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Investigation reveals the unreliability of breath tests

Judges in New Jersey and Massachusetts dismissed more than 30,000 drunk driving cases in just 12 months because of unreliable breath tests according to New York Times reporters. The newspaper investigated the use of breath-testing devices by police officers, and they claim to have discovered widespread human error and lax official oversight. The report reveals that some breath test devices produced blood alcohol concentration readings that were 40% higher than they should have been. The newspaper published its findings on Nov. 3.

During the course of their investigation, New York Times reporters interviewed more than 100 attorneys, scientists, executives and police officers and scrutinized thousands of court transcripts, emails, corporate records and other documents. What they discovered suggests that the breath-testing equipment law enforcement uses use to measure blood alcohol concentrations is often defective, poorly maintained or improperly calibrated. One police department even tampered with a breath-testing machine by drilling a hole to prevent low BAC readings according to the report.

Operation Safe Driver Week nabs speeding truck drivers

Federal statistics show that driver errors contribute to approximately 94% of all traffic accidents in New Jersey and elsewhere. In order to cut down on crash-related injuries and deaths, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance sponsors Operation Safe Driver Week each year.

During the 2019 campaign, which was conducted from July 14-20, law enforcement officers across North America issued 46,752 citations to drivers of commercial and passenger vehicles. Speeding was the focus of this year's event, and officers issued 17,556 citations for exceeding the posted speed limit. Of those citations, 1,454 were issued to commercial operators, including truck drivers. Another 2,126 commercial drivers received warnings for speeding.

Massage therapists can suffer career-ending injuries at work

Massage therapists often go into their line of work because they want to help other people live their best lives. A properly administered massage can reduce someone's pain and improve their range of motion. Massage offers both relaxation and potential strengthening for the recipient, depending on how the professional masseuse administers the manual treatments.

Sadly, quite a few people who pursue massage as a career find themselves struggling with injuries as a result of their desire to help others. They may find themselves dependent on massage, physical therapy or even pain medication to continue working. Massage requires a lot of work from the arms, hands and shoulders, which can be both physically tiring and a potential source of injury.

Workers crave stability according to study

The health and safety of workers in New Jersey and throughout the nation are likely influenced by several factors. This is according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Washington. The study used data from the General Social Survey that was collected from 2002 to 2014 to come to its conclusions. It found that those who had jobs labeled as dead-end or precarious were more likely to say that they suffered from poor mental and physical health.

These individuals were also more likely to experience injuries on the job. Individuals who were gig or contract workers were also more likely to report poor mental health compared to those who had a traditional employment situation. The same was true with those who worked long hours with little flexibility to change or avoid them.

El Paso shooting victims sue Walmart for lack of security

New Jersey residents may be interested in learning about a new lawsuit regarding the mass shooting that took place in August 2019 at an El Paso Walmart Supercenter. The plaintiff is a family affected by the shooting. In the lawsuit, the family states that there was no discernible security at the Walmart location and that Walmart was negligent in not providing it.

Usually, in cases involving violent acts on another's property, the property owners, property managers and landlords cannot be held liable, but if this case ends in a favorable outcome for the family, a new precedent may be set in premises liability law. It is true that Walmart did not have security personnel on-site; prior to the shooting, it had off-duty police at all its El Paso locations but discontinued the practice sometime before the incident.

AAA urges caution as red-light runners cause more fatal crashes

Red-light runners are causing more and more fatal crashes with 35% of the fatalities being the offending drivers themselves. In 2017, there were 939 deaths in red-light running crashes: the highest it has been in 10 years, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. New Jersey residents should know that most drivers who run red lights are not so much inattentive as they are reckless and impatient.

In a recent Traffic Safety Culture Index from AAA, 85% of drivers acknowledged that running a red light is wrong. However, nearly one in three drivers admitted to running a red light at least once in the past 30 days. More than two in five drivers also said it would be unlikely for police to catch them doing it.

OSHA on lead exposure in the workplace

Lead is a metal that can be found in industries like construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and transportation. It is used in solder, plumbing fixtures, building materials, ammunition, lead-acid batteries and more. Employers in New Jersey should be aware that OSHA has set a permissible exposure limit for lead in the workplace. However, OSHA has also established an action level, at which point employers must comply with lead standards.

OSHA lead standards cover general industries, construction sites and shipyards. Employers may be wondering what lead exposure levels are like in their industry, in which case they should access OSHA's Chemical Exposure Health Database. This holds data based on the lead samples taken over five years' worth of OSHA inspections, and it gives a snapshot of lead air concentrations across different workplaces.

When do drivers face aggravated DWI charges in New Jersey?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a relatively common criminal offense in New Jersey, with people getting arrested every day across the state for driving under the influence. A portion of the individuals who wind up arrested and charged with impaired driving offenses will face aggravated DWI charges.

Aggravated offenses mean that there are complicating factors that make the offense more serious than a standard DWI charge. An aggravated DWI involves special circumstances that make it particularly dangerous. Aggravated DWI charges carry increased penalties and can have a stronger impact than standard DWI charges during a background check.

Car crash reports in all states are lacking essential fields

The National Safety Council has recently looked at the way each state reports a car crash. It turns out that none of the states allow police to give a complete picture of a crash because several essential fields are left out. The NSC points out 23 factors that can help explain the reason for a car crash. New Jersey residents should know that the top two states, Kansas and Wisconsin, only record 14 of those factors.

According to the NSC, only 34 states have a field where police can write down whether a driver was texting. The police reports in only 28 states contain a field for hands-free phone use and the use of marijuana and other drugs that are identifiable through positive drug tests. No states have a field for the use of driver assistance systems, and no states give a field or code for police to calculate drivers' fatigue levels.

OSHA on the presence of pinch points in the workplace

New Jersey residents who work around machinery probably know what pinch points, or nip points, are. These are the points where workers, or parts of their body, are in danger of coming into contact with either the moving parts of a machine or one moving part and one stationary part. These points include gears, belt drives and pulleys.

The construction and textile industries are rife with machines that contain pinch points, including metal-forming machines, conveyors, printing presses and powered doors. The OSHA standards for the construction, agricultural and maritime industries contain guidelines for protecting workers who use machinery with pinch points.

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Law Office of Jack L. Stillman, P.A.
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