Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Forget J, What Would YOU Do?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Today, Intern Rebecca poses these questions:

Last week in Tennesse, Jessie Wright noticed his wife exhibiting possible signs of stroke. Wright hopped in his car, turned on his emergency lights, and liberally used his horn to race his wife to the hospital.

>Mrs. Wright has a history of illness, most notably losing her leg to cancer. Such a traumatic injury would of course cause the man who loves her to worry with the smallest sign of illness. As Jessie sped through yellow and red lights, he was followed by Officer James Daves, who ultimately confronted Daves as he was carrying his wife through the ER doors.

I’m pretty sure there’s a sight test involved with being a cop, so couldn’t Daves see Wrights hands were a little too tied for handcuffs at the time?

Clearly not, as Daves arrested Wright on the spot. He was also upset that no matter what he said, Wright was more concerned with his wife’s health. (So many women should be so lucky.)

After spending the night with his wife in the hospital, Wright was brought to jail, charged with seven felonies, and released on $7,500 bail – not to mention the hospital bills.

Perhaps Write broke some traffic laws, but wouldn’t the biggest crime of all be killing his wife? And isn’t Daves the one really at fault in this situation, for putting Mrs. Wright’s health in further danger?

A Swing… and a Miss(tress)!

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Granted I have no idea what really happened, but here’s my theory: after his hugely pissed wife learned she’d been cuckolded, Tiger Woods fled his home early Friday morning to get away from his golf club-wielding spouse, got into his car, and, suffering from a blow to the head, backed into a fire hydrant in his SUV.

Now here’s Amy’s legal take on the whole brouhaha:

Big Sister, Meet Big Brother

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
Rise of the Machines

Rise of the Machines

I recently had a rather unfortunate run in with a stoplight mounted video surveillance camera. Fortunately I didn’t literally run in to it, but the creepy invasion of privacy machine did happen to photograph me making a left turn at what I contend was a yellowish light.

Though I won’t go so far as to pose the “if a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it does it make a sound?” defense concerning criminal activity, I still think there’s something wrong with getting a ticket in the mail for allegedly breaking the law when there was no human around to judge if there may have been mitigating circumstances. (For instance maybe my car was already in the middle of the intersection and I needed to turn, or maybe I really had to get to a bathroom ASAP and I needed to make the light lest I have a really ugly accident.)

In fact, the state of Mississippi ruled that these “red light cameras” (which in Amsterdam have an entirely different connotation) needed to be removed because there were so many challenges to their accuracy and they tended to cause an increase in rear end collisions (my two points EXACTLY.)

But, just last week, the city council of Tiburon, a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, approved a measure to install these surveillance cameras on its streets to record the license plate number of every car entering and leaving Tiburon.

Tiburon Police Chief Michael Cronin justified the measure by saying he thinks keeping track of every vehicle will help keep the community safer because, according to the article in the SFGate, “Plates will be compared to databases of stolen or wanted cars, with matches triggering an immediate alert to local officers.”
Not surprisingly, this new law is making privacy advocates bananas. They think it’s a creeping invasion of our rights, and a downright scary use of public funds. But some residents, like 64 y.o. Yami Anolik, think it’s a great idea and believes privacy advocates should stuff it: “If you’re driving on a public road, you gave up your privacy already. If you want to be private, stay at home.”
Though in the eyes of the law Anolik is correct — if you’re out in public, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy — in my eyes this is not cool, and I’m not just saying that because I had to pay the state of New York $50 to get to the bathroom faster that fateful night.

Spitting MADD

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Seems to me that there are a few things everyone can agree on, regardless of where you find yourself on the political spectrum: it’s better if the sun is shining on your birthday than if it’s raining, it’s hard not to smile when you see a baby panda sneeze, drunk driving is terrible and NY Governor David Patterson is a phenomenally poor politician.

However, Patterson recently did something that most will agree is a good thing: he just signed Leandra’s Law, a law that makes it a felony to drive while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle. The law was lobbied for by Lenny Rosado, the father of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was killed when the (intoxicated) mother of one of her friends flipped her car on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan.

But as the holidays approach and alcohol tends to flow a bit more “fluidly,” we want to let you know about some of the laws and facts about drunk driving that we discuss in the book. (That would be the book that you can buy here which will make an excellent stocking stuffer this holiday season!)

  • You don’t have to be driving a car or truck to be arrested for drunk driving. You can be arrested for drunk driving a lawnmower.

Police in St. Cloud, Minnesota, arrested a reckless mower after seeing him careening atop his mobile lawn clipper. They then seized the man’s mower because of his previous DWI convictions. The offense colloquially known as “drunk driving” is the crime of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of more than .08. What people don’t realize is that in most states, “vehicle” is defined very broadly and includes any device that is moved by power other than human power. That includes lawnmowers, tractors, golf carts, motorcycles and motorized bar stools (no kidding). In one case, a guy was arrested for vehicular homicide after he hit and killed a pedestrian while intoxicated. He was driving a bicycle at the time. The charges were eventually dropped but the bottom line is that while drinking, you and your record—and innocent bystanders—are better off when you keep your bottom planted on a (stationary) barstool.

  • You can be cited for alcohol-related charges even if you’re just sitting in the passenger seat of a car.

Open container laws prohibit the possession of any open alcoholic beverage container and the consumption of any alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of any motor vehicle. If you have an open beer bottle, wine bottle, or any other alcohol container that has previously been opened—even if you are not drinking it in the car, you can be cited if it’s in the passenger area (that is, not in a locked glove compartment or the trunk. Some states even make it a crime to transport any ‘unsealed’ alcoholic beverage container in a locked glove box.). And both the driver and the passenger can be cited. So if you have alcohol, keep it in the trunk until you get to your destination.

  • If you’re “impaired” you can be busted on a DUI charge, even if the only thing you’ve been drinking is cough syrup.

A Milwaukee woman discovered this when she was booked on charges of driving under the influence. When she hit a curb, she raised the suspicion of a police officer who witnessed it and he arrested her for DUI. But she hadn’t been drinking: she’d simply taken over-the-counter cold medicine.

You don’t have to be drunk on alcohol to be arrested, just impaired. That impairment can come from alcohol, illegal drugs, or legally prescribed medications—even over-the-counter medicines. Better to read about potential impairment on the bottle before you take the medication than to see it on the police blotter after the fact.

Amy’s response…

Friday, October 2nd, 2009
This gas guzzler could be yours!

This gas guzzler could be yours!

First we’d like to thank so many of you for writing in and leaving your comments! Good debate.

Okay, so on to the right answer… Well, after questioning Paul a little further on the subject, and having determined that 1. He could not prove definitely that the rental car president had sex with a goat (Paul admitted it could have been a large dog or small seeing eye pony) and 2. Everyone has a different definition of “perverse” so best not to be too judgmental on the subject, Amy decided she should simply tackle the rental car damage issue, the proverbial “he said/she said” aspect of this kerfuffle.

Here’s her response:

Dear Paul of Brooklyn,

You’d be surprised how many people, when faced with harassing calls or seemingly completed investigations, simply send in money. The rental car company may have figured it was worth a shot.  If you did not cause the damage you are right to fight the matter. You are also well within your rights to tell them not to contact you again and that should stop the phone calls (although if you want them to send you a release, you’ll now have to go back and tell them you were just kidding about them not contacting you again and that you would in fact like them to send you a release letter. More on the release letter below).

If they continue to hound you by telephone, you can let them know that since this is an attempt to collect a debt and that you believe the calls are harassing, you’d like to speak to a supervisor because you believe they are violating fair credit and collection practices.

That said, if they really believe that you caused the damage, they may stop calling you but they would not be prevented from filing a small claims action against you. You didn’t say (or perhaps I missed?) how much they claim the damage cost or how they arrived at that figure but assuming that it’s less than a few thousand dollars, they do have the right to go to small claims court and file a complaint.  And honestly that would be fine because it would allow you to highlight their complete lack of evidence (as an aside, that would give you the opportunity to file a counterclaim for the carpet cleaning as well as the cost to get the hoof prints off the ceiling).  But since their attempts to collect a dubious debt have been unsuccessful and they should be aware that they have no proof that you caused the damage—since you did not—this will likely be the end of the matter.

It is unsettling to have a threat hanging over your head and it would be great to get them to send a release letter if you are willing to re-engage, but it’s not necessary if it doesn’t make you too nervous to take the no-news-is-good-news view of the situation and hope that it goes away.

I am not a New York attorney (and in the spirit of legal disclaimer I need to add that I am not your attorney), but if they do file a suit or if they hound you further, you can speak to a lawyer in your area.

Best,

Amy