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Pittsburgh Injury Law Blog

Head-on collision blamed on distracted driver

On the other end of our phones are our friends and our family. There's little wonder that we are conditioned by the sound of the phone to act; to see who is calling and to pick up. Or to see who has texted and to read what they have to say. Imagine your anguish and the chagrin of the person who called or texted right before your crash that resulted in injuries to you and to innocent strangers.

A 20-year-old Pittsburgh woman is likely experiencing some of those difficult moments after she drove her car into oncoming traffic. She sideswiped one vehicle and then slammed head-on into another. The Penn State student was busy looking at her phone and didn't realize she had driven across the street's center line, she told police after the crashes.

Back To School Safety Series Part Six: Top 5 Tips For Playground Safety

Playgrounds are a schoolyard staple. They are a crucial part of encouraging children to lead healthy and active lifestyles, while at the same time building friendships, socializing with their classmates, and giving their brains a break from class. And while playgrounds are often the backdrop for many pleasant schoolyard memories, they are also the scene of many childhood accidents. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), every year over 200,000 children go to hospital emergency rooms with playground-related injuries.

With that in mind, read through these five quick playground safety tips to help you keep your child safe on the playground.

1. Ensure that any playground equipment is safe and age-appropriate. Check to be sure that raised equipment has proper railings and that the ground is adequately cushioned. Request that a maintenance check be done during the back-to-school season. Yearly maintenance is crucial to keeping playgrounds safe for use, especially after summer weather and months of disuse may have warped, worn down, or otherwise damaged equipment.

2. Teach your child basic playground safety and etiquette. Remind them to never push or shove their classmates and to never roughhouse on playground equipment. Try to instill a mindset of "safety first" into your child, and discourage them from attempting any tricks or stunts outside of the intended purpose for the playground equipment, such as seeing how far they can jump off the swing or hanging upside down from the monkey bars.

Update on hit-and-run tragedy

Our regular readers will undoubtedly recall a post from last month about a 45-year-old Pennsylvania woman killed by a hit-and-run driver. The woman's daughters -- 18 and 20 years old -- vowed that they would not rest until the driver was found.

Police say they have found the 19-year-old driver responsible for the tragedy on Route 553, about 90 minutes east of Pittsburgh. The woman was walking along the highway with her eldest daughter when she was hit from behind by a pick-up truck, which then sped off, police said at the time. The Cherryhill Township woman left behind her two daughters, her husband and a son just 4 years old.

SUV rollover kills college student, injures six others

Seven college students were packed into an SUV on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, headed home to Penn State. The sorority and fraternity members had spent the day raising money for a college philanthropy fighting childhood cancer.

A day doing good turned horribly bad when the GMC Envoy swerved onto the highway's shoulder, rolled over and flipped upright, back onto its tires. A 19-year-old student had been ejected in the violent vehicular somersault near Charlestown Township. Not far from the now-silent and mangled vehicle, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Back To School Safety Series Part Five: Top Five Tips For Bike Riders

If your family lives relatively close to your child's school, you may have looked into alternative transportation options other than driving them to school or having them ride the bus. Riding a bike to school can be a great option, as it gives children a certain level of independence while at the same time promoting an active, healthy lifestyle.

Check out these top five safety tips to keep your child safe while they are biking to and from school.

1. Before school starts, go over with your child the route they will take to and from school each day, to make sure that it is safe and that they know it by heart. Teach them to use the "buddy system" and to not take short cuts or talk to strangers.

2. Ensure that your child knows the basic rules of the road. Oftentimes, sidewalks are not available and bikers must share the road with cars or ride in designated "bike lanes" on the roadway. Teach your child to ride single file in the bike lane and to be aware of the cars and people around them at all time. Instruct your child in the proper use of hand signals and remind them to always signal before turning.

Survey: Majority of drivers admit to texting while driving

Pennsylvania law bans texting while driving, but far too many drivers still use their handheld devices while behind the wheel. In fact, recent polling data show that an alarming number of drivers are still willing to use their smartphones for various activities while driving.

In connection with its ongoing "It Can Wait" campaign, AT&T commissioned a survey of more than 2,000 smartphone users. All of the respondents indicated that they drive at least once a day, and a disturbing 61 percent said they text and drive. But that isn't the only smartphone activity posing a risk on roadways throughout the country.

Six-year-old girl killed by speeding drunk driver

The six-year-old held pink and yellow glow sticks in her hand, waving them in the dark and smiling her first-grader smile as she stood in the driveway of a friend's house at the end of a playdate. She had lots of space available for new teeth to come in, and it seemed as if she had decades to come for events large and small. All of that changed when a car came roaring down the unlit suburban Pittsburgh road.

The young man at the wheel had driven just a half-mile from his Millvale home when he lost control of his Ford Mustang. The speeding car careened off the road, hitting a mailbox, tearing through the yard and then striking the little girl and her mom.

After fatal accident, DUI, ambulance driver out from behind wheel

The irony is thick in the case of a suburban Pittsburgh man. The duties of his job, until last week, included helping people injured by drunken drivers in car accidents and getting them safely and quickly to hospitals. The Monroeville EMT and ambulance driver is now forbidden from driving ambulances for the city after officials there became aware that the 22-year-old was charged in late August with DUI and might "quite possibly" face criminal charges in a May fatal accident.

Several Monroeville officials knew of the fatal crash, but believed no charges were going to be filed in the incident. When they recently learned that criminal accusations might be filed, and also learned of the DUI, they suspended the man's ambulance driving privileges.

Pennsylvania couple remembered fondly after fatal motorcycle accident

Sometimes people adopt driving habits that save a few seconds here and there, and work perfectly well virtually every time. They might coast through stop signs near their homes, sure that they know how often cars and pedestrians go through those intersections. Or they might give a highway a quick glance before turning onto it, certain that the road is almost always empty.

Unfortunately, those drivers are often unprepared for exceptions to what they "know." The glance isn't enough to reveal the presence of a motorcycle, for instance, and the driver pulls their large, heavy, slow-moving vehicle out onto the highway directly into the path of a motorcycle.

GM agrees to $900 million settlement to end criminal probe

General Motors is going to admit it misled the federal government about the safety of vehicles with defective ignition switches. An even tougher pill to swallow is that the automaker will admit to misleading the public about the safety of the vehicles GM tried so hard to get people to buy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the defective ignition switches are so far linked to 124 deaths across the U.S. GM also agreed to pay $900 million to end the two-year criminal investigation of its failure to disclose the potentially lethal flaw in the switches.

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