Is Raising Speed Limits a Good Idea?

Is Raising Speed Limits a Good Idea?

Is Raising Speed Limits a Good Idea?

Speed limits are something that drivers deal with every single time they get behind the wheel of their vehicle. Some drivers follow the posted speed limits, while others prefer to view them as suggestions. It is not uncommon in California for a driver to be going the speed limit on freeways and get dirty looks, amongst other things, from other drivers for doing so.

These speeding drivers would probably prefer to have the speed limits on the roads raised so they could drive faster without having to worry about getting a ticket. However, doing so may not provide the answer they are looking for. The state of Michigan recently increased the speed limits on rural sections of freeway. So far, this has led to an increase in problems.

Raising the Speed Limit Can Lead to More Accidents

Back in 2017, Michigan voters chose to raise the speed limits along over 600 miles of rural freeways up 5 mph from 70 mph to 75 mph. This new speed limit wasn’t that much faster than the previous one, and it was only applied to sections of roadway that were deemed safe enough for that rate of travel. Unfortunately, this slight increase in speed has resulted in more accidents and more injuries.

A traffic study for the year of 2018, the first full year in which the new speed limits were posted, found that the roads with the higher speed limits saw a 17.2% increase in car crashes. This is compared with the rest of the state, which only had a 3.4% increase in crashes. Due to this increase in crashes, there has also been a rise in injuries. Roads with the raised limits saw an 18.9% rise in injuries due to accidents while the entire of the state only saw a 0.9% increase.

The study also found that the average speeds on these roads were around 75 mph. However, roughly 40% of drivers were driving over 80 mph, which is up 30% from 2016.

The roads that received the higher speed limits were selected because they were deemed the safest for those speeds, and yet they have seen a drastic increase in accidents and injuries.

It is well documented throughout many studies that increased speeds of travel lead to more accidents and more deadly accidents. However, this is only one year’s worth of data and other states who have raised speed limits have also seen mixed statistics. Some states didn’t see large spikes in accidents while others did. In many instances, it depended on the weather that year and how many drivers were on the road.

California Speeding Law

Due to the increased risk of getting into a car accident at higher speeds, California has set most of its speed limits at 65 mph with a few rural freeways getting up to 70 mph. Still, people driving at 80 mph is not uncommon here in the state. If these reckless drivers are caught they will receive a speeding ticket.

Under Vehicle Code (VC) 22350, a person caught speeding will receive a ticket, can have their license suspended, receive points on their driving record, and be held responsible for any accidents caused by their speeding. The cost of the ticket depends on how fast the driver was going. If the total speed is under 100 mph, the driver will face:

  • $35 for 1 to 15 mph over the limit.
  • $70 for 16 to 25 mph over the limit.
  • $100 for 26 mph and higher over the limit.

If the total speed is over 100 mph, then the driver will face:

  • $500 for a first offense and a 30 day license suspension.
  • $750 for a second offense in 3 years and a 6 month license suspension.
  • $1,000 for a third offense in 5 years and a 1 year license suspension.

Speeding Is Dangerous

Basic physics shows how the faster an object is moving, the harder it is to stop. This is why when cars crash at higher speeds, the wrecks are more destructive and deadly. Speeding is dangerous. Speed limits for roadways are carefully considered before they are posted. Drivers should follow those limits in order to reduce the chances of getting into a bad accident.

Aside from just getting into a bad accident, the act of speeding can earn a person a ticket and make it so they are held responsible for the accident. This means they could be stuck paying for any damages caused and any medical bills that might need to be covered.

What do you think about the state of Michigan’s decision to raise speed limits on some roads by 5 mph? Will it only cause more trouble, or will things level off after drivers get used to the new speeds? What about California’s take on speed limits and speeding? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Should Minors Be Banned By Law from Having a Cellphone?

Should Minors Be Banned By Law from Having a Cellphone?

Should Minors Be Banned By Law from Having a Cellphone?

Technology has become such an integral part of everyone’s day to day lives. Most people use some form of smart technology every single day of their life from computers to cellphones. Most adults are well aware of how amazing and helpful this kind of technology is after spending their childhoods without it. This causes many adults to say the age old adage: Kids today don’t know how good they’ve got it.

In a way, this is very true. Kids today don’t have to go to libraries and rent books to write a paper thanks to the internet. They don’t have to go to the local video rental store to pick out a movie to watch. They don’t even have to rewind their movies when they’re done! The internet also makes it possible for kids to constantly stay connected with their friends and peers. Sadly, this last benefit does seem to be a bit problematic.

Social media can be nice, but it can also be addicting and detrimental to a person’s mental health. This is especially true for kids, which is why one lawmaker in Vermont has proposed a hange how minors use cellphones.

The Problem with Cellphones

Cellphones grant a person access to the internet, and therefore the world, whenever they want it. This can be very beneficial in some instances and troublesome in others. For instance, cellphones can be very distracting while driving. If a driver looks at a phone while behind the wheel, they are paying less attention to the road in front of them. This makes it more likely for them to cause an accident with deadly consequences. This is especially true for teens who are more easily distracted.

Another issue with cellphones is that not only do they give a person constant access to the world, they also give the world constant access to the person. Thanks to social media and phone notifications, it can be hard for a person to get away from some people for a while without abandoning the phone altogether for a few hours. This is hard enough for an adult to do, since social media is addicting. Just think of how hard it is for kids to put down their phones.

When kids don’t put down their phones, they can get bombarded by messages from friends and peers at school. Sometimes, these messages aren’t nice or friendly at all. Sadly, there have been many cases where bullying at school has followed a child home through their phone and pushed that kid to the brink where they make a decision they can never come back from.

A Vermont Senator’s Response

In an effort to reduce teen driving accidents and suicides caused by cellphone usage, one Vermont lawmaker, Senator John Rodgers, has introduced a bill that would restrict cellphone usage amongst minors. The bill states that people under the age of 21 are not mature enough to own guns, smoke cigarettes, and drink alcohol so they are also not mature enough to own and use cellphones.

The major talking point about this bill is how online bullying through social media, which can be accessed on cellphones, can lead to suicide. Apparently, in Vermont the legislature has recently been talking about suicide prevention and how best to protect and provide aide to people who need it.

Sen. Rodgers stated that he doesn’t expect the bill to get passed and that he probably wouldn’t vote for it himself. As a supporter of the Second Amendment, he seems to have presented the bill more as a way of showing how cellphones can be more dangerous than guns.

Should Minors Have Cellphones?

It is hard to deny how addicting cellphones can be. Even as adults who might have grown up without cellphones or social media, it can sometimes be hard to log out or put the device down. The sad thing is that adults have more self-control than minors, and so what is addicting for us is very addicting for minors. This is why kids are often glued to their phones.

This kind of behavior can be problematic for minors by exposing them to a whole lot of negative things that they may not be ready to deal with on their own. This is why parents need to be aware of what their children are doing online. They also need to make sure that their kids know that they can always come and talk to them about anything. Failing to do so could have disastrous results that no parent should ever have to deal with.

What do you think of this proposed bill in Vermont? Is it a good idea to prevent minors, anyone under 21, from having a cellphone, or is it a terrible and impractical one? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Tips for Avoiding Scams Online

Tips for Avoiding Scams Online

Tips for Avoiding Scams Online

Most people just want to go about their lives without a worry. They just want to go to work, earn a living, and have enough money to have some fun. Nowadays, a lot of people prefer to have their fun and spend their money online. For the most part this is a safe thing to do, however there are times when things can become problematic.

Just like there are good people, there are bad people too. There are people out there who would rather take advantage of other people’s hard work rather than earn an honest living themselves. These people will run any scam they can think of if it can benefit them. Anyone looking to avoid getting conned needs to know how to recognize scams when they pop up.

How to Spot Scams

Online scams come in all shapes and sizes, however the goals are ultimately the same: to con someone into giving up something of value. Sometimes the valuable item is money, other times it is personal information. The money is obvious, the personal information allows a crook to steal the victim’s identity. Once they have done that, they can open credit cards and other financial accounts in the victim’s name, spend the money, and leave the victim with the bill.

Obviously, this is the kind of thing that people want to avoid. Unfortunately, since there are so many different scams out there, with new ones springing up every day, it is impossible to know all of them. This means that the best way to avoid a scam is to learn how to identify the warning signs. Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Always check the website’s address. Before ever putting any personal information into a website, be sure that the address is proceeded by ‘https.’ The ‘s’ is important because it means the site is secure. Most modern browsers also add a padlock symbol in the address bar next to secure sites.
  • Always hang up on robocalls. Report the number that called to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) since these kinds of calls are illegal. Trying to go through the call to get a number removed from the calling list could end up leading to more calls in the future.
  • Always research the company or organization in question. If a person has questions about a certain company and aren’t quite sure if it is legitimate, they should research it. If it is a scam, it will likely have a lot of bad reviews online.
  • Avoid shady links in emails or on social media posts. Scammers like it when people go to their websites, because their sites can let them look into the victim’s computer and gather personal information. They may also have forms to fill out for a service or purchase, but they just use it collect personal information.
  • Contact the company or organization yourself. If a person still has questions about a company, they should contact it manually either through calling the number or messaging the email found on the official website.
  • Don’t blindly trust caller or email ID. Nowadays scammers have the ability to hide their identity and can trick caller ID or email ID into displaying a false name or number.
  • Don’t give into odd payment demands. Scammers like to be paid in ways that make it hard to track the money, such as prepaid cards, gift cards, and money transfers. No honest company or government agency would demand payment with these methods.
  • Don’t pay for things upfront. This is especially true for any kind of prize won. Any legitimate contest would never have someone pay some money or give personal information to claim the prize.

Don’t Fall for It

There may be a lot of scammers out there with thousands of scam, but luckily they all have warning signs that a person can spot, so long as they know what to look for. Plenty of people online have learned how to recognize scams and are now sharing that information with everyone else online.

Have you ever come across a scam, or been a victim of one? Do you have any tips for avoiding scams that didn’t make it on to this list? If so, share your story and the tips below to help others avoid scams in the future.

What Are the Consequences of Hit and Run?

What Are the Consequences of Hit and Run?

What Are the Consequences of Hit and Run?

The last thing that anyone wants to happen while driving is getting into an accident. Not only are accidents very dangerous to a person’s health and safety, they can be very costly as well. Whoever is at fault, or responsible for, the accident can end up paying a whole lot of money in damages and reparations. Due to this, a lot of people are afraid to get into an accident, which has led to problems.

Some people are so afraid of getting into trouble for causing an accident, that they will flee the scene of an accident. This is called hit and run and it is very illegal. When a person is involved in a car accident, they are expected to stay at the scene and do everything that they can to help anyone who may be hurt. Failing to do so can result in severe consequences for the person that ran.

What Is Hit and Run in California?

In the state of California, the crime of hit and run is laid out under two laws, Vehicle Code (VC) 20001 and VC 20002. VC 20001 focuses on when people are injured or killed while VC 20002 focuses on when property is damaged. Under these laws, a driver is required to stop their vehicle and administer aid whenever they are involved in a car accident that causes property damage or injury.

This means that after an accident, any driver who was involved in it must stop as soon as reasonably possible. They then must apply aid to any injured persons. They are also required provide personal and contact information to the owners of any damaged property, to any injured person, or to any law enforcement agents on the scene. Lastly, they need to notify emergency services as soon as possible.

If a driver fails to do any of this, they could be charged with hit and run, even if they stopped and administered aid. A person could also be accused of committing hit and run for hitting a parked car and not leaving any contact information for the owner.

Hit and Run Consequences

When a person commits hit and run, they become guilty, whether or not they were actually responsible for causing the accident. This means that running from the scene of the accident can make things a whole lot worse than just staying at the scene and applying aid where needed.

Under VC 20002, the consequences of hit and run that results in property damage is a misdemeanor offense. It comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

Under VC 20001, hit and run that results in injury or death is a wobbler offense, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case. When charged as a misdemeanor, a person faces:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • A fine from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

A felony charge can come with:

  • Up to 4 years in jail.
  • A fine from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

What to Do If You Witness a Hit and Run

When people witness an accident, especially a hit and run, they may feel compelled to chase after the fleeing vehicle. However, the larger priority is to take care of the victims of the accident. They could be severely hurt and their health and wellbeing is the priority.

After witnessing a hit and run, immediately call 911 and try to provide as much information about the fleeing vehicle as possible to the operator. This includes things like:

  • The license plate number.
  • The vehicle’s make and model.
  • Description of the damage on the vehicle.
  • Which direction the vehicle fled.
  • Location, time, and cause of the accident.

The police can use this information to track down the suspect on their own.

Don’t Run from an Accident

Getting into an accident can be terrifying, and most people would prefer to not deal with scary things. However, running from the scene of an accident instantly makes a person guilty. Fleeing the scene makes things a whole lot worse for a person, which is why it is best to stay and do everything to help out after an accident.

What do you think of California’s laws on hit and run? Are they too strict or not harsh enough?

Beware of the IRS Mail Scam Going Around

Beware of the IRS Mail Scam Going Around

Beware of the IRS Mail Scam Going Around

Most people are just trying to live their life. They don’t want any trouble and do everything that they can to avoid it. Whenever some government official or law enforcement officer tells them to do something, they do it, often without question. Every law abiding citizen does that. Unfortunately, even that can get a person into trouble if they are not careful.

Sadly, there are people out there who don’t exactly follow the rules, and they like to cause trouble. Their favorite people to target are the ones who are afraid of causing trouble. These bad people create scams that trick good people into giving them money or risk getting into trouble with the law.

If people want to avoid something like this, then they need to be aware of all of the different scams out there and how scammers like to operate.

IRS Mail Scam

A common scam, especially around tax season, is for scammers to send letters to potential victims. The letters arrive via the United States Postal Service (USPS), which is one of the primary forms of communication that the IRS actually uses. This adds a layer of believability to the scam. The phony letters almost perfectly replicate Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms stating that the person is behind on some type of payment or something of that nature.

The letters will often state that a discrepancy was found on the victims tax returns and that they owe the IRS some amount of money. One obvious red flag that people should be aware of when it comes to scams is that the scammer will try to intimidate the victim. This can be done in a number of ways, but often involves threatening to arrest the individual or getting the police involved. The IRS would never do that.

Another warning sign involves how they ask for payments. Often times, the scammers will request money be paid immediately and in certain, untraceable ways. This way, once they have the money, there is nothing the victim can do about it. Some preferred methods include:

  • Prepaid cards
  • Gift cards
  • Money transfers

The IRS would never demand money immediately, and they definitely wouldn’t accept these kinds of payments. Anyone asking or demanding for this kind of payment is clearly a scammer.

The Best Way to Be Sure

Probably one of the best ways to check on whether or not something claiming to be from the IRS is a scam is to just contact the IRS. If a person receives a letter in the mail stating there was a discrepancy on their tax returns and they are unsure of the authenticity of the letter, then they should call the IRS.

Finding contact information for the agency is as easy as going to their website: IRS.gov. A person can then call up and talk to someone who actually knows something in order to confirm whether or not the letter is real.

Contacting the IRS may not be the most fun thing in the world to do, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t Get Scammed

No hard working individual ever wants to scammed out of their money, but they also don’t want to get into any trouble with law enforcement. That fear of getting into trouble is what scammers feed off of. They want to scare their victims into acting without thinking things through enough to see the cracks in their scam. This is why it is always best for a person to take a step back and think things through. Doing so could easily help a person see the scam for what it is.

Have you received a letter claiming to be from the IRS that states you owe money on your taxes? If so, be sure to really examine that letter, and talk to the actual IRS to confirm the letter’s authenticity to avoid being conned.

Is It Legal to Drive With an Animal on Your Lap?

Is It Legal to Drive With an Animal on Your Lap?

Is It Legal to Drive With an Animal on Your Lap?

Pretty much every pet owner out there has a furry companion that they would do everything they can for. Some pet owners love their critters so much that they take them everywhere they go. This seems like a harmless and fun way for a person to spend time with their beloved companion, however it can be dangerous and even illegal in some states.

Laws from Across the Country

Across the nation, different states have different rules about how pets can be transported in cars. This can make driving through different states with a furry companion that much harder. Any driver looking to take their pet somewhere, especially on road trips, needs to be aware of these laws. If they aren’t, they could inadvertently end up in trouble with the law.

Some states, such as Hawaii and Arizona, have specific laws that make it illegal to drive with a pet in the person’s lap or in the driver’s immediate vicinity. Other states such as Maine and Connecticut can use their state’s distracted driving laws against drivers with pets on their lap.

The state of New Jersey takes things a step further. In this state, officers can stop any driver who improperly transports an animal, such as driving with the animal in their lap, and charge the person with animal cruelty. A person found guilty of this can face fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 dollars and can even face up to 6 months of jail time.

California Law

Here in California, the laws surrounding the transportation of animals are surprisingly lax. The state only has one law regarding the transportation of animals in vehicles, and it applies to pick-up trucks.

Vehicle Code (VC) 23117 states that no driver should transport an animal in the back of a vehicle in a space intended for any load unless the space is enclosed or has side and tail racks that are at least 46 inches high, has installed means of preventing the animal from getting out, or the animal is in a cage.

Basically, this means an animal can’t be carried in the bed of a truck unless the sides of the truck are higher than 46 inches, the animal is tied to the bed of the truck, or the animal is in a cage of some sort. This means that as long as an animal is in an enclosed space, such as the interior of the car, they are being transported safely and correctly.

This law does not apply to the transportation of livestock or the transportation of a ranch dog for ranching/farming purposes.

The consequences of breaking this law for the first time come with a fine ranging from $50 to $100. A second or any subsequent offense within a year will earn a person a fine ranging from $75 to $200.

Why These Laws Exist

The important fact to remember is that these laws exist for safety reasons. Transporting the animal safely keeps not only the critter safe, but the driver as well. A pet owner wants to make sure that in the event of an accident, their companion stays safe. This means keeping it safe and secure in the vehicle.

On top of the pet’s safety, there is the driver’s safety to consider as well. Everyone knows how dangerous distracted driving can be. What people may not realize is just how many things can be considered distracted driving besides using cellphones. Having to deal with a pet, especially one that is on the driver’s lap, can be very distracting. If the driver becomes too engrossed in whatever their pet is doing in their car, they could cause an accident.

What do you think of all of these different takes on laws surrounding the transportation of animals? Which state has your favorite law and which one takes things too far? Does California need to update its own animal transportation and distracted driving laws? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.