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Stopping for School Buses

Stopping for School Buses

School is back in session once again and for students, that means that the fun of summer is over. For many adults, we assume nothing changes for us when the new school year starts, however that isn’t exactly the case. With the start of school comes additional traffic around campuses, and school buses make a reappearance.

Luckily for most drivers, school buses only operate within certain time frames. This means that they are not around for most of the day. However, the times they are in operation tend to coincide with rush hour traffic to and from work. Having to stop for a school bus when late to work, or after an extra tiring day at the office, can be frustrating.

Some people assume that if they see a school bus stopped, but it is on the opposite side of the street, that they can simply ignore it and keep on their way. Other people will keep going regardless of the stopped bus and the line of cars behind or in front of it. In both instances, this is against the law.

In the state of California, all drivers are required to stop for a school bus that is displaying flashing red lights and a stop sign. Not only will ignoring a school buses stop signals earn a driver a costly ticket, it could harm a child. School buses are used to transport kids to and from school. When they stop along the road, it is either to pick kids up or let them off. This means that there are kids near an active roadway, and extreme caution should be used.

The only time a driver is allowed to ignore a stopped school bus is when it is on the opposite side of a divided roadway. This means that there is either a median or barrier separating the two different directions of traffic. Any other time a driver comes across a school bus with flashing red lights and a stop sign out, they need to stop, regardless of what side of the road they are on. Stopping will only take a moment, and will help keep everyone safe.

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Be Prepared for October 18

Be Prepared for October 18

California is pretty well known for having plenty of wildfires, and 2018 has been no exception. This year’s fire season has been one of the worst in state in history, but it was at least expected. The one plus side to wildfires, is that they follow a bit of a forecast. Here in California, wildfires become much more common during the warm months of summer and fall, making them a slightly predictable emergency.

Earthquakes, on the other hand, are just about as unpredictable as emergencies come. They can happen whenever and wherever in California, making them much scarier. Sometimes the ground will rumble, and it will be over in a second, before anyone can even register that an earthquake took place. Other ties however, things can be much worse.

Large scale earthquakes can strike without warning and level entire city blocks. This is a fact that is very common in our state’s history. Cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles have both dealt with the harsh reality of major earthquakes and seen the kind of damage that they are capable of.

Since earthquakes are a part of normal life here in California, it is important for all residents to be prepared for the worst. One good opportunity to practice would be to participate in the Great Shakeout which takes place on October 18th. The Great Shakeout is a unified way for people who live or work in earthquake prone areas to plan, practice, and prepare for an inevitable earthquake.

You may not be able to predict when an earthquake will strike and rattle your life, but you can prepare for one. Every Californian should have an emergency kit and a plan in place for what to do when an earthquake does occur. By being prepared, a person could save their life, or the life of others around them.

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LA’s Escalade-ing Car Problem

LA’s Escalade-ing Car Problem

In the continuing saga of illegal car club takeovers in Los Angeles, yet another recently took place outside a West Covina mall. Unlike previous takeovers that have blocked street intersections and crowded parking lots, this latest one ended in violence.

The takeover was orchestrated as a tribute to the late Paul Walker. For those unaware, Paul Walker was one of the stars from The Fast and the Furious movie franchise. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 40 as the result of a car crash. The takeover in questions took place on the late actor’s birthday.

The takeover began in the Plaza West Covina Mall at 11 PM. Footage found on social media shows participants attacking two mall security officers and vandalizing a mall security vehicle. Both officers have been reported to be okay, while the vehicle received thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

West Covina Police issued dozens of citations and towed around 50 vehicles, however no arrests have been made as of yet. The officers are looking into the video footage found on social media sites to try and find those responsible for the damage. The police are asking for any information about the event or people in question be shared by calling 626-939-8688.

It is important to remember that assemblies like these are often illegal, and just being an observer can get a person in trouble. Drivers at such events can face reckless driving charges or even assault with a deadly weapon if they hurt someone with their vehicle.

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Move Over or Slow Down

Move Over or Slow Down

Ask anyone, and they will tell you that driving on the freeway is not quite the same as driving on surface streets. On freeways, cars drive a lot faster and there is very little stop and go, unless of course there is a bit of traffic. Freeways are fast moving environments, and they are not the kinds of places where you want to have car trouble. Unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want.

Sometimes, cars breakdown on the freeway and leave their driver stranded alongside a very busy road. Even if these cars are off to the side on the shoulder, it can still be nerve wracking to be that close to speeding vehicles. It can also be very dangerous, which is why they have to wait for emergency help. Thousands of accidents are caused every year because drivers hit a car parked on the side of the road.

Due to this fact, many states have enacted laws with the goal of ensuring the safety of stranded motorists and emergency personnel alike. The state of California is no different. Here, it is required by law that all motorists vacate the lane immediately next to the shoulder if an emergency vehicle is stationary there displaying flashing lights, so long as it is safe to do so. If that cannot be done, then the driver needs to slow down while passing the vehicle.

What some people do not realize, is that this does not simply mean police, fire, and EMT vehicles. This law also includes tow truck drivers and Caltrans vehicles that are displaying flashing orange lights. Failing to move over can earn a person a pricey ticket.

This law is very important, and helps keep workers safe as they work alongside the road. For your safety, and the safety of all emergency personnel helping the stranded motorist.

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When 9 PM Rolls Around

When 9 PM Rolls Around

For many people, once 9 PM rolls around, they are getting ready to call it a day. However, while these people prepare for bed, there are others who are gearing up to cause some mischief. Once things get dark outside, thieves come out from hiding. Now that people have gone to bed, they can freely roam around in the shadows to take whatever they please.

In order to prevent your stuff from being stolen, many law enforcement agencies across the nation encourage people to participate in the 9 PM Routine. This is a very simple routine, that when followed every night before bed, can help you prevent your stuff from being stolen.

Unlike the name suggests, you do not have to wait until 9 PM to start the routine. You just need to make sure to do a few things before going to bed in order to protect yourself. The few things that everyone should do before going to bed include:

• Removing all valuables from vehicles stored outside.
• Locking all vehicle doors.
• Locking all doors and windows of a home.
• Turning on exterior lights.

 

By doing these few simple things, you make yourself a much harder target to steal from. Most thieves prefer easy targets in dark areas. They would rather steal a tablet clearly sitting on the seat of a vehicle than break into a locked vehicle that might have something valuable in it. By turning on exterior lights, or installing motion activated lights, a person reduces the amount of shadowy hiding places in their yard, making it harder for would-be thieves to get to them.

The 9 PM Routine is so simple and has such great results that there is no reason not to do it. Keep your stuff safe every night by following the 9 PM Routine.

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Is It Time for Last Call?

Is It Time for Last Call?

California lawmakers have recently passed a bill that if signed by Governor Jerry Brown, would allow certain cities to extend how late alcohol could be served. The bill in question is Senate Bill (SB) 905. The bill was passed at the end of August and now awaits either the Governor’s veto or signature.

The new law proposed by SB 905 would allow cities to decide when bars and other alcohol serving establishments should stop serving alcohol. Currently, bars and restaurants in California are required to have their last call at 2 AM. Under this new law, 9 cities would be able to extend their last call for a few more hours starting in 2021.

The 9 cities included in this bill are:

• Cathedral City
• Coachella
• Long Beach
• Los Angeles
• Oakland
• Palm Springs
• Sacramento
• San Francisco
• West Hollywood

 

The idea behind doing this is to allow these cities, and California as a whole, to compete with neighboring states, such as Nevada, that allow drinking into the early morning hours. By extending last call by just a few hours, these cities could end up seeing increased revenue.

However, even with the Governor’s signature, the bill would also need to be approved by California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. If that were achieved, the law would go into effect in 2021 and last for 5 years where politicians would then get to decide if they wanted to keep the law or get rid of it.

Should Cellphones be Banned by Law in Schools?

Should Cellphones be Banned by Law in Schools?

Times have definitely changed since many of us were kids. Back when most of us adults were in school, the only thing teachers had to worry about were calculators. Nowadays, students walk around with cellphones that can do infinitely more than a calculator ever could. And, we were told we wouldn’t be carrying a calculator around when we grew up.

Cellphones in schools have become quite a problem. They either distract the student from the lesson, or allow the child to sneakily look up answers on the internet. This is why most school ban cellphones, but the country of France has taken it a step further.

As schools began their new year in France, the French legislature recently signed a new law into effect. This new law basically makes it illegal for students under the age 15 to use cellphones at schools, though it is more complex than that.

The law leaves options that allow each school to change what is permitted on their campuses. Some schools may choose to say that these students cannot have phone period, while others may allow them on campus, but they have to be turned off at all times. The decision is up to each school. Before any parent grows too concerned, the new law does allow students to use their phones in the event of an emergency.

There is no denying that cellphones can be very distracting, and as much as we adults hate to admit it, they can be addicting as well. After all, how many of us feel lost without a phone in our hand or pocket? What do you think of France’s new law? Should something like that be done here in California, or do you think kids should be allowed to have their phones whenever and wherever? Let us know in the comments down below.

More Reckless Driving in Southern California

More Reckless Driving in Southern California

Reckless driving comes in many forms. Most people think of speeding and swerving through traffic, and they are not wrong. However, there are other dangerous forms of reckless driving, some of which are on the rise in Southern California. The culprits of these crimes may only be concerned with having a bit of fun, but they are breaking the law.

Yet again, another incident of reckless driving has surfaced online. This time, a group of drivers took over the parking lot at Anaheim Plaza Mall on a Sunday night. The drivers then proceeded to perform stunts, burn rubber, and essentially cause havoc in the parking lot. By the time police officers could get to the scene, the drivers had dispersed.

While these drivers were not speeding through streets or swerving through traffic, they were driving in a reckless manner. In the state of California, reckless driving is defined as driving with wanton disregard for the safety of people and property. This is exactly what the drivers in the Anaheim mall incident did.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers have been cracking down on this kind of behavior in recent months as incidents such as these become more common. A few months ago, a similar incident occurred in a South Los Angeles intersection. Videos of both incidents can be found online, and will likely aid officers in their search for the culprits of these crimes.

Should You Have Insurance?

Should You Have Insurance?

When you grow up, you start to realize all the things you weren’t taught about in school. For example insurance. All insurance, auto, house, and life, are all big giant mysteries. Don’t worry about feeling like you’re the only one who doesn’t understand how it works, a lot of people don’t. We don’t learn about it in school, so why is it even important?

Insurance provides us the means to survive an accident. Whether that’s a car accident, natural disaster, or death, insurance is there to help. The best way of explaining the general idea of insurance, is by thinking back to grade school. In school you more than likely had a best friend that you would do anything for and they would always have your back. Insurance is like your best friend who will always have your back, except with insurance you have to pay them.

If you’ve ever experienced a death in the family, you’ll understand the importance of life insurance. Life insurance is basically putting a value on someone’s life. Say there’s a married couple and the husband is the “bread winner” of the family, while the wife stays home and takes care of the kids. One day, the husband dies. The widow would be at a loss if it weren’t for her husband’s life insurance policy. His life insurance policy helps cover the funeral costs and other expenses. Some life insurance policies are big enough where the widow wouldn’t have to worry about working.

Car insurance is mandatory unless you’re sitting on a pile of gold. In California it’s not illegal to live without it. Under California law, according to Department of Motorized Vehicles, you must have financial means to cover any costs related to accidents. California law requires proof of your ability to pay or cover the costs. This essentially means that you don’t need insurance but you also have to be able to pay up to $30,000 in possible damages. Unless you have an extra $30,000 laying around, you’re probably going to need car insurance.

House/Renters insurance is a practical must if you’re not living at home anymore. It’s especially necessary when you live in a place that is earthquake prone. While the state of California doesn’t require homeowners insurance, or renters insurance, you’re probably still required to have it by someone. Your bank who you financed your home may require it. Your landlord may require it. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have either. You’ll be surprised at what home/renters insurance could include.

If you feel overwhelmed by it all, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Just remember that whenever you don’t understand an insurance policy, ask the insurance provider for more information. Understanding what is covered, who is covered, and how they’re covered can make being an adult much easier.

California Limits Plastic Straws

California Limits Plastic Straws

A few years ago, the citizens of California voted to ban single-use plastic straws. At the time, the change was very controversial with many opponents of the bill upset at the loss of the flimsy plastic items. However, as time moved on, people adapted and got used to the new change. The success of this law, helped convince some Californians that similar laws should be enacted as well.

Recently, the California state legislature passed a new bill that would prohibit full-service, dine-in restaurants from distributing plastic straws unless the patron requests the item. The hope is that by doing this, it will reduce the amount of plastic straws that are used once, and then tossed away. Single-use plastic utensils like this are bad for the environment since they are only used for a short amount of time, but last for several decades in landfills and oceans.

It is important to note that this is not an all-out ban on plastic straws, like many opponents of the bill claim it is. Customers will still be able to get plastic straws in restaurants, they will simply need to ask for straws. The hope is that this will get people used to the idea of not having straws. This could also help encourage new, environmentally friendly straws to be used instead of their plastic counterparts.

The bill based with a 45-20 vote in the State Assembly and now awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature for final approval. While this bill may seem like a big deal now, just remember when the plastic bag ban was first enacted. Many people were up in arms over that law, but we got used to the change. The same could happen with this law as well.