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Pittsburgh Injury Law Blog

Back To School Safety Tips For Bus Riders

Back to School Safety Series

Part Two: Top Five Tips for "Bus Riders"

Big yellow busses, with their trademark black lettering on the sides, have been on the roads, shuttling children back and forth from school, for decades. Still today, school busses are a very popular mode of transportation employed by public and private school systems across the United States. They are an affordable, convenient solution for families that also cuts down on both school drop-off traffic and the amount of exhaust emissions from personal vehicles.

So, for part two of our Back-to-School Safety Series, we're giving you the top five tips for keeping your children safe while riding on the school bus.

1. Help your child get to the bus stop with plenty of time to spare before the designated pick-up time. Avoiding a rushed atmosphere will help prevent distraction and ensure that your child has time to be aware of their surroundings.

2. Encourage your child to always practice bus stop safety. Discourage horseplay at the bus stop and remind your child to stay a safe distance away from the road while they are waiting. Cell phones and mobile devices can be very distracting, so make sure if your child has one that there are guidelines for when and how they can use them.

Costs and benefits of allowing bigger trucks in Pennsylvania?

We have written before in this space about a proposal to allow trucking companies to increase the size of their big rigs. If the bill is approved, tractor-trailers could be 17 feet longer than currently allowed in Pennsylvania. That means we would have 85-foot-long rigs rolling through Pittsburgh and on interstate highways in the metro area.

One of the reasons the trucking industry is pushing the bill is that a major expansion of the Panama Canal will be completed next year, enabling enormous ships to feed goods directly to East Coast ports. Those goods will then be delivered to Midwestern states by an increasing number of 18-wheelers.

Just say 'no'

East of Pittsburgh, a judge recently chastised a man for being a permissive father who failed to say "no" to his teen daughter when she asked for his keys. The girl was behind the wheel of her dad's SUV with five young friends inside when she rolled the vehicle several times on a hill, killing three passengers.

The fatal car accident was "preventable, irresponsible, reckless, stupid, selfish," the judge said in handing the 54-year-old father a prison sentence of at least 6 1/2 years. His daughter was just 15 at the time of the 2014 crash in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.

Back To School Safety: Top 5 Tips for Walkers

Back to School Safety Series

Part One: Top Five Tips for "Walkers"

Back to school season is in full swing all across the country. School supplies are flying off the shelves. Meet-the-teacher orientations are being held. Lunches are being packed. Alarms are being set for the wee hours of the early morning.

And with the back to school season comes a whole host of situations and activities that have the potential to be hazardous to your child's safety. That's why we're starting this multi-part Back-to-School Safety Series, to help you and your family navigate the season safely and effectively.

For part one, we're giving you the top five safety tips for students who walk to school.

1. Before school starts, walk with your child to both them learn the directions and to ensure that they are using the safest route to take. Time the trip so that both you and your child know how long it should take and when you expect them to be home. Once school resumes, if you can't be there to walk with them to and/or from school everyday, ensure that they can walk with a friend or sibling. Ideally, children should never be allowed to walk home alone. Encourage the use of the buddy system, so that your child always has a "buddy" to look out for him or her. And make sure that your child knows to always travel the pre-arranged route and to never take short cuts, even if they think it's faster or if their friends are doing it.

2. Teach your child what to do in case of an emergency. If they are old enough to have a cell phone, make sure that any and all emergency numbers they might need are programmed into the phone. Remind your child to avoid talking to strangers or approaching unknown cars. Tell them that if they ever feel unsafe for any reason, to run away and find a trusted adult to help.

Driverless utopia? Not so fast

Computers don't smoke marijuana. They don't text their friends either. Nor do they get sleepy, experience road rage or go out drinking and causing car accidents. Those are some of the reasons why researchers from a variety of technology companies, carmakers, universities, governments and other entities are racing to develop driverless vehicles.

The fierceness of the competition was felt here when erstwhile partner Uber reportedly hired 40 researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. The school and ride-sharing company had been collaborating on driverless tech when cash-flush Uber apparently offered the scientists doubled salaries and six-figure bonuses to jump ship and staff the company's technology center here in Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania oil train derailment danger assessed

About 10 trains loaded with volatile oil roll across Pennsylvania each and every day. The office of Gov. Tom Wolf recently released recommendations to railroad companies to diminish the dangers of train accidents and derailment as trains rumble through Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, suburbs and rural areas.

Two rail companies in particular -- CSX and Norfolk Southern -- carry the unusually volatile Bakken shale crude through our state to have it refined in Philadelphia or elsewhere on the East Coast. As you no doubt recall, a train carrying Bakken crude derailed in Canada two years ago, killing 47 people.

Investigation: Trucker fatigue main cause of Tracy Morgan crash

Pittsburgh fans of comedian Tracy Morgan breathed a sigh of relief when the "30 Rock" star survived a truck crash a year ago. But the accident took a heavy toll: Tracy was critically injured and fellow comedian James McNair was killed.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators said truck driver fatigue was the main cause of the accident. The Walmart trucker had been awake for more than 28 hours at the time of the wreck on the New Jersey Turnpike. His big rig was going 65 mph in a 45-mph zone when it smashed into the back of the van carrying Morgan and others.

How are Social Security Disability Benefit Amounts Determined?

How Much Will My Social Security Disability (SSD) Benefit Amount Be?

Not everyone receives the same size disability check. The amount you receive is actually based on your average lifetime earnings. You may recall receiving a letter from the Social Security Administration around your birthday each year. This letter included a summary of your lifetime earnings and your estimated disability benefit, if you become disabled. Now you can get the same information online.

Pittsburgh teen bicyclist struck in hit-and-run

There are conflicting reports about what happened to a Pittsburgh teen bicyclist struck by a blue BMW a few days ago. One thing everyone agrees on, it seems, is that the driver sped off after the bicycle accident, leaving the 16-year-old boy on the street.

Pittsburgh City Paper reports that some witnesses say the car was speeding at the time of the crash. Law enforcement officials say other witnesses believe the bicyclist went through a red light on East Liberty Boulevard.

Defective brakes at fault for injuring 10-year-old, two others?

Just southwest of Pittsburgh, a 10-year-old child, a 90-year-old woman and another adult were injured when a pick-up truck crashed into an SUV, WPXI reports.

The Route 19 crash began when a woman driving a large, red Chevrolet pick-up lost her brakes while driving down a hill. She told police officers that after her brakes failed, she managed to maneuver the vehicle through a four-way intersection but then crashed into an SUV and another vehicle parked in a doctor's office lot. Her truck wound up on top of a crushed Honda SUV.

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