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Manalapan New Jersey Legal Blog

An overview of risky jobs for Americans

According to the 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, logging is the most dangerous job in America. New Jersey residents may also face a higher risk of an on-the-job fatality if they work as roofers or iron or steel workers. Loggers had a fatal injury rate of 135.9 per every 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. This list was published in late 2017 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Truck and sales drivers were also on the list, and this is because 40 percent of all worker fatalities in 2016 were caused by transportation accidents. In addition to truck drivers, many farmers and groundskeepers were also killed in such accidents. However, the No. 2 spot on the list of most dangerous jobs in America was held by the fishing industry. They had a fatality rate of 86 per 100,000 FTE workers.

Studies continue to link new tech to distracted driving

Most drivers in New Jersey don't doubt that technology is distracting more and more people behind the wheel. The U.S. Department of Transportation has noted a 10 percent rise in car crash fatality rates from 2014 to 2017, and this could be traced to the increased use of smartphones and in-car infotainment systems. A recent AAA analysis showed just how distracting both can be.

In this analysis, researchers from the University of Utah had 64 participants drive in five different vehicles and use the built-in infotainment system. At other points, the drivers were asked to use Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, interfaces that run off a smartphone. The infotainment systems turned out to be more distracting. The interfaces were not perfect, either, and they demanded more or less attention based on the function being used.

An overview of New Jersey DUI laws

The state of New Jersey imposes many different penalties against those who drive while impaired on drugs or alcohol. Those who are under the age of 21 may lose their license for up to 90 days and be ordered to complete up to 30 days of community service. They may also be required to participate in an alcohol education course. State law says that minors may not have a blood alcohol content of more than .01 percent.

Drivers who are 21 and over may not drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. However, it is possible for drivers with a blood alcohol content at or below the legal limit to be charged with DUI if an officer sees signs of impairment. A first offense carries a fine of up to $400 and an auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years. A second offense comes with a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.

Determining landlord liability in wrongful death cases

If an individual is injured or killed while on someone else's property in New Jersey, the owner of the property could be held liable for damages in a premises liability lawsuit. Based on this theory, the parents of an 18-year-old who died after consuming ketamine filed a suit against the owner of the North Dakota home where the substance was consumed. They argue that the landlord should have exercised greater control over the house and those who lived there.

The lawsuit specifically states that the homeowner could have warned guests that one of the occupants engaged in drug activity. However, an individual should also be aware that using drugs is a dangerous activity. It's possible that the homeowner could have called police or taken other steps to intervene to stop drugs from being brought onto the property. It's important to note that it's uncertain whether the home was actually leased to the individual who was said to have engaged in drug activity.

Let these ladder safety tips keep you safe on the job

Depending on your profession, it's not out of the question for you to use a ladder on an almost daily basis. For example, construction workers, maintenance workers and painters all use ladders to better do their jobs.

While there are many benefits of using a ladder, such as easy access to roofs and other high points, you need to remember one thing: An accident can result in serious injury or death.

Wearable tech can identify hazards, prevent worker injuries

Workers in New Jersey, especially those in the construction and manufacturing industries, are at a high risk for sustaining on-the-job injuries. Every industry has its hazards, both foreseeable and unforeseeable, so it's important for employers and workplace safety managers to do all they can to prevent accidents. Worldwide, such accidents lead to over 1,000 deaths every day and 500 injuries every minute.

In the effort to help employers and workplace safety managers prevent accidents, a software startup based in Iowa has developed wearable technology for workers. Its name is MākuSafe, and it has developed, in particular, a wearable band that records environmental and motion data and transmits it to a cloud platform. The data ranges from lighting and temperature changes to near misses and hazardous situations. Once the data is transmitted, special software makes it consumable for safety managers.

Driving while drowsy can lead to accidents

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is providing information on the risk of fatigue and sleeplessness in the ride-sharing industry. Individuals in New Jersey who work in the ride-sharing industry may find themselves working during the night or working after they've already worked a full shift at another job. This, coupled with the driver's circadian rhythm being thrown off, may put them at greater risk for exhaustion and fatigue.

The reason why this is seen as a public health issue is because drivers are often motivated to stay on the road long past their safety limits. Since drivers working with ride-sharing companies are considered independent contractors, they do not need to go through the same screening process as others in the transportation industry.

Can you refuse a breath test in New Jersey?

A police car flips on its lights behind you, and you pull over. The officer comes up to talk with you, saying that you ran a stop sign. You say that you never saw it.

It's close to midnight, and it's dark out. Even so, the officer asks you to take a breath test, saying that missing the sign entirely could be a signal that you are intoxicated.

Study casts doubt on hands-free safety benefits

Drivers in New Jersey and around the country are routinely warned about the dangers of using their cellphones while behind the wheel, and hands-free or wearable devices are often suggested as a safer alternative for motorists who absolutely must stay in touch while on the move. However, a study from a research team at The University of Texas suggests that even hands-free devices that are operated by voice commands may be just as distracting to drivers as normal cellphones.

The researchers gave 20 student volunteers a standard cellphone and a Google Glass device and placed them in a driving simulator equipped with three display screens, a steering wheel and pedals. They then used the two devices to send and respond to text messages. The researchers were originally noticed that the students drove more safely when using the Google Glass device, but these benefits were short-lived.

Construction work can be dangerous

Some New Jersey construction workers may be concerned about the threat posed by workplace accidents and injuries. Because construction projects often deal with partially completed structures, deep trenches and heavy equipment, on-the-job injuries can be severe and life-threatening. They can lead to lifelong disabilities or hinder a worker's ability to do their job in the future.

Across the country, construction accident fatalities rose 26 percent between 2011 and 2015, despite advances in technology. Some types of fatal injuries rose even more rapidly. For example, workers killed by being caught inside or between equipment and objects rose by 33 percent between the same years.

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Law Office of Jack L. Stillman, P.A.
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Manalapan, NJ 07726

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