Happy 2018

New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration of the year past and a toast to the new opportunities to come.  It’s a time of joy for some and sorrow for others.  It also happens to be a time where accidents increase, often ruining an otherwise great time.

Some of the potential accidents can occur this time of year include: Drunk driving accidents.

Alcohol consumption typically increases during this time of year, and is often mixed with the stress of family dynamics and not enough sleep. According to KGET TV and the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, eleven drivers are arrested every days in Kern County. That number does not include those who do not get caught.  Common sense tells us that people drink more during the Holidays, and often are traveling from party to party.  Solution: Limit alcohol consumption and always use a sober driving option.

  • Pedestrian accidents: pedestrian accidents increase this time of year; alcohol-related or not. In addition, pedestrians who have consumed alcohol pose an increased risk, especially during the evening hours. Solution:  See tips below for both pedestrians and motorists. 
  • Fireworks and gun injuries: People like to celebrate the end of the year with fireworks and shooting guns into the air, and injuries often occur. Solution: Never shoot a gun into the air in celebration and use only safe and legal fireworks.  Keep a fire extinguisher handy at all times.
  • Champagne cork injuries: According to the New York Times, cork injuries do happen and can cause serious damage, especially to the eyes.  Solution: Keeping champagne cooled and having an experienced person open the bubbly is probably a good idea to avoid accidents from corks.

Revisiting the issue of pedestrian safety, Kern County is seeing an alarming trend when it comes to pedestrian deaths.  So far in Kern County there have been 40 pedestrian deaths in 2017, the highest number ever recorded.  The Californian offers the following tips for both pedestrians and motorists based on recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

For pedestrians:

  • Be predictable and follow the rules of the road, obeying signs and signals. Walk on sidewalks when they’re available.
  • Walk facing traffic if there’s no sidewalk. Keep alert at all times and cross streets at crosswalks or intersections when possible. Look for cars in all directions, including those that are turning.
  • If a crosswalk isn’t available, locate a well-lit area with a good view of traffic, then cross safely. Never assume a driver sees you; make eye contact with drivers.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day, and reflective clothing or carry a flashlight at night. Avoid alcohol and drugs as they impair abilities and judgment, and watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.

For motorists:

  • Look out for pedestrians everywhere, using extra caution when driving at night or in bad weather. Slow down and stop at crosswalks.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk. Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and follow the speed limit. Noting slower speed limits in school zones — and be extra cautious when backing up.

Please contact my office should you need any advice or help as we end 2017 and look forward to another great year in 2018.  I’ve been honored to serve you since 2004 and appreciate your confidence.


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