Communities in North Central and Central Ohio are intertwined with interstates and highways such as I-71, State Route 30 and I-270. Our daily commutes require us to drive on these roadways and brings us in daily contact with semi-tractor trailers.
Most truck driving professionals understand the risks and follow the rules of the road. However, despite Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules prohibiting the use of mobile devices, some truck drivers are still reaching for their cell phones while driving (FMCSA § 392.82).
We all know that distracted driving is a problem on our roadways. But when the distracted driver is behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound machine, the danger is magnified exponentially, and senseless tragedy is the result.
A truck driver who texts while driving is 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash
A truck driver who dials a mobile phone while driving is 6 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash
When a truck crash occurs, the clock begins ticking to preserve and protect important evidence that can reveal a lot about how and why the crash happened, including whether the truck driver was driving distracted. It is especially important in truck cases for the victim or the victim’s family to retain an attorney as soon as possible. Only an experienced attorney will know how protect your rights and preserve this crucial evidence.
The attorneys at Rinehardt Law Firm have years of experience representing victims of truck crashes throughout Ohio.
The first question you must ask yourself is what type of care do you prefer for your child. Is hiring a nanny for in-home care an option? Is a neighborhood babysitter the right fit? Is a program at church best? Or do you want your child in a daycare center with other children?
Budget is often the foremost factor in choosing the type of child-care. Whatever your budget, below are some tips for making the right selection for your child.
Narrow Your Search
The first step in choosing childcare is to make a list of the options. A good place to start is the Action for Children website. Here, you can enter your zip code, and the site will generate a list of day care options near you. The site has a rating system called “Step-Up to Quality,” a statewide tiered accreditation system that assigns facilities one to five stars.
Another helpful resource, whether you are in the market for a provider or you have already chosen one, is the Ohio Job and Family Services website. If a facility is licensed, you can look at its inspection reports online and view the results including citations issued. Serious citations affecting health and welfare of the children are highlighted in the reports in red.
Next, narrow your list based on affordability and availability. Calling ahead can save time here. Make sure there is an opening for your child and that the center is within budget. Try to keep a minimum of three options on your list so you can compare and contrast.
Next, set up a visit. Before you go, make a list of questions you want to get answered while there. Also, make a list of your expectations for the provider, and create a checklist based on those expectations.
Some questions you might want to ask are “what does a typical day look like?”, “what would she be learning?”, “what activities do you offer?”, “what is the child to staff ratio?”, “how will I receive information about my child?”,”Is the provider licensed?”, “Is the provider insured?”
Make notes starting with your first contact with the provider. Does a responsible and friendly person answer the phone when you call to schedule the visit? Continue note taking when you arrive. Do the children look happy and engaged? Is the facility clean and organized? Does the staff seem confident and calm? Is the facility bright and cheerful? Is there enough staff to tend to the needs of the children?
Make sure the staff is certified in CPR and first aid. If your child has a food allergy, make sure there are provisions in place to accommodate. Also, make sure there is a protocol in place to disinfect the toys and surfaces to reduce the spread of germs.
Above all, trust your intuition. Your gut will tell you if it is the right fit for your child. If you have any safety concerns whatsoever, err on the side of caution, and keep looking.
Contact Rinehardt Law Firm
If you believe your child has been neglected or abused by a childcare provider, or if your child was injured due to inadequate supervision or because of poorly maintained facilities, call us for a free consultation.
On a dark summer night, a 16-year-old Amish boy is driving his family’s buggy on a narrow roadway. The buggy does not have taillights or turn signals. There are no street lights on the rural road. The boy directs the horse pulling the buggy to turn into a driveway. The boy does not look for oncoming traffic and turns directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. The motorcycle crashes into the side of the buggy. The driver of the motorcycle is thrown from the bike and lands in a ditch. Lying in the wreckage, both the Amish boy and the driver of the motorcycle are seriously injured. The horse is killed. Unfortunately, scenarios like this one are all too common on rural roadways in Ohio. Ohio law does not require buggies to have headlights, taillights or turn signals. The lack of regulations results in an average of 120 reported buggies accidents per year.
Amish people in Ohio do not have to follow the same driving regulations and laws as people with cars. Children as young as 8 are on the road operating buggies. Amish do not have to take driving tests, get a driver’s license, or purchase vehicle insurance. They do not use seat belts or even car seats for infants. The lack of guidelines is a safety concern for the Amish and for everyone living in communities that coincide with Amish people.
Normal speeds for horse-drawn buggies range between five and eight miles per hour. Horse-drawn vehicles may be even slower when pulling large farm equipment or when crossing intersections. In addition, horses become tired causing them to move more slowly. The vision of the driver of the horse-drawn vehicle is restricted by the lack of windows and mirrors. When pulling large loads of hay or other equipment, drivers may not be able to see cars behind them.
Statistics show that more than 65 percent of all traffic deaths occur in rural areas and 50 percent of those deaths are on country roads. Ohio reports, on average, more than 120 buggy accidents a year.
Ohio and Pennsylvania report a rough average of 60 major crashes involving horses and buggies a year over the past decade.
An Ohio Department of Transportation review found that injuries occurred in roughly half of those accidents, with fatalities in about 1 percent of them, a rate that is slightly higher than accidents in which both vehicles are motorized.
That review also revealed that the typical accident involving a horse and buggy occurs when a motorist rear-ends the buggy after misjudging just how slow the horse-drawn vehicle is traveling.
Avoiding a Collision
Even the fastest horse is slower than your car. Therefore, car drivers need to be extra cautious when passing horse-drawn farm equipment. To avoid collisions, you should anticipate left hand turns made by horse-drawn vehicles into fields and driveways.
STAY BACK! Leave some space between your vehicle and a buggy stopped at a stop sign or light. Buggies may back up a few feet after coming to a complete stop. A good rule of thumb is to stop your vehicle far enough back so that you can see where the rear wheels of the buggy touch the road.
A slow-moving vehicle sign should be mounted on all farm machinery, including road construction equipment and animal-drawn vehicles. The sign should signal motor vehicle drivers to slow down. Vehicles displaying the slow-moving vehicle sign are prohibited by law to go faster than 25 mph.
When approaching and passing a horse-drawn vehicle, remember that horses are unpredictable and even the most road-safe horse can spook at a fast-moving motor vehicle. Only pass when legal and safe. Be sure to slow down and give buggies and horse-drawn equipment plenty of room when passing.
Sharing the Road:
The Amish have just as much right to be on the roads as anyone else. The question is how to keep everyone safe.
A safety council made up of Plain residents from Amish Country in Pennsylvania meets several times a year. In 2007, the safety council approached county officials about creating a Pennsylvania driver’s manual for horse and buggy. The goal of the manual is to educate buggy drivers about safety concerns, and for other drivers to gain some perspective about sharing the road with buggies.
With input from the Plain community, the manual is written in a conversational tone and emphasizes a Christian approach to driving. It stresses the importance of buggy lighting, courtesy and following the rules of the road. It includes instructions for handling and hitching a horse and emphasizes having a good harness and using reflectors and child safety seats.
Changing the Rules:
While the manual is a great resource, the problem is that it is filled with recommendations, not requirements. The best way to ensure safety, is to legislate changes to the rules that apply to horse drawn buggies.
Some basic rules that would improve safety include minimum age requirements for buggy drivers, mandatory reflective material for horses (in case they break from the buggy), a driver’s test for buggy operators, an insurance requirement, and license plates for the buggies.
Call your state legislator to urge him or her to adopt these regulations.
Am I protected if a crash occurs?
Because Amish buggies are classified as non-motorized vehicles, their owners are not required to carry any insurance. You might expect that if you are involved in a crash caused by an Amish buggy, you will be protected by your Uninsured Motorist (UIM) insurance. However, most UIM policies contain an exclusion for Amish buggies. If you live in a community that shares the road with Amish buggies, ask your insurance agent if you are covered.
Rinehardt Law Firm has handled numerous cases involving a crash with an Amish buggy. If you have been injured as a result of a crash with an Amish buggy, call us for a free consultation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is getting ready to launch National Child Passenger Safety Week. This year, National Child Passenger Safety Week will run from September 18th to the 24th.
Richland Public Health has a certified child car seat technician on staff who can check your child safety seat and assist in proper installation. Child car seat checks are conducted on Fridays. Call 419-774-4726 to schedule an appointment. AAA in Ontario also has a child car seat technician on staff. Contact Arlene Walker at 419-529-8500 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children between one and 13 years of age, the goal of the NHTSA is to raise awareness about proper choice, use and installation of child safety seats.
What the Statistics Tell Us
In 2014, approximately 24 percent of children between the ages of four and seven years old were prematurely moved to seat belts.
Approximately nine percent of children in that age group went unbuckled in 2014.
Every 33 seconds, a child under 13 is involved in a crash.
More than one-third of children under the age of 13 who died in crashes in 2013 were unbuckled at the time of the crash.
From 2010 to 2014, there were 398 children killed while riding in the front seat.
In 2014 alone, an estimated 112,000 children under the age of 13 were injured in car crashes.
In 2014, there were 252 children under age five were saved because they were riding in the correct car seats.
Choosing The Right Car Seat
The NHTSA has a variety of resources for parents who are shopping for new car seats or for those who are wondering when their child is ready to move up into a larger car seat or booster seat. Whether you are using a new or used car seat, take your car seat to a certified car seat inspection station, to ensure it is the right child safety seat for your child’s age and size. Register your car seat with the manufacturer, so you can get important updates about potential safety recalls. Finally, remember that all child passengers under the age of 13 years old need to ride in the back seat.
The team at Rinehardt Law Firm wishes everybody a safe and productive Child Passenger Safety Week. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Mansfield, Columbus or in any of the surrounding communities, call us at 419-LAW-2020 for a free case consultation.
Every year, many children start the new school year without the most basic supplies needed to succeed in the classroom.
In an effort to help children in Richland, Crawford, and Ashland Counties, the law firm of Rinehardt Law Firm hosted its first annual school supply drive for Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Central Ohio.
The effort was part of the Injury Board Day of Action, a nationwide community outreach event. The IB Day of Action brings together more than 100 plaintiffs’ lawyer firms from across the country, all working for the same cause on the same day.
Rinehardt Law Firm is dedicated to giving back to the local community and helping those in need.
The firm provided 48 backpacks and school supplies and collected donations from members of the community. At the end of the drive, the firm was able to donate 55 backpacks filled with supplies! Big Brothers Big Sisters distributed the backpacks to families in need.