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& Pemerton PLLC
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Chattanooga Tennessee Legal Blog

The basics of driver safety

Safety is something that not a few drivers in Tennessee make light of. Distraction is especially common. Drivers often, for example, call or text on their smartphones, or they engage in more basic activities that nonetheless take their attention from the road, including eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, using a navigator or talking with a passenger. Every day across the U.S., approximately 600,000 drivers use their phones at least once during their trip.

Drinking and driving is another form of negligence that drivers must avoid. If they go out to drink, they should have a designated driver. One should always watch out for friends, too, and prevent them from driving when intoxicated. Medications can impair driving as well, so drivers should be aware of their side effects.

Keeping your divorce as private as possible

Like many Tennessee residents, you likely do not want your personal or business-related information aired out for everyone to see. You may have sensitive information that needs protecting from prying eyes, and as a result, you have likely taken measures over the years to keep others out of your business when necessary. However, now that you are going through a divorce, it is possible for certain information to go on the public record.

Typically, the court allows for public scrutiny when it comes to divorce proceedings. Of course, you may not want all of your personal and business information on public record for just anyone to go through. Fortunately, you may have the chance to request that the court file certain divorce records under seal.

Planning a parenting schedule during divorce

Parents in Tennessee who are planning a parenting schedule should prioritize their children's needs in creating it. The schedule is supposed to support the child's relationship with both parents, and parents should resist the urge to feel that its design means they have won or lost.

Instead, parents should put themselves in their child's shoes and think about what the child will gain and lose in their new life after divorce. They should make sure to consider the logistics of transportation and child care. If the child can stay with the same babysitter or child care provider, this can provide a sense of stability. Children may have after-school activities that must be considered as well. If children are older, they might want to participate in a conversation about the schedule. Parents should also account for any special needs their child has.

AASM warns against drowsiness among ridesharing drivers

Many Tennessee motorists get drowsy from time to time. However, rideshare drivers are often sleep deprived on a regular basis. The low fare and salary incentives of the industry compel many operators to overwork themselves. This can wreak havoc on their circadian rhythm and endanger both themselves and others.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that there are 328,000 car crashes every year due to distracted driving. Of these, 109,000 involve injuries and 6,400 end in fatalities. Driving after an extended period of wakefulness is not the only factor; some suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and other conditions that lower alertness. Regrettably, ridesharing drivers are seldom screened for such conditions since most are independent contractors.

The importance of a father's involvement in their children's life

Tennessee parents who are facing a divorce are understandably interested in how the divorce could impact their children. In some cases, a wife may be encouraged by her lawyer to seek sole custody of the children. This may be done even though the father is active in the children's life and values his relationship with the children.

In the past, the argument was made that it was in the best interests of the children to be with their mothers. Some believed that children spending time with the father, especially overnight, could lead to emotional and behavioral challenges. Because of this belief, some mothers vehemently fought to have full custody of the children. However, the fathers were not in agreement with this assessment.

Traffic accidents impact millions each year

Traffic accidents are the eighth-leading cause of death in the world according to a report from the World Health Organization. However, accidents may not receive as much attention from Tennessee residents and others compared to other worldwide causes of death like HIV. Despite this, there are many things that countries around the world are doing to make sure that roads are as safe as possible.

For example, there have been improvements in how roads and vehicles are designed. There has been a recognition that roads that are properly divided or that allow for pedestrian footpaths help reduce the risk of traffic deaths. The UN has also identified standards to make vehicles safer to use. These standards include implementing side- and front-impact prevention systems as well as pedestrian front safety systems. However, only 40 countries have instituted most or all of these standards. None of these countries are designated as low-income; individuals in low-income countries are more likely to die in an accident compared to those in more developed nations.

Distracted driving in Tennessee school zones is a problem

Tennessee readers know that distracted driving is a problem in the state and across the country. It is quickly becoming a nationwide public safety issue, and many authorities and groups are working diligently to raise awareness and encourage drivers to make safe decisions. Despite these efforts, many people still make the decision to engage in distracting behaviors while driving. 

In Tennessee, it is now illegal to drive through a school zone while distracted. This means drivers can receive citations for texting or talking on their phones while driving through designated school zones. Despite the law, many drivers are still using their phones in these areas, which could place children at an increased risk for an accident.

Holiday transitions after a divorce

When Tennessee parents decide to divorce, the winter holidays can be an especially difficult time for all members of the family. This is particularly true when the divorce or separation is fresh as family members have had little chance to accustom themselves to the changes in family circumstances. Both parents and children may face emotional fallout during the holidays after a divorce, but parents can act to make the experience better for their children.

Both parents should be careful to put their children first during the holidays, especially soon after a divorce. Time with the kids during the holidays is not an occasion to spar with a former spouse. Instead, it can be an occasion to put aside issues between the adults in order to be generous to the kids. Parents can seek comfort from their friends or a therapist to allow them to vent their own emotions about the situation while protecting their children.

Hours of service rules blamed for rise in truck accident deaths

The number of road users killed in motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks in Tennessee and around the country rose by a worrying 9 percent to 4,761 in 2017 according to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is the highest commercial vehicle accident death toll in almost three decades, and a number of logistics industry groups say that federal hours of service regulations are partly to blame.

Hours of service rules are designed to prevent accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers, but opponents of the regulations say that they make the roads more dangerous when semi drivers drive recklessly and exceed posted speed limits to work around the regulations. The rules require truck drivers to end their shifts after 11 hours and take a 30-minute rest after eight hours on the road, and it is the mandatory rest that industry groups say is causing the most problems.

Financial pitfalls to avoid during a divorce

Divorce is often a time of upheaval and great emotional stress during which spouses are expected to make a series of important financial decisions. The choices made during alimony and property division negotiations can cast long shadows, but divorcing couples in Tennessee who approach these matters dispassionately and listen to the advice of their attorneys, accountants and financial planners may be able to avoid some common pitfalls.

The tax implications of divorce are often overlooked during heated negotiations over assets. Retirement accounts are sometimes plundered to get the money needed to secure a quick settlement, but few experts would suggest doing this as it can leave people financially unprepared for their golden years and facing stiff IRS penalties. Taking retirement benefits upfront after obtaining a qualified domestic relations order can also be a mistake when it pushes people into a higher tax bracket and increases their overall tax bill.

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