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Utah is a safe bicycling state – but there is room to improve

Whether cyclists are pedaling for their morning commute or for recreation, they deserve to be safe on the road. And while Utah is ahead of most states regarding bicycle safety, there are still improvements to make.

The League of American Bicyclists ranks all 50 states for bicycle safety and creates a report card highlighting the state’s strengths and weaknesses. As of the most recent data in 2017, Utah ranks No. 8 in the nation. Utah has been a Top 10 state for three of the past 10 years.

The dangers of drowsy driving

Most people are aware of the dangers of driving distracted or drunk, but many of us have no qualms about driving while tired. However, these driving patterns can be just as dangerous.

Drowsy driving is defined by sleepiness or fatigue caused by someone not getting enough sleep, having an untreated sleep disorder, taking a drowsy medication or shift work. Drowsiness is dangerous because it:

After an auto accident, how does blame affect coverage?

Auto accidents can be stressful, especially if you are concerned that you are even a little at fault. Maybe you took your eyes of the road to look at a sign for just a second, or you hit the breaks during inclement weather and they didn’t stop you in time. Someone else’s negligence was at more fault, but you’re worried about the repercussions if your driving wasn’t perfect.

Thankfully, Utah’s state code addresses this issue. The code states that the fault of a person seeking recovery may not alone bar them. It also states that a person can recover from any defendant or group of defendants whose fault, combined with the fault of persons immune for suit and non-parties to whom fault is allocated, exceeds the fault of the person seeking recovery.

The definition of distracted driving

When most of us think of distracted drivers, the image of someone texting while behind the wheel comes to mind. However, distracted driving can occur for several reasons, most of which aren’t legislated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies three types of distracted driving, which are:

Electric Scooters: Safe Alternative or Safety Hazard?

If you've spent time in downtown Salt Lake City recently you may have noticed a new method of transportation is hitting the streets and the sidewalks. Companies like Bird, Lime and Razor are supplying urban areas with hundreds of electric scooters as an easy, eco-friendly transportation solution for metropolitan areas. More than 10,000 riders have enjoyed these scooters since they first appeared a few weeks ago in the Salt Lake downtown area.

Sending Students to College with Cars: What You Need to Know

It's back to school time and thousands of students around the United States are headed off to college. Some college Freshman are not allowed to have cars their first year on campus but for many students, cars are a necessity.

A New Type of Breathalyzer

According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association, "All states but Utah define driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent as a crime, and specific laws and penalties vary substantially from state to state. Effective December 30, 2018, Utah's BAC will be set at 0.05 percent."Driving under the influence of alcohol is clearly defined by each state as a crime. But what isn't so clearly defined is driving under the influence of drugs, specifically THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana that gets people high.
Part of the difficulty is determining what constitutes THC levels that impair function. Unlike alcohol, which is measured in parts per thousand, THC is approximately a billion times less concentrated than alcohol and dissolves in fat so it can stay in your body for up to a month after use.
Hound Labs, a California based company, claims it may have cracked the code by developing a breathalyzer that can detect THC levels in a person's breath. Mike Lynn, emergency room trauma physician and CEO of Hound Labs, states "When you find THC in breath, you can be pretty darn sure that somebody smoked pot in the last couple of hours...And we don't want to have people driving during that time period or, frankly, at a work site in a construction zone."
This breathalyzer is used in the same way that a traditional breathalyzer is used. A person breathes into the breathalyzer cartridge, it is then plugged into a base that regulates the temperature of the cartridge and also reads the results. This breathalyzer can actually detect alcohol levels as well. Law enforcement agencies are anxious to find concrete methods to determine impairment on site because current testing measures can take days to provide proof of drugs in the system and officers are forced to do field sobriety tests and rely on observation, which can be subjective.
Is this breathalyzer going to be the breakthrough it claims to be? More research may be required. Most states still need to determine legal guidelines regarding THC levels and impairment. According to NPR, "So far only seven states, including Washington and Montana, have set legal guidelines as to how much THC in the system makes you dangerous behind the wheel. Yet some scientists are skeptical, saying those limits aren't really backed by hard science."
An additional challenge is the breathalyzer can only detect that THC has been used within a certain time frame but it can not determine the amount used. "We need more research to establish the dose-response relationship between THC level and crash risk," says epidemiologist Guohua Li, who directs the Columbia Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention.
In the meantime, a few law enforcement agencies are going to partner with Hound Labs to begin field testing the breathalyzer, but the challenge of the results being admissible in court has several agencies waiting to see the results before jumping on board.
Reducing the number of accidents caused by driving under the influence is the main concern. But accidents do still happen. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident caused by someone driving under the influence, we can help. Contact our office for a FREE consultation.

Dog Bites Can Result in Serious Diseases and High Medical Costs

Most people know that dog bites can cause serious injuries that are painful and can be extremely traumatic, but dog bites can also spread diseases that are extremely serious. We are all familiar with rabies and that is often a concern when someone is bitten by a dog (especially one that is feral and doesn't have an identified owner). But there are several other diseases that are transmitted through dog bites that you should be aware of.

Golf Carts and Low Speed Vehicles: Are They Street Legal In Utah?

There was a time where the only place you might see golf carts being driven off the course would be in planned retirement communities. But now you can drive through many Utah neighborhoods and see teenagers and parents alike, driving down the road to the community pool, a friend's house or the grocery store in a golf cart. The "Golf Carts on Steroids" craze has taken off across the nation.

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