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Safety Alert: Are Self Driving Cars Part Of Our Future?

Most of us that surf the internet, read a newspaper or watch television know that many different technology companies are developing self-driving cars. Companies like Apple, Google, Tesla, Toyota and Uber are some of the technology companies developing and testing self-driving car technology. Google is the pioneer in autonomous driving technology. In 2005, Google established a team of engineers, led by Sebastian Thrun, who developed a robotic vehicle that won a contest sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Sine then, in November of 2015 Toyota announced over the next five years, it would spend $1 billion on research centers related to self-driving car at both MIT and Stanford. Apple, Google, Tesla and Uber have also committed to substantial research initiatives focusing on the testing and developing of autonomous vehicles. BMW, Audi and Daimler recently purchased Nokia's map business, including intellectual property focused on self-driving cars.

Safety Alert: Could Wearing A Winter Coat Endanger Your Child?

Kidsandcars.org is a non-profit child safety organization dedicated to preventing injuries and death to children in or around motor vehicles. An expert from KidsandCars.org visited with the hosts of NBC's TODAY show last month. Their topic centered on a potential danger to children wearing winter coats while strapped into their car seats. At an official crash test lab in Michigan, a child dummy that appeared to be securely strapped into a car seat came hurtling out of the motor vehicle during a crash simulation at 30-mph. As a parent, I would not have even thought it possible to be ejected from a child's car seat. The winter months are upon us and we should all be made aware of the potential risks associates with having your child leave their winter coat on in the car. When a child is wearing a winter coat, it may feel like they are strapped snugly into a car seat when the straps are actually dangerously loose. Experts say to strap your child securely in their car seat without their coat. Instead of putting the coat on your child, you can put the coat over the child to keep him/her warm, or you can use a blanket. This advice even applies to adults. Experts say they shouldn't wear their winter coats when they're behind the wheel or riding in a car.

Safety Alert: Protect Your Family And Buckle Up This Holiday Season

According to WEAR Channel 3, two Milton residents were killed in a car crash recently in Santa Rosa County around 3:13 a.m. A 32-year-old female was driving a Ford Expedition east on Interstate 10 (Stare Road 8) east of mile marker 19 when the right side tires went off the pavement and onto the grass shoulder. Authorities say the driver over-corrected and drove across the eastbound lanes and overturned after crashing into a temporary concrete barrier wall. Both the driver and her 34-year-old passenger were taken to Sacred Heart Hospital and died from their injuries. According to the FHP, neither were wearing seat belts.

Safety Alert: Drone Regulations Announced

Before the new year, all drone owners must register their devices before flying them. The new registration requirements were announced Monday. Officials hope they will encourage owners to operate the devices in a responsible manner. It would also make it easier for authorities to track down those involved in drone crashes or incidents. Drone owners will be responsible for registering devices.

Safety Alert: New Regulations To Drones

We all knew this was coming. Recently, the Secretary of Transportation announced that all unmanned aircraft would be required to be registered with the government just as manned aircraft are today. We have watched drones fly around concerts, parties, school assemblies and know that many of these individuals have no idea how to fly them, and it is just a matter of time before someone gets significantly hurt. According to Secretary Fox, drone registration will help ensure that drone operators are educated on airspace issues and help enforce accountability by knowing who is flying, There will be a task force consisting of government leaders and diverse stakeholders who will determine the specifics of which drones will be covered - for example, toy drones could be excluded - and how the registration process will work.

Safety Alert: Have Your Tires Been Recalled?

At a recent meeting in Washington, accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, reported that the federal recall system that is supposed to keep potentially dangerous car tires off the road is "completely broken." While each year tire problems cause 33,000 accidents, and only one in five defective tires is being taken out of service via recalls. Investigators found that more than half of recalled tires remain in use.

Safety Alert: DOT Considers Requiring Auto-Breaking Systems

Recently, the Federal Department of Transportation issued a press release saying it has begun to work and assess whether it is necessary to enact a federal rule to require new trucks to be equipped with crash avoidance systems that automatically brake without driver input. The DOT's comments came in response to a petition filed in February by several pro-regulatory agencies like the Truck Safety Coalition, the Center for Auto Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Road Safe America. The recommendation has also been issued by the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board). The DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( the agency responsible for such a mandate) did not say when it would make a decision to create a rule or not. Nonetheless, the Administration has been studying and will continue to study the systems and its decision will be "made after study of the requested action and the various alternatives in the course of the rulemaking proceeding."

Agritourism Activities: Safety and Liability

We recently went to a farm for pumpkins, sunflowers and fall festivities. As we bounced up and down on the hayride, I started to think about the possible liabilities in "agritourism". I expect that inviting the public to your farm increases your liability and legal responsibilities. First, what is an agritourism activity? An "agritourism activity" is any agricultural related activity consistent with a bona fide farm or ranch or in a working forest which allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy activities, including farming, ranching, historical, cultural, or harvest-your-own activities and attractions. An agritourism activity does not include the construction of new or additional structures or facilities intended primarily to house, shelter, transport, or otherwise accommodate members of the general public. An activity is an agritourism activity regardless of whether the participant paid to participate in the activity. In 2013, Florida passed a law limiting the legal liability of landowners, agritourism operators, and employees for the inherent risks associated with the activity. This protection is afforded to those who post a notice of the risks. What is considered an inherent risk? Inherent risks of agritourism activity means those dangers or conditions that are an integral part of an agritourism activity including certain hazards, such as surface and subsurface conditions; natural conditions of land, vegetation, and waters; the behavior of wild or domestic animals; and the ordinary dangers of structures or equipment ordinarily used in farming and ranching operations. The term also includes the potential of a participant to act in a negligent manner that may contribute to the injury of the participant or others, including failing to follow the instructions given by the agritourism operator or failing to exercise reasonable caution while engaging in the agritourism activity.

Boating Safety: Protect Your Kids

Boating is one of summer's best things to do, especially in Northwest Florida. You can see the sandy white beaches, enjoy the beautiful water, and usually see a marine animal or two. And usually, those that take a boat out to enjoy, take their children along with them. There is no reason not to take the kids along. But make sure they're protected.

Safety Alert: Takata Airbag Recall Hits Florida Hard

Various news agencies are reporting on a new NHTSA report that came out recently that said three quarters of the defective air bags they've tested have come from Florida. In fact, up to 70 and 80 percent of ruptured airbags are coming from Florida. The head of the agency said Florida's heat and humidity may be the reason millions of recalled Takata air bags in the state are more dangerous. The Takata company has recalled almost 34 million airbag inflators in the U.S. At least eight people have been killed and another hundred injured when the bags deployed with too much force in a crash. The air bags can blow apart a metal canister and spew shrapnel into drivers and passengers. One death was in Orlando.

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Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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