Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Three People Killed in Plane Crash in Barstow

Even as California plane crash attorneys continued their analysis of the Long Beach plane crash last week, there has been another crash, this one in Barstow. A small plane crashed close to Barstow-Daggett Airport in San Bernardino County on Sunday.

The plane, a Cessna 210 was on its way from John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana to Henderson Executive Airport (HND) in Henderson, Nevada, when it crashed about 2.5 miles east of Barstow-Daggett Airport (DAG). The plane burst into flames after it crashed. There were three people onboard, and all three were killed.

According to witnesses, the plane looked like it was spiraling out of the sky just before it crashed into a hillside. The airplane is registered to Debt-Free LLC.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration have begun individual investigations into the crash. New information coming in about the victims of the crash has revealed that the victims were a woman and her two children. The woman is apparently a resident of Truckee, California. Her husband has confirmed that his wife and two children, a six-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl, were killed in the crash, but the Coroner’s Office has not yet positively identified the bodies because of the extensive burns that have left them unrecognizable.

This plane crash comes just a few days after the deadly Long Beach plane crash last week that killed five people. The National Transportation Safety Board is already involved in that crash, and has begun the process of analyzing the wreckage of the plane to understand the reasons for the crash. The investigators will likely be looking at a number of factors, including the actions of the pilots just before the crash, as well as the functioning of plane components as possible factors in the Long Beach tragedy.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Rental Car Companies Dispute Findings of NHTSA Study

The three major rental car companies in the U.S. - Enterprise, Avis and Hertz have objected to the findings of a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study found that the agencies have a poor record when it comes to repairing recalled vehicles before renting them out.

The NHTSA study came in response to the deaths of two California women in a rental car accident that was later blamed on a defective car. The car, a Chrysler PT Cruiser, had been recalled a year earlier, and unknown to the two women, had not been repaired. Enterprise renting out the car to the two sisters, and when it was involved in the crash, the two women were killed instantly. Their families sued Enterprise, and were awarded $15 million in damages.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration soon began studying the practice of rented out recalled vehicles at some of the biggest rental car companies in the US. They found very high rates of recalled vehicles rented out without repairs. For instance, at Hertz Rent-A-Car, only 34% of recalled vehicles were repaired before being rented out. At Avis/Budget, about 53% of the cars that were recalled were repaired before they were rented again. Enterprise repaired about 63% of the recalled vehicles before renting them. The findings of the study became the foundation for a bill proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer, which will impose serious restrictions on renting out recalled vehicles.

But the rental car companies that were investigated by the NHTSA have objected to the findings of the NHTSA study, calling them outdated. According to the companies, they have a policy that involves selecting which recalled car should remain on the lot, depending on the type of recall and other factors. Obviously, this procedure didn't work too well for the two California sisters who were killed from a defective recalled rental car. That is all the more reason why Los Angeles car accident attorneys should support this bill.

Friday, 18 March 2011

California's Obese Children May Be at Risk of Injuries in Accident

California class action personal injury lawyers and child safety groups advocate the use of car seats to protect children from serious injury or fatality in an accident. In spite of the fact that there are more than 100 models of car seats available on the market and that there is great parental awareness of the need to secure children in these car seats, thousands of children in California and around the country may be at risk from seats that have not been tested enough for effectiveness or safety.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests child car seats for protections that are regulated only for effectiveness in a front impact accident. Car seats are not tested for their effectiveness in protecting the child in a side impact accident, a rollover or a rear end accident. Moreover, obese children, a fast-growing growing category of passenger vehicle occupants in America, may be left with little protection in the event of an accident, because the seats that are designed to accommodate them have not been tested effectively.

According to consumer safety groups, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not have crash test dummies that can be used to test car seats that are for children above 65 pounds in weight. A growing population of obese children has parents looking for car seats that can accommodate these children. Car seat manufacturers have been trying to keep pace with the demand, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn’t have the ability to test these seats because of the failure to develop appropriate sized dummies.

Car seats with harnesses can hold children who weigh up to 65 pounds. Back in 2002, a four-year-old, 50 pound boy Anton Skeen was killed in a rollover accident after he was ejected from his car seat. After his death, his mother pushed for Anton’s Law, which requires NHTSA to begin the process of developing a child-sized 70-pound crash test dummy. Close to 10 years later, there's still no such test dummy in sight.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Pasadena Freeway - History and Accident Rate

A wonderful article about one of the first freeways in the nation – the Pasadena Freeway turning 70 years old was published on line today. This freeway, running from the south end Arroyo Parkway Blvd in Pasadena, passing the 5 freeway, then snaking by Chavez ravine and dropping into downtown Los Angeles – is also know as the Arroyo Seco Parkway or the 110 freeway.

Being built without much experience to rely upon, a few things are lacking compared to modern freeways. There is no shoulder, and on/ramps and well as off ramps are short, requiring quick acceleration and deceleration in addition to timing and a keen awareness of traffic. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times Article quotes Caltrans' deputy district director for operations as saying that the freeway has a high rate of accidents, even the the posted speed limit is slower than other freeways.

If you have ever driven this freeway, you know the twisty, bumpy experience that it offers. With three lanes and a 55 mph speed limit, it gets congested fast. As mentioned, it is a magnet for freeway accidents in Los Angeles, and the steel and concrete barriers have plenty of scars, cracks, bends, and crumbles to show for it.

Currently there is much contention about extending a nearby freeway, the 710, through Pasadena to connect to the 134/210. This will alleviate some congestion, but many communities are worried about bringing commercial traffic routes through area and the impact. Even an underground tunnel has been proposed!