Thursday, 29 September 2011

Former Gymnasts Make Sexual Abuse Charges against Olympic Coach

A former U.S. Olympic team coach, whose trainees include some of the biggest American female gymnasts of all time, is headed for disgrace after three women came forward to allege that he sexually abused them.

The coach, Don Peters, has some sterling achievements to his credit, including coaching the women's team at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He is also credited with developing SCATS, a Huntington Beach gymnastics club with a reputation for producing champions. All of that glory hangs in the balance however, after three women came forward to make allegations of sexual abuse against him.

The three women include Doe Yamashiro, a former member of the U.S. National Team who trained under Peters at SCATS in the ‘80s. According to her, he began abusing her when she was 16, and the abuse ultimately resulted in sexual intercourse when she was 17 years old. The second accuser, an unidentified woman, was also a gymnast at SCATS, and she says that she had sexual intercourse with Peters when she was 18 years old. Both this woman and Yamashiro have signed a sworn declaration about the truth of the abuse.

According to Linda McNamara, who was a former assistant director at SCATS, Peters also confided in her about having sex with both of these women, and another third teenage gymnast. The women have already reported these allegations to USA Gymnastics, and an investigation could soon begin.

California sexual abuse lawyers are not so surprised that the gymnastics floor is as fertile an environment for sexual abuse as the swimming pool. USA Swimming has been rocked by a sexual abuse scandal, involving coaches who preyed on young swimmers.

In individual sports like gymnastics and swimming, there is a special relationship that exists between a coach and a young athlete. For coaches in these situations, taking advantage of a young charge is much easier than it would be for a coach in charge of a team of athletes. Some of these young athletes train for up to forty hours a week, beginning when they're in grade school. It's easy for a coach to assert absolute authority over a young girl, and ultimately take advantage of this trust.

Older Drivers Able to Self Regulate Driving to Avoid Accidents

San Fernando Valley car accident lawyers find that senior motorists have a much better safety record than teen drivers, but older drivers are more likely than middle-aged drivers to be involved in accidents. A new survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, however, indicates that older motorists are capable of regulating their driving in order to avoid traffic accidents.

The survey involved a single group of drivers aged 65 and above, who were surveyed every year between 2006 and 2008, and then again between 2009 and 2011. The surveyors were looking at how older motorists’ driving abilities changed with age, and how they responded to these diminishing abilities.

For instance, the surveyors asked the participants in the study about any medical impairment that they had suffered that year, including failing vision, hearing loss and mobility-related impairments like difficult in turning the head and slow responses. The researchers and San Fernando Valley car accident lawyers were pleasantly surprised to find that when older drivers found their driving abilities were being threatened by diminishing faculties, they tended to avoid certain driving situations. When impairment levels increased, the drivers responded by modifying their driving habits.

However, few motorists in the survey said that they gave up driving altogether when they found that their faculties were declining. Also, few motorists seemed to be in any hurry to cut back on their driving. In other words, older drivers were more likely to avoid certain situations, like driving at night or driving during rush hour when they noticed failing eyesight, than give up driving altogether.

That only signifies how precious driving privileges are for senior motorists, and the challenge that loved ones can expect to face if they believe that it's time for the senior driver to give up the car keys.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

NTSB Increases Pressure for Cell Phone Ban on Commercial Drivers

A complete ban on the use of any kind of cell phones by commercial truck and bus drivers, as Los Angeles truck accident lawyers have been calling for, could soon be a reality. The National Transportation Safety Board is intensifying its calls for a complete ban on cell phone use while driving for all commercial truck and bus drivers.

The Board’s pressure is clear in its investigative report into a traffic accident in 2010 in Kentucky that killed eleven people. In that accident, the National Transportation Safety Board found that cell phone use by a truck driver had been a major contributing factor in the crash. The driver had been using a cell phone device while driving. His cell phone records showed that he had used his cell phone to make phone calls and send text messages at least sixty-nine times in the 24 hours before the deadly crash. In fact, at the very minute that his truck veered across the median and crashed into a minivan, the driver was busy on a call. The driver and ten people in the minivan were killed in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board is basing its call for cell phone bans for all commercial truck and bus drivers on this very preventable disaster. As the National Transportation Safety Board notes, distracted driving by a motorist is bad enough, but when it is the driver of a vehicle that weighs up to 40 tons and is traveling at highway speeds, such behavior is even more dangerous.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s proposed ban would include both hand held cell phones as well as hands-free sets. The trucking industry has been ambiguous in its response to this call. The American Trucking Association says that it is in favor of a ban on the use of handheld cell phones for commercial truck and bus drivers, but does not believe that hands-free sets should be included in this ban.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Data Indicates Spike in Criminal Activity in San Francisco Bay Area

Experts are pointing to a number of reasons for a spike in criminal activity in some San Francisco Bay Area cities. In most other cases, police believe that cutbacks in law enforcement are to blame for this increase. However, in some of the cities, an increase in law enforcement has actually led to an increase in crime. For instance, In Richmond, the crime rates have increased even though the city has added to its police force.

In Oakland, there was an increase in firearms assaults by 31% to 361 incidents in the period ending September 1. That was an increase from 276 incidents during the same period of time last year. According to city records, the number of homicides in Oakland also increased to 74 incidents during the same time, a 25% increase.

In San Jose, there were 26 homicides, an increase of 70% through July. Robberies were up 9% to a total of 598 incidents this year. In Richmond, homicides increased to 21 incidents this year, a 75% increase.

The increase in crime in these San Francisco Bay Area cities has surprised law enforcement, because it comes after a three-year period of decline in reported crimes. In 2010, the number of violent crimes fell by 7.2% from the previous year.
However, not everything is as bleak as law enforcement would have you believe.

Overall crime rates in the cities of Richmond, Oakland and San Jose are actually down from 2007 and 2008. There has been a sharp decline in the certain crimes like property crimes, including auto theft and burglary. Additionally, the increase in crime is not consistent across the Bay Area. Many Bay Area cities including San Francisco have seen a decline in violent crime. In San Francisco, violent crime decreased by 5% to a total of 4,476 incidents this year.

This decline has mirrored the overall decline in crime rates in California. Violent crime rates in California fell 6% between 2009 and 2010. Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are also aware of a drop in violent crime rates in Los Angeles this year, an estimated 18% decline.