Archive for July, 2018

Can I Get a DUI While Riding a Bike? What About Other Modes of Transportation?

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Can I Get a DUI While Riding a Bike? What About Other Modes of Transportation?

The notion of getting a DUI while on a bicycle might seem silly, but it’s very realistic. You might think you can’t get a DUI on a bike, but you can. In fact, there is a wide range of motorized and non-motorized vehicles that you cannot legally operate while drunk.  It might be surprising, but it still is the law. Here are some of the vehicles in which that you can get a DUI if you drink while operating them.

Bicycle

You might think you don’t have to worry about being ticketed or being pulled over for DUI if you’re on a bicycle. After all, how much damage can a bicycle do? The reality is, however, that you pose a great risk while on a bicycle. If you’re riding on a bicycle wall under the influence of alcohol or other substances, you are not in control of your movements to the extent that you should be. If you veer into the road, you could cause an accident. Furthermore, you pose a risk to pedestrian and others, as well. This law also protects your safety, since there are many ravines, creeks, alleys, reservoirs, and other places that you could fall into while on a bicycle if you are under the influence.

Golf Cart

A golf cart is another vehicle in which you can get a DUI. Again, many people think this is laughable, but a golf cart can do serious damage if operated by somebody under the influence. For instance, if the golf cart operator drove it into the middle of traffic, that could cause much injury and chaos. The golf cart operator themselves could end up in a pond or in a dangerous situation, and when it comes down to a golf cart and a pedestrian, the pedestrian will lose.

Tractor or Equipment

Tractors and farm equipment that has to be driven is also off-limits if you’re under the influence. Consider the damage you could do if you were driving a tractor while drinking. most farm equipment, commercial equipment, tractors, and other such vehicles are large and consist of appendages that have sharp ends and potentially destructive elements.

Motorized Wheelchairs or Scooters

Yes, even a motorized wheelchair or scooter is considered a vehicle, and you are not allowed to operate it if you’re under the influence. A wheelchair, if driven by someone who’s drunk or otherwise under the influence, can cause serious damage and injury to both the person driving and anybody who happens to be in their path. The danger of a drunk driver operating a motorized wheelchair is particularly high since motorized wheelchairs can be used inside small public places, like stores.

If you were arrested for or charged with a DUI, it’s imperative that you seek competent legal help. Only an experienced DUI attorney can help you defend yourself in court and obtain the best possible results for you. At Legal Info, we’ve worked for years with drivers just like you. We help pair you with a qualified attorney in your area who is vetted and capable of helping you with your specific case. By entering just a few pieces of information about your case, we can find and email you the information of an attorney near you who is best suited to help you with your case. The initial consultation is free, so what do you have to lose? Get started today, and exercise your right to fight.

Emergency Declaration Information: What Every CDL Driver Should Know

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Emergency Declaration Information: What Every CDL Driver Should Know

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) works closely with a variety of states to help provide emergency services when and where they’re needed. If a natural disaster or other type of emergency threatens people or renders them in need of basic supplies, truck drivers and other commercial drivers have the option of rendering aid and taking on loads of food, water, first aid supplies, and other items that people in emergency or disaster areas might need. When aid of this kind is needed, states will issue an emergency declaration. Your rendering of aid is always voluntary, but if you decide that you want to help in these situations, here’s what you should know.

Your Participation is Voluntary

Responding to emergency declarations is entirely up to you and is your personal choice. Your trucking company cannot force you to render aid, nor can they use forced dispatch to make you carry a load to an emergency area. There may be a number of reasons why a commercial driver doesn’t want to render aid. Perhaps you would be adversely affected by seeing those in distress. Maybe you’re sick or you’ve worked too many hours and you don’t think you can transport the load safely. Whatever the reason, you cannot be forced to carry a load to an area affected by an emergency, so don’t ever feel like you have to say yes. Assuming you want to render aid, though, you will be aided by the temporary revocation of certain safety laws.

Which Laws Are You Exempt From During the Haul?

Emergency situations are clearly unique. They are time-sensitive and require immediate attention. Most of the time, supplies need to get there quickly, and certain regulations might hamper the expediency of a haul. For instance, limiting the number of hours you drive or limiting what you can carry might mean that you can’t get the emergency supplies to their intended location in a timely manner. For that reason, certain laws have been suspended for those rendering aid to areas affected by an ongoing emergency.

What You’re Exempt From

The laws that exist within 49 CFR Parts 390-399. These laws cover general safety laws, hours of service, transportation of migrant workers, inspection, repair, and maintenance, parts and accessories, and driver qualifications, to name a few. You’re exempt from many of these laws during your trip to a disaster-affected area or an area undergoing an emergency situation.

What You’re Not Exempt From

While you’re exempt from certain laws that might hamper your progress and efficiency in rendering aid, you’re not exempt from other laws. For instance, you still can’t drink and drive while rendering aid. Furthermore, you still have to follow size and weight limitations, must comply with all State and Federal tax requirements, and are prohibited from transporting hazardous materials. In other words, use common sense and follow the basic safety laws that are always in effect. If you’re ever in doubt, check with your supervisor or with the FMCSA for more information.

Other Rules and Technicalities

In addition to knowing which laws you are and are not exempt from, it pays to know some of the other technicalities that exist. For instance, you can only render aid if the emergency is ongoing in order to be exempt from the various regulations mentioned above. Additionally, even if the situation is ongoing, you must be providing direct assistance in order to be exempt. In other words, if you’re taking water directly to victims, that’s acceptable, but if you’re not rendering that kind of direct aid, then you’re not exempt.

Carrying of Documentation

You do not need to carry documentation of the declaration while you’re traveling. Even if you’re traveling through states not affected by the emergency in order to render aid to the victims, you’re exempt from those rules that Federal law allows you to be exempt from while rendering such aid. You can simply tell any officer or individual who questions you, if they do, that you’re responding to an emergency declaration and tell them the state it’s in and what event it’s for. It’s likely the authorities in each state already know about it, since they are often called upon to help, as well.

Using Good Judgement

No matter what laws you are or aren’t exempt from, the law also states that you must use good judgement when you’re traveling in order to render aid. You still shouldn’t drive if you’re ill, exhausted, or in any situation where your being on the road would put others in a hazardous situation. Use common sense, and make sure it’s safe for you to be on the road while you’re traveling to administer aid to those affected by emergencies.

Administering aid and responding to emergency declarations can be a rewarding experience. However, make sure you’re using your best judgement in order to avoid accidents, injury, or unnecessary charges. If you’re charged with a traffic-related crime while rendering aid, make sure to contact a traffic attorney in the area immediately. Only an experienced attorney will be able to help you obtain the best possible outcome given your specific situation.

Unmanned Speeding Cameras: How Do They Affect Oregon Drivers

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Unmanned Speeding Cameras: How Do They Affect Oregon Drivers

In September of 2016, Oregon implemented unmanned speeding cameras in Portland. The cameras were placed on Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, and law enforcement officials began touting its efficacy before a single ticket was issued. While the numbers suggest that the mere presence of the camera is enough to affect driving behavior, what are the long-ranging consequences and implications for Oregon drivers. Since the cameras now exist in multiple locations, it’s worth taking a look at the statistics behind the cameras, how effective they are, and where their weaknesses lie.

Initial Facts and Statistics

The stretch of road where the first camera was placed has a speed limit of 40 miles per hour. Before the cameras were installed, the number of drivers traveling at speeds of 51 miles per hour or above totaled 1,417 a day, on average. After the cameras were turned on, that number dropped to 93 per day. For the first 30 days, only warnings, not actual citations, were issued. However, law enforcement officials state that the cameras are still keeping speeds lower in the areas where they operate.

Penalties For Drivers

The cameras themselves are unmanned, but every photo is reviewed by a police officer. If the officer determines that a citation should be issued, he or she will sign the citation and mail it out. Those who obtain a citation after photographic review will have to pay $160. It seems straightforward, but it can cause a headache for those who feel they’ve been unfairly cited. Are these cameras really effective? Are they necessary? And what are their weaknesses?

Reason For Concern and Proof of Efficacy

In 2015, two people per day died because of an accident resulting from one or more vehicles running a red light. Between 2011 and 205, red light-running accidents were responsible for 719 deaths per year, 60 deaths per month, and $390 million in losses due to fatalities. American Traffic Solutions found that when red light cameras decreased, red light-related fatalities increased. Between 2011 and 2015, the number of communities with red light cameras installed dropped by 12 percent and red light-related fatalities increased by seven percent. Communities that turn off their cameras experience an average 30 percent increase in deaths related to red light crashes. These statistics are not the only ones that seem to suggest the presence of unmanned speeding cameras directly affect driver behavior in a positive way. But what about implementation?

Weaknesses of Red Light Cameras

On the other side of the argument are those who say that unmanned speeding cameras have far too many weaknesses to be effective. Here are just a few of the arguments leveraged by those who believe unmanned cameras do more harm than good.

●     Mistaken Identity – According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when it comes to red light tickets issued due to an unmanned camera, the registered vehicle owner is the driver of the car in only 72 percent of all cases. In other words, nearly 25 percent of unmanned camera-initiated citations are given to someone that doesn’t own the car.

●     Between a Rock and a Hard Place – When drivers receive a ticket in the mail, they always have the option of fighting it. However, this means they’re faced with the choice of taking off work (thus losing money) to fight the ticket or paying the $160 fine.

●     Faulty Equipment – Most camera equipment providers decline to publish the error rates and reliability reports for their cameras. Given that these cameras run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in all manner of weather and conditions, it leaves many wondering just how accurate they are.

●     Lack of Government Audits – There are no widespread government imperatives that require state or federal agencies to audit the unmanned camera providers. That means there’s effectively no government oversight, which makes many citizens question how they can know if the cameras are functioning, run correctly, or maintained.

●     Conflicting Studies – There are multiple studies that seem to show an increase in fatalities and accidents when red light cameras are present rather than the decrease that many other studies show. These conflicting studies have led to the argument that the effectiveness of red light cameras is inconclusive and should be studied further before issuing tickets based on their data.

The topic of unmanned speeding cameras and how effective they are is a deep and complex issue that could be explored over the course of volumes. However, they’re a reality for Oregon residents, along with the residents of many other states. As long as they are, you should be aware of them and understand that you do have legal options if you’re cited because of one of these cameras. If you receive a citation resulting from an unmanned red light camera that you feel is in error, be sure to contact a traffic attorney right away. Only an experienced lawyer will be able to look at your individual case and help you obtain the best possible result.

5 Benefits of Attending Traffic School

Friday, July 6th, 2018

5 Benefits of Attending Traffic School

Many people think that attending traffic school is a mandatory requirement reserved for lawbreakers only. Others feel that no benefit can come from traffic school or that it’s a waste of time. Regardless of the many myths surrounding the idea of traffic school, the truth is that opting to attend traffic school – often called defensive driving school – can be very beneficial. Traffic school offers students a variety of opportunities. From reducing your ticket fines to improving your insurance rates, traffic school can help you in many ways. While traffic school may not be the most exciting way to spend your time, if you’re facing serious penalties or you want to offset your driving mistakes, it’s worth a try. Here are five ways attending traffic school can help you.

Avoid License Suspension

Most states assign a certain amount of points to individual driving infractions. If you accrue a certain number of points within a given time frame, usually 18 months, you can face serious consequences including the suspension of your license. In many states you’re able to attend traffic school and remove some of the points on your license. Once the points are removed, your risk of losing your license typically decreases substantially. While offsetting the points that put you over the limit might not be enough to convince the court to let you keep your license, it does show that you’re making attempts to rectify the situation, and that tends to sit favorably with traffic court judges.

Lower Ticket Fines

It’s easy to make a mistake and wind up getting a ticket. Unfortunately, those tickets can come with steep fines. In some states, going to traffic school can help you reduce your fines. Make sure to contact the court clerk in your area to confirm that traffic school is an option before you sign up and pay for traffic school. You can usually complete your traffic school courses online, which means you can minimize your fees from the comfort of your home.

Decrease Your Insurance Rates

You don’t always have to take defensive driving classes just because you were charged with breaking the law. Some insurance companies will offer their customers lower rates if they opt to complete defensive driving courses. Make sure to find out if you can take online courses to obtain the discount. Some companies require in-person classes. Still others require you to take classes only from certain providers or schools. Traffic school may be an inconvenience, but obtaining lower insurance rates just might be worth your time.

Bolster Your Defensive Driving Skills

Traffic school teaches you about more than just your state’s traffic regulations. In fact, you can learn crucial defensive driving techniques that can help you protect yourself, your loved ones, and other drivers as you navigate the roads. You’ll also receive hazard prevention training and learn how to react more quickly in an emergency situation. In a society where drivers are more distracted than ever and distracted driving-related accidents are on the rise, these skills just might save your life or the lives of your family members.

Improve Your Overall Driving Record

Offsetting points against your license isn’t only valuable in the face of potential license suspension. Even if you only have a few points on your record, offsetting those points is still a good idea. Maybe you got into a fender bender and it hurt your driving record because you were found to be at fault. Whatever the case, improving your driving record can help you lower your insurance rate and show that you’re making an effort to drive defensively. Attending traffic school can help you improve your driving record and is typically looked at favorably should you be ticketed or involved in an accident in the future.

Only you can decide whether optional traffic school is right for you. Keep in mind that not all traffic schools are created equal. Many states only acknowledge traffic school courses offered by certain companies or that have specific characteristics. Make sure you contact your court clerk and find out which traffic schools your state recognizes before spending time and money on classes.