be prepared if your children show signs of eye damage in the next few days.

Over 2.6 million kids are injured playing sports each year

With school back in session, so are youth sports. Younger children and teens are likely already attending practice for sports such as football, soccer and cross-country. It’s important for parents and coaches to understand how to protect kids in practices and games.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year there are over 2.6 million sports and recreation injuries to children. These numbers only cover children who were taken to the emergency room for their injuries. It is possible that the total is higher due to children who weren’t immediately treated and instead saw their own doctor for treatment.

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Birmingham Office: 205-879-1981
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Fax: 205-879-1986