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White Plains New York Legal Blog

Proposed New York law would ban hair-related discrimination

The New York City Commission on Human Rights released guidelines in February that made targeting individuals based on the way they wear their hair in the workplace, at school or in public areas a form of racial discrimination in situations where the hairstyle involved is associated with race. A bill introduced in Albany on May 20 by two New York City Democrats would extend this protection to all Empire State residents. The California Senate unanimously approved a similar law in April.

The bill expands the definition of race to include ethnic background and ethnic group identification traits such as hairstyles and hair textures. If the bill is passed, employers in New York could face racial discrimination complaints if they fire or demote workers or refuse to hire job candidates because of hairstyles that are traditionally associated with race. Company policies that require workers with such hairstyles to cut or restyle their hair would also be prohibited.

Protect yourself by understanding these 9 car crash facts

Saturday evening, after working hard all week, you deserve a little time to relax. Whether you decide to spend the evening with your friends, spouse, children or just by yourself, you may consider driving somewhere. Unfortunately, so will all kinds of drunk, reckless and aggressive drivers.

According to City-Data.com, which creates local reports from government data, Saturday is the most dangerous day to drive in White Plains. That's good reason to rethink your plans. You don't need to abandon them, but you might drive more carefully. If you're going to the bar, you might leave yourself a bit more time to drink water, talk with your friends and clear your head before heading home.

Holding negligent drivers accountable in a crash

When people are hurt in a New York car accident, they may wonder who can be held accountable for their injuries. Thousands of people are killed or seriously injured each year in auto accidents, and many of these crashes are caused by negligent drivers. While some accidents may be caused by mechanical failures, poor weather or wildlife in the road, most crashes can be traced back to specific behavior by a driver. When considering auto accidents, negligence has a specific legal definition that can determine which driver can be considered at fault for the crash.

In order to be found negligent, a person must have a duty of care to another person that was violated. All drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely, follow the rules of the road and take care to avoid injuring drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and others on the road. However, in order to be considered responsible, they must do something to violate that duty. There are a number of ways in which drivers can be negligent; for example, drowsy, drunk or distracted drivers are all breaching their duty of care to others on the road.

Drivers need time to learn new technology

New vehicle technology could create hazards on roads in New York and around the country. This is because drivers may not always know how to use it. Furthermore, vehicles may take their commands too literally and not deviate from them no matter what is going on around them. For example, if a driver tells a car to stay 50 feet away from the one in front of it, the vehicle may do so even if it may not be safe.

Drivers may also underestimate what their vehicles are capable of. According to one study, 11% of respondents thought that they could read a book or use their phone while the car did the driving. However, even with limited automation features, drivers need to pay attention at all times. If a person is driving a rental car, he or she may not know how to use the advanced safety features it comes with.

Ketosis and breath tests

Some New York motorists who have acid reflux or diabetes or even those who are in ketosis might cause a false positive on some types of breath tests used by law enforcement to determine blood alcohol content. These conditions can cause a person to breathe out isopropyl alcohol, and some say not all breath tests can distinguish between this and ethanol alcohol.

One of those people is a Texas attorney who got charges dropped against his client who was on a low-carb diet that put him in ketosis. He says that no peer-reviewed studies have been done to show that breath tests that use fuel cells to determine a person's blood alcohol content can tell the difference in ethanol and isopropyl alcohol. This claim is disputed by manufacturers, who say there are no issues with their products. However, there is an article published in 2006 by a professor of forensic technology that examines the case of a man on a low-carb diet who was unable to activate his company vehicle. The vehicle had a breath test device on its ignition, and it used fuel cells.

New to motorcycle riding? Don't cheap out on riding gear!

Motorcycle-riding is an expensive hobby. Just ask any long-time rider. Yet, the same riders will probably tell you that every penny put into their bike and their safety makes the experience more fun.

Investing in the proper attire to use your motorcycle is just as essential of paying the cost for oil refills, fuel and other general maintenance of the bike, itself.

EEOC investigates genetic information discrimination complaints

Workers in New York may know that they can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if they face discrimination due to their sex, race, religion or disability. However, far fewer are familiar with the EEOC's role in protecting workers from discrimination that's based on their genetic information. This provision in workplace civil rights law was adopted in 2008 along with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which also addresses discrimination from insurers and other companies. It prohibits employers from using genetic information like family medical history, DNA tests or fetal test results to discriminate against workers on the job.

The provision remains one of the little-used aspects of employment discrimination law. In 2018, there were only 220 complaints that were filed related to genetic information discrimination, amounting to only 0.3% of all EEOC complaints that were received that year. This may be due to a lack of concern, but it could also be linked to little knowledge or understanding of this type of protection. Employers are prohibited from using genetic information to discriminate against workers in terms of hiring, firing, promotions, layoffs or other employment actions. Specific concerns have been raised about employers terminating workers due to concerns that they will be more expensive to insure because of their family medical histories.

To-do list for riding a motorcycle after the winter

It’s every motorcycle rider’s first inclination to go out for a ride on the first nice day following winter. In addition to kicking off motorcycle season, this has an unfortunate tendency of also kicking off injury season.

Even if skies are clear and a warm breeze is calling your name, take a moment to look over this checklist before riding out.

Study: fatal crashes possible even in light rain

Driving in rain, ice, and snow can be dangerous in New York. According to a Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, heavy rain, snow, and ice raises the risk for a fatal car crash by 34%. Now, a study from the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies has been able to add to that with more precise discoveries.

Researchers analyzed 125,012 fatal auto accidents that occurred between 2006 and 2011 in the lower 48 states, factoring in the number of cars on the road to calculate risk. The study was the first of its kind to use the precise information gathered by weather radars. Previous ones had to depend on police reports and information from nearby weather stations to calculate rainfall and snowfall at the time of a crash.

Tackling drunk driving

New York drivers are aware of the dangers of drunk driving. In 2017, just under 11,000 deaths occurred that were the result of drunk driving crashes. This means that almost 30 people died each day as a result of someone getting behind the wheel while being intoxicated.

Volvo has decided to take a step to improve the safety of their vehicles and reduce accidents caused by drunk driving. They released a statement in March 2019 announcing that all their cars from 2020 onward would have a speed limit imposed on them to just 112 mph. They also plan to install sensors and in-car cameras that will monitor drivers for signs of distraction and intoxication. They plan to install this technology in the early 2020's.

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