Dust StormNewcomers to the Valley were likely in for a bit of a shock yesterday as a substantial dust storm rolled into parts of the Phoenix area and affected a good portion of Maricopa County. Arriving from the south and striking yesterday evening, it was not long before the dust storm covered an area reportedly stretching from Casa Grande and Maricopa north beyond Camelback Mountain.

Officials are still determining the extent of the damage caused by the reduced visibility, wind, and rain that accompanied the storm but early reports indicate that several flights were delayed at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, several owners experienced property damage, and at least one car accident is being blamed on the conditions.

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photo 5 (1)Uber is becoming a more and more popular means of transportation in Maricopa County, including in the city of Phoenix and the areas that surround it. Uber, a ride share service where a private driver picks up a passenger based on the passenger’s request through an app, lets people get from one place to another without worrying about where they will park, whether they have enough gas, or even if they know the best route to take to their destination.

While Uber offers a lot of benefits, it also poses a number of threats to its passengers who may or may not consider their own safety before they enter a car. Uber vehicles are involved in an increasingly large number of car accidents every year and passengers are being seriously hurt in a number of those collisions.

If you use Uber, hopefully your experience will be accident-free and you will never have to learn about the legal process that accompanies these crashes. But if you are unlucky and you are involved in a crash, keep the following in mind:

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92515They are so common that you probably did not even notice them when you were driving to work today: trucks. Large trucks, small trucks, semi-trucks, box trucks, and all trucks in between travel on and over the roads of Arizona every day, moving things like fuel, electronics, and groceries from their source locations to their destinations so that life in Phoenix continues to move without skipping a beat.

Trucks are literally everywhere and serve a very vital function in our society, but that does not mean that they offer only positives. Rather, the drawbacks associated with the trucking industry can be extreme and truck accidents alone are responsible for hundreds of thousands of injuries annually and thousands of fatalities.

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8816(3)More and more children are back in the classrooms these days as many schools are now in session. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for kids and parents alike to take a swim or cool off in a backyard pool, especially when the temperatures are a little cooler like the early morning hours of the day.

But several recent incidents in Phoenix and across Maricopa County are causing officials to remind parents to exercise constant vigilance when it comes to activities in and around water as tragedy can strike in only a moment.

Parents must remember that swimming is not the only activity that can threaten their child’s safety with water involved. Rather, any time your child can access water, a swimming pool accident is possible and may happen long before you realize what is going on, leaving your child vulnerable to serious and even permanent harm.

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8316A significant monsoon struck the greater Phoenix area yesterday and caused significant damage across much of the Valley of the Sun, stranding motorists in some areas and leaving others with limited options to get home. The rain was so strong that central Phoenix saw up to two inches of rainfall in an hour and led authorities to caution motorists to avoid driving if at all possible.

Monsoons are a part of life for many who live in Arizona during this time of year. However, though they are often anticipated, they can pop up with little warning or be much more damaging than expected, catching many off guard and leading to significant problems and damages across Maricopa County.

What if you are involved in a car accident before, during, or after a monsoon? What happens if you are a pedestrian, bicyclist, or a motorcyclist who is struck by a car and you are injured? These are all good questions to know in case your life is affected by a crash, though hopefully it will never happen to you.

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We are still in the middle of summer where temperatures seem to be triple-digits more often than not. The weather forecast for today and tomorrow in Phoenix calls for highs around 113 degrees Fahrenheit which seems warm but almost normal this time of year. If you have lived in Arizona for any length of time, odds are that you understand how to cope with the oppressive heat you experience and that you know summer is something that just needs to be survived until fall arrives. However, while people think about the safety of themselves, their children, and the need to be in air conditioning, they give less consideration to the effect that extremely hot temperatures can play on their vehicles and on their ability to drive safely.

One of the biggest driving-related risks that arise as temperatures climb is the risk for a tire blowout or tire failure. As temperatures tend to increase, the air pressure inside of a tire increases in response, leading the air to expand and the tire to inflate. This increased pressure and inflation can lead to greater friction between a tire and the road surface it encounters and the friction, especially when combined with increased speeds, can cause a tire to blow with little or no warning.

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120514(2)Many of the schools across Maricopa County, including those in the Phoenix area, are back in session today. Tens of thousands of children have packed their backpacks, grabbed their lunches, and are heading to classes at the moment, excited for a new year to begin and, likely, dreading going back to school at the same time.

If you have children in your house, they may be back in classes as well. If they have not yet started the year, they will be doing so soon and it is important for you to discuss safety with them as they head to school in the morning and leave school in the afternoon.

Older children likely will remember the safety lessons you have taught to them over the years but younger kids, especially those in elementary school, need constant reminders. They may forget that cars driving near them may have a hard time seeing the kids or that running across a roadway is not a great idea.

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72016Bicycle lanes are somewhat hit-or-miss in Maricopa County. In some areas, these lanes are heavy and can be found on nearly all major routes of travel. In other locations, bicycle lanes are sparse or absent and can make riding more challenging for cyclists. However, it is clear that these lanes are growing in number and that their popularity is increasing as greater numbers of Arizona residents choose to travel by bike every year.

With the increased presence and use of bicycle lanes should come a greater understanding of their purpose and effect among motorists. Unfortunately, that has not been the case to date with many drivers woefully ignorant as to the laws that govern these lanes. As a result, countless drivers are engaging in behavior that is threatening to their own safety and to the safety of those riding bicycles near them – often without realizing their mistakes.

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71416It is not hard to find a Harley-Davidson motorcycle cruising around Maricopa County. Even in the dead of summer, odds are that you might see one on occasion as a brave rider endures the heat for the freedom of a ride. Several establishments in the Phoenix area are known as hangouts for bikers and there are annual biker rallies all over Arizona, leading even those who do not ride to realize that motorcycles are a part of life for many here.

But now, concern is being raised by the nation’s largest automobile safety group over the effectiveness of the brakes on some Harley-Davidson motorcycles and riders should be questioning whether they are safe on their bikes as a result.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) defines its mission as “Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes.” It seeks to accomplish that by administering recalls over automobiles and motorcycles, conducting and reviewing research into traffic safety initiatives and concerns, and making recommendations to limit the toll enacted by traffic incidents in terms of the lives involved as well as the finances that are harmed.

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111815(3)Arizona has more private and public swimming pools that can be counted, and with good reason: with the incredibly hot summer temperatures here, the number of sunny days, and the need to keep cool during these trying times, the prevalence of swimming pools can make a world of difference. Whether you are old, young, or somewhere in between, there are few better ways to really cool off than by taking a quick dip in a pool.

The majority of private pools in the area do not have a lifeguard on duty. Most people opt to act as their own family’s lifeguard when a pool is in their backyard as opposed to hiring a professional. However, a number of public pools in Phoenix and the rest of Maricopa County do have lifeguards on duty at all times, leading patrons to wonder what role these lifeguards serve when it comes to safety.

Lifeguards are trained professionals who are intended to prevent swimming pool drownings and accidents by responding to threatening conditions. A typical lifeguard is certified in water rescue, is a strong swimmer, and is trained in CPR/AED first aid. A lifeguard must stay alert to conditions involving all swimmers and all individuals near a pool when that lifeguard is working, enabling the lifeguard to pass on safety information and warnings at the first sign of potential problems.

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