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Fatal auto accidents can happen in a split second and can have devastating consequences on a family and community, especially when the victim is a child. A serious car accident involving a child can leave the accident victim and his or her family wondering just what went wrong. Where children are likely to be present, drivers must use increased care.

San Jose residents are mourning the tragic death of a child hit while riding a "pocket bike." The boy, age eight, was attempting to make a turn onto a busy road while riding his miniature electric motorcycle when he was struck by a pick-up truck. Riding pocket bikes is illegal on streets, sidewalks and parking lots, and at the time of the accident, the boy was not wearing a helmet.

Area residents agree that the accident calls for increased safety measures, such as speed bumps. Neighbors noted that the serious car accident could also have occurred if the boy had been chasing a ball in the street or riding a skateboard.


Pedestrians are always at risk near busy roadways because they have little protection when cars and trucks speed past them. Just because traffic laws require that drivers yield to pedestrians crossing roads, sometimes motorists neglect to do so, often resulting in catastrophic injuries or death to the victim.

During a recent accident in San Jose, an 81-year-old woman was hit and killed by a car as she crossed a road at daybreak. Police report that there was no indication that the 50-year-old driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Drivers must exercise reasonable care to avoid accidents and failure to do so is considered negligence. Some common instances of negligence include:


A debate is heating up in California regarding age limits for motor vehicle drivers. Some believe that the Department of Motor Vehicles should establish an age limit for licensing while others adamantly disagree. Recently, a 100-year-old man backed his car into a group of people mostly made up of children, injuring 11.

Many argue that chronological age matters less than driving skills and believe the current licensing standards in California are sufficient. Young motorists in the state are granted up to two five-year license renewals without retesting, whereas individuals over the age of 70 must submit to regular eye and written tests.

According to the American Automobile Association, 10,000 people turn 65 every day and, by 2030, there will be about 57 million older drivers on the road. For those that age well, there may not be a problem with driving, but the issue lies in the fact that some no longer have the reflexes they once had but will not voluntarily give up their keys. Many seniors cling to the freedom driving offers them and have no intention of giving up their licenses.


In the blink of an eye, an automobile accident changes lives. It usually raises questions regarding our own liability (responsibility for the accident), liability of other drivers and the effects on the people peripherally involved.

A recent California motor vehicle accident raised some interesting liability questions; questions about who was responsible and to what extent the at-fault driver was responsible. An undercover San Jose police officer drove his van in front of a retired Sunnyvale police captain's motorcycle, causing a crash that severely injured the motorcycle driver.

The motorcyclist sued the city that employed the police officer driving the van for $1.4 million and was awarded over $600,000 by the jury. During the trial, the retired officer claimed that there had been an organized attempt on behalf of the city to minimize the blame on the San Jose police officer.


The mild winters that many parts of the U.S. experienced this past winter may have already allowed motorcyclists to get in a few good rides. With springtime occurring in full force and summer just on the horizon, however, the roads will soon be full of all types of mopeds, scooters and motorcycles.

Now is a good time for all riders to review and practice safe operation of their two-wheeled motor vehicles.

More than 60 percent of accidents with motorcycles, mopeds and scooters also involve another type of motor vehicle. This is a scary prospect considering there are so few physical protections when riding. Wearing appropriate clothing and gear, however, can lessen the chances for severe injuries during minor accidents. Motorcycle helmets, protective or reflective jackets and pants, leather gloves and goggles or masks are all a must when riding.

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