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Breckenridge Family, Criminal And Personal Injury Law Blog

Avoid accidents caused by excessive sun glare

Drivers in Colorado may encounter dangers when they least expect them. While many people think that a clear day is not a likely time to encounter problems with poor visibility, sun glare can present a major danger on the roads, especially during the morning and afternoon rush-hour drives. This is particularly dangerous when the visibility issues created by bright sunlight combine with negligent or distracted driving. However, people can take steps to protect themselves while driving facing the bright rays of a rising or setting sun.

Sunglasses can help drivers to avoid the glare and protect themselves. While they won't eliminate the beams of the sun's rays, they can reduce their impact and also protect vision from the damaging effects of UV. It can be a good idea to store a pair of sunglasses in the car in case of visibility issues. The built-in sun visors in a vehicle can also be an important first line of defense against excessive sun glare. The visors can be adjusted to block the most glare possible. Because they are built-in equipment, they are designed not to block a driver's view of the road ahead.

The impact of marijuana reform on road safety in Colorado

The recreational use of marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2012, which has given researchers plenty of time to find out how rolling back drug prohibitions affect road safety. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health in August 2017 found that marijuana legalization had not led to a surge in traffic accident fatalities in Colorado, but researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety say that the number of accidents in the state has increased significantly.

IIHS researchers compared automobile insurance collision claims in Colorado with claims made by motorists in three states where recreational marijuana remains illegal. Factors such as age, weather and location were taken into account when the figured were tallied according to the researchers. After studying data collected between 2012 and 2017, the researchers found that collision claims in Colorado were 5.3 percent higher than they were in Nebraska, 5.7 percent higher than they were in Wyoming and 18.9 percent higher than they were in Utah.

3 reasons for a marital agreement

Although no one gets married anticipating a divorce, the fact remains that about half of married couples in the United States end their marriages through divorce. Mature adults understand that in addition to the romance of a marriage, the union is also a legal contract.

Advance planning before getting married, especially in terms of a marital agreement, makes practical sense for several reasons. If you are about to get married, consider these three reasons for a marital agreement.

NHTSA's 2017 data shows rise in fatal crashes with large trucks

In Colorado and across the U.S., the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks continues to rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report summarizing the 2017 car crash data that it collected through its Fatality Analysis Reporting System. It appears that large truck crash deaths were the only type of vehicle crash death that saw an increase.

The total number of traffic fatalities went down 1.8 percent from 37,806 to 37,133 people. Fatalities in passenger vehicle, motorcyclist and pedestrian crashes went down by 1.4, 3.1 and 1.7 percent, respectively. Bicyclist fatalities saw a significant 8.1 percent decrease while speeding-related deaths declined by 5.6 percent. Distracted driving crashes, while accounting for 8.5 percent of all fatalities, also saw a reduction.

Distracted driving most common in the afternoon

Colorado residents who wish to avoid being involved in a distracted driving accident should avoid taking trips between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., according to a study published recently by the workforce management firm Motus. After reviewing traffic accident and insurance data, the Boston-based company found that American drivers are most likely to be distracted during the afternoon hours. Researchers also came to the worrying conclusion that vehicles with distracted drivers behind the wheel cover 107 million miles each year.

The distracted driving study also suggests that the problem is getting worse due to the growing popularity of internet-connected devices like smartphones. The figures reveal that the number of traffic accidents in the US rose by 12.3 percent between 2013 and 2017 despite the introduction of sophisticated autonomous safety systems. During the same period, the percentage of Americans who own smartphones grew from 55 percent to 77 percent. The researchers also found that mobile workers may pose an especially serious threat to other road users.

Considerations for older couples who divorce

Based on national trends, more and more Colorado seniors are deciding to divorce. Since 1990, the divorce rate has tripled among spouses in the 65-and-older age group.

Researchers have speculated that this could be tied to couples struggling with the transition to the empty nest or retirement. However, studies found no correlation. Instead, older couples tend to divorce when they are no longer happy in each other's company. There are also several factors that may increase the likelihood that a couple will divorce. A woman whose parents divorced is 60 percent more likely to also get a divorce. For a man, there is a 35 percent greater likelihood. Furthermore, people in second marriages have a higher divorce rate.

Colorado negligence laws for auto accident victims

Determining who was negligent and to what degree is one of the most important steps in filing an auto accident claim. Negligence is the failure to act as a reasonable person would in a given situation, so negligent acts can result from thoughtless or careless conduct. Those who cause an accident out of negligence may not have intended to injure others, but they are still liable.

A few states, plus the District of Columbia, hold that if the plaintiff contributed in any way to the accident, he or she cannot receive damages. But Colorado, like many states, holds instead to the rule of comparative negligence. If the plaintiff's degree of fault is less than that of the defendant's, the plaintiff will be eligible for damages. The amount will be modified based on the percentage that the plaintiff was at fault. For example, if the medical expenses and other losses amount to $100,000 and the plaintiff contributed 25 percent to the accident, the defendant will be liable for $75,000.

The new tax law may figure in to the timing of your divorce

The new tax law keeps accountants, attorneys and financial consultants busy translating the impact for their clients. If your marriage is coming to an end, you should have a thorough understanding of the law that takes effect in 2019 and what it means for the timing of your divorce in terms of alimony payments.

The basics

Dangers of driving while drowsy

Drowsy driving is a pervasive problem in Colorado and around the country. It is important for people to avoid driving when they are fatigued to reduce the risk that they will cause accidents.

According to a survey taken in 2013 and republished by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 25 respondents said that they had fallen asleep while they were driving in the previous 30 days. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 800 people were killed and 44,000 were injured by drowsy drivers in 2013. The NHTSA estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 accidents in the U.S. that year. The CDC reports that the number of fatalities caused by drowsy driving is underestimated and reports that the actual number of fatalities that occur is around 6,000 per year.

Colorado one of 25 states to reform police lineup laws

The rules dealing with police lineups were changed in Colorado when Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 15-058 into law in April 2015. Traditional lineup procedures have long been criticized by civil rights advocates, and studies have discovered that honest citizens often make identifications despite being unsure because they are eager to do their part and help the police fight crime. However, it was the introduction of DNA evidence that spurred lawmakers in Colorado and 24 other states to introduce new lineup rules.

DNA evidence gives prosecutors a scientifically incontrovertible way to link an individual with a crime scene or piece of evidence, but it can also be used to prove that inmates who have sometimes spent decades in prison did not commit the crimes they were convicted of. When the Innocence Foundation studied 350 convictions that were overturned by post-conviction DNA evidence, they discovered that eyewitness misidentification was a factor 71 percent of the time.

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