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Connecticut's drunk driving fatalities

Across the nation and in Connecticut, many agencies and advocacy groups have worked tirelessly to increase awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. Unfortunately, it seems that far too many people in Connecticut refuse to pay attention or heed these warnings. Instead, they make selfish and reckless choices that result in tragedy for others. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the state's drunk driving fatalities comprise a much heftier percentage of overall traffic fatalities than the national average.

In 2017, an average of 29% of all accident fatalities in the U.S. were attributed to alcohol. In Connecticut, 43% of all traffic deaths involved alcohol. That year, 120 people in Connecticut died at the hands of drunk drivers, out of a total 278 fatalities due to all factors. Looking back over the previous four years, impaired drivers claimed anywhere from 37% to 44% of all lives lost in traffic accidents. Again, this far exceeds the national averages which ranged between 29% and 31%.

What expenditures are acceptable with child support?

You are likely to feel conflicting emotions when you begin receiving child support. The relief of getting financial assistance in caring for your children can war with uncertainty over how to spend the money. You may also have questions that are not uncommon to Connecticut residents in the same situation. Can my ex tell me how to spend the money or demand receipts? Will the court monitor my child support spending?

These valid concerns deserve answers. Fortunately, as FindLaw explains, your ex-spouse will not be permitted to dictate your child support spending or to see receipts. The family law court will also not keep tabs on your spending. However, you may wish for some guidance on what is considered appropriate child support spending.

Key aspects of a Connecticut parenting plan

Going through a divorce can be difficult for anyone to endure. For parents, the process can be more difficult, especially when considering the care of their children.

For this reason, the courts require parents to put a parenting plan in place. A few key aspects can aid in creating a proper parenting plan when going through a divorce.

Understanding space heater safety this winter

When the weather turns cold and the chill of your feet on your bathroom floor does more to wake you up than your morning cup of coffee, you may see your space heater as your favorite appliance this winter. However, as we at the law office of Harris, Harris & Schmid know, space heaters can pose significant dangers for people in Connecticut and elsewhere. Does this mean you should throw away your space heater or decide not to buy one this season? Of course not – but you should understand how to properly use this appliance, as well as how to check for potential hazards.

Space heaters are a significant cause of home fires in the winter, as well as the cause of four-fifths of all deaths related to heating equipment, according to the DIY Network. Some fires and electrocutions are caused by faulty or damaged appliances. Others occur due to improper use. Therefore, you should take note of the following precautions when using your space heater:

  • Always turn the heater off and unplug it before you leave the room.
  • Never allow children and pets to be unsupervised near a running space heater.
  • Place the heater on a flat surface and at least three feet away from combustibles, such as furniture and curtains.
  • Never use an extension cord or run the electrical cord under a rug.

Reducing distracted driving among teens

Distracted driving is a frequent cause of accidents in Connecticut and across the country. Teen drivers seem to be especially prone to distraction from cell phones and other electronic devices. Public awareness materials and driver's education courses may help teens understand the risks of distracted driving. Parents may also be able to help by demonstrating safe driving practices, including not using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Connecticut has certain restrictions designed to reduce the frequency of distracted driving among teens.

According to materials from the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is a frequent cause of fatal accidents. In 2017, there were 3,166 people who died in car accidents involving distracted drivers. Distracted behavior, especially texting, is very common among younger drivers. Data from the NHTSA indicates that people between the ages of 16 and 24 use handheld electronics while driving more often than drivers in older age groups.

Are breath tests a reliable source of evidence?

If you have ever been pulled over by a Connecticut law enforcement officer on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may have been asked to take a breath test. Breath test devices are often used by law enforcement officers to measure a driver’s blood alcohol content level and ensure they are not over the legal limit of 0.08. Yet, in some cases, the readings from these breath test devices may not be accurate and could lead to a wrongful DUI arrest and charges. 

Researchers from the State University of New York at Potsdam found that breath test devices measure more than simply the amount of alcohol in an exhaled breath sample. The device also picks up substances that have a similar molecular structure. Furthermore, there are substances in the environment that can skew the results as well. In fact, breath test readings can vary by as much as 15% when compared to the BAC found from an actual blood test. This means that at least one in four people who take the test will show inflated readings

What is the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine?

If you face criminal charges in Connecticut, you should familiarize yourself with the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. Why? Because this long held legal doctrine may come into play in your case and become the reason why the prosecutor may dismiss the charges against you.

LawTeacher.net explains that back in 1939, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurtur coined the term “fruit of the poisonous tree” when writing for the majority in the landmark case of Nardone v. United.

What distinguishes missed diagnosis from misdiagnosis?

We trust our doctors to inform us if we have a medical problem. Unfortunately, we may not always get the correct information about our health. Some Connecticut patients are given a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis. These are not the same, yet they both inaccurately describe a person’s condition and could lead to tragic consequences. Very Well Health distinguishes the two from each other and explains how they work.

When it comes to a misdiagnosis, a patient is diagnosed with a disease or some other health condition. The problem is that the diagnosis is incorrect. A doctor may tell a patient that they suffer from a case of the flu, but in reality the patient possesses something else, a condition that requires more extensive treatment to properly recover from.

Seeing a doctor is essential even after a minor collision

Perhaps you are waiting for the light to change when another driver plows into the back of your car. The rear-end collision happens at low speed, but you still suffer quite a jolt.

Apparently, you are uninjured. You check on the damage to your car, exchange insurance information with the other driver and consider heading on home—but should you stop to see a doctor on the way?

Hands-free cellphones pose a risk for drivers

Drivers in Connecticut, and in many other states across the nation, are prohibited from using a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel. These laws were put in place in an attempt to minimize the number of people who are seriously injured and killed in distracted driving car accidents each year in the U.S. Hands-free cellphones, however, are not prohibited and drivers can legally use these devices as they navigate around city streets. The problem lies in the fact that even hands-free cellphones may not be safe for drivers to use, as they cause a significant amount of cognitive distraction. 

Cognitive distraction occurs when motorists are focused on something other than driving. According to the National Safety Council, the brain cannot focus on two tasks at the same time. It jumps back and forth between tasks, and this leaves moments where the driver is not concentrating on driving at all. This may cause drivers to run red lights, disobey traffic signs, neglect pedestrian crosswalks and fail to notice objects in the road. 

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