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Is Lane Splitting Dangerous? U.C. Berkley Studies Shows Otherwise [Infographic]

The state of Arizona is a beautiful land with far and open roads to explore, which is any rider or drivers dream. As a motorcycle rider, you are exposed to more elements than the average driver. While being more “exposed” to dangers, riding a motorcycle comes with its advantages that allow riders to cut traffic, save time, and ride safely. As our traffic law stands now in the United States, it is illegal to participate in lane splitting, period, with the exception of California. Lane splitting is actually legal in most of the world and is seen as just a way of things. Motorcycle riders are susceptible to traffic violations in Phoenix, that in reality could prove to make them relatively safer on the roads.

The chairman of the Arizona Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs, known as, Bob Eberhardt said, “absolutely” thought lane-splitting should be legal — for safety reasons. Lane-splitting would likely “greatly reduce” rear-end collisions of motorcycles.” He proceeded to acknowledge the fact that it might take some time to get used to for other motorists. In the study conducted, they made it a point to experiment and survey the number of motorcycle accidents that occur in “stop and go” traffic. Turns out – any form of mitigating the riders exposure to congested traffic greatly reduced the odds of a motorcycle rider ending in a collision.

There have been many attempts at reopening this bill to legalize the special privilege but has been continuously shut down. The last attempt was in 2010 by a Harley-Davidson riding representative to legalize motorcycle lane splitting but was quickly vetoed by Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer.

Bill SB 1007 To Be Discussed Again this Month

This January the proposed bill, SB 1007 will be discussed again.  Many studies have been done to debate the actual safety of lane splitting and finally, an experiment was done by the Safe Transportation Research & Education Center University of California Berkeley has proven that lane-splitting is actually a lot safer than people believe. The infographic created by, Corso Law Group home of Phoenix traffic violations attorneys, below goes into details discovered through their studies.

Arizona motorcycle lane splitting safety infographic

 

Arizona Cyclists, Drivers Encouraged to Share the Road

As the weather in Arizona starts to cool down and more residents choose to walk and bike around the Valley, the Scottsdale traffic attorneys at Corso Law Group remind drivers and cyclists to share the road this season.

The Phoenix Street Transportation Department recently installed a series of new signs near bike lanes and busy biking areas warning of wrong way cycling in an effort to reduce crashes.

Approximately 450 bike and automobile accidents occur every year in Phoenix, and 34 percent of this type of collision involves a biker riding against traffic.

Arizona law states that while bicycles are not considered vehicles, a person riding a bike has the same rights and responsibilities as a person driving a car, which means they are legally expected to ride with traffic in the farthest right lane and follow traffic rules including:

  • Stopping for traffic lights and stop signs
  • Yielding to pedestrians on crosswalks and sidewalks
  • Signaling lane changes and turns
  • Using a white headlight and red rear reflector at night

There are also laws enforced by the state in place specifically for cyclists such as:

  • Every person riding a bike must have a seat
  • Every bike must have at least one brake
  • No more than two people may bike side by side on the road
  • One had must be on the handlebars at all times
  • Do not attach a bike to another bike or vehicle on the road

When an accident does occur between a person on a bike and a driver, who is at fault? The answer depends on negligence. If either the biker or the driver fails to exercise a reasonable standard of care at the time of the incident, like stopping at a red light or going the speed limit, he or she may be considered negligent and face charges.

Whether you’re a cyclist or a driver, if you’re ever involved in this type of accident in Arizona, contact the traffic attorneys at the Scottsdale office of Corso Law Group for help.

Top 4 Most Common Holiday Crimes

The holiday season is a time for celebration, but it is also peak season for certain crimes. Corso Law Group has identified the four most common holiday crimes and offers advice on how to protect yourself from falling victim this year.

Drunk Driving

Holiday travel means significantly more people on the roads. This year, AAA predicts 46.9 million Americans will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday alone, which is up from the high of 46.6 million in 2014. This increase, along with holiday drinking and partying over Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, leads to a rise in DUIs and DUI accidents.

Prevent a holiday DUI by being aware of popular drinking holidays, like Thanksgiving Eve and New Year’s Eve weekend, and making the proper arrangements to keep yourself and loved ones from getting behind the wheel.

Shoplifting

This time of year, there are countless opportunities for shoplifting with crowded malls and busy store employees. National shoplifting arrests increased by 15 percent in November and December compared to the rest of the year in 2014, and one in 11 Americans has admitted to shoplifting, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention.

To protect your business from shoplifters, keep a vigilant eye on your surroundings, especially during busy shopping periods, consider hiring additional, seasonal staff and be sure to install an alarm system.

Identity Theft

With the holiday season being one of the busiest retail periods all year, there are countless opportunities for identity theft both online and in stores. Personal information, including credit card information, social security numbers, names and addresses, can all be at risk during the holidays.

Keep sensitive information safe by regularly checking credit card and bank statements and only shop online using a secure wifi network on websites that include a lock symbol by the url.

Robbery

Leaving a store or mall with an armful of shopping bags is a regular occurrence during the holidays, but it also reads as an opportunity for robbers.

While shopping, keep track of your purchases and don’t leave bags unattended or in plain sight. For example, instead of keeping items in the backseat of your car, where they are easily visible, store purchases in the trunk. It’s a simple way to avoid making yourself a target.

Six New Arizona Laws You Should Know About

During one the speediest and most frugal legislative sessions in history, Arizona officials churned out more than 300 new laws.

Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature spent a quick 81 days in session on a tight budget of $9.1 billion, producing 324 new laws, many of which will go into effect July 3.

Dozens revolve around the economy, social issues and education, meaning the daily lives of residents across the state will be affected.

Of the 324, Corso Law Group selected six of the most noteworthy new laws Arizonans should know about.

  1. Changes at the Border: SB 1271 gives the Joint Border Security Advisory Committee the go ahead to use $264,400 in collected private donations to build a fence, physical or virtual, as close as possible to the Arizona-Mexico border.
  1. Abortion Reversal: One facet of SB 1318 requires doctors to inform women interested in an abortion using a combination of medications that the procedure may potentially be reversed. Arizona is the first state to initiate this law, which was based on information from the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life.
  1. Get a REAL ID: HB 2609 gives Arizona residents the option to purchase a new ID that meets federal requirements. This is important news for air travelers who would otherwise have had to carry another form of ID, like a passport, to fly domestically.
  1. Required Civics Tests: HB 2064 makes the class of 2017 the first wave of high school students who must pass a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization civics test to graduate. To graduate, students will have to answer at least 60 questions correctly out of 100.
  1. Ride-sharing Regulations: HB 2135 initiates new rules for ride-sharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, that were previously operating unregulated in Arizona alongside taxis and cabs. The new bill requires companies to inspect vehicles, conduct criminal background checks on drivers and make sure they carry insurance.
  1. Driving school do-over: HB 2308 lets drivers who have been cited for traffic violations clear their records more frequently by offering the opportunity to complete driving school as often as every 12 months instead of every 24 months.

Other impactful laws cover topics like the study of police body cameras, brewery expansion, junk food in schools and more.

Phoenix Considers Body Cameras for All Police to Reduce Use-of-Force Complaints

Use-of-force complaints decrease significantly for police departments equipped with body cameras, but the cost could hold some, like the Phoenix Police Department, from taking advantage of this technology.

A year-long study evaluating the effect of body-worn video cameras in police patrol practices by the Police Foundation Executive Fellow, Chief Tony Farrar, found a 50 percent decrease in the number of use-of-force complaints against officers wearing the cameras.Police Using Body Cameras

It would cost at least $3.5 million to equip all first-responding Phoenix officers with body cameras, Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner said. That price estimate includes the costs to gather and store footage, but wouldn’t cover the cost of personnel.

Many small and medium-sized cities like Austin and Minneapolis are utilizing these cameras to increase police accountability and transparency in light of growing tension between communities and local police departments around the country.

Phoenix, the country’s sixth most populated city, is moving toward using body cameras after an Arizona State University study found that complaints against officers decreased when actions of both officers and citizens were recorded.

A study of Mesa police officers who wore body cameras saw a 40 percent decrease in total complaints and a 75 percent decrease in the number of use-of-force complaints over the course of a year.

In order for Phoenix to implement this technology, police would have to create a policy that dictates how to manage and edit mass quantities of data, then share it with prosecutors.

In the near future, supporters advocating for Phoenix police to wear body cameras say that both citizens and officers would benefit. Officers would be protected from false allegations and citizens could rest assured knowing that all interactions with police would be recorded.

Church Sues Over Sign Codes, Outcome Could Affect Free Speech Rights

A small church in Gilbert, Arizona has taken its sign case to the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping to change the city’s code, which depending on the outcome, could directly impact future rulings regarding First Amendment rights.

Signs advertising real estate agents and political campaigns populate streets and sidewalks for weeks at a time, while others are restricted to more specific dates and sizes, leading the church to believe that its free speech rights have been violated.Good News Presbyterian Church

The First Amendment issue facing this case is content neutrality. Content-neutral regulations aim not to limit speech but to provide regulations based on the circumstances of how types of speech can take place.

Good News Presbyterian Church rents space to hold its services for approximately 30 adults and 10 children. Good News pastor Clyde Reed argues that the sign code in place in Gilbert is discriminatory because it specifies the size of the signs he can put up to advertise the church’s religious services as well as the number of signs and how long they are permitted to stay posted.

Directional signs posted in public places, like local neighborhoods and retirement communities, must not exceed 6 square feet, can be posted no earlier than 12 hours before the event and must be taken down within an hour after the event’s end. By contrast, political signs may be as large as 20 square feet and can remain posted for the duration of a political campaign, The Washington Post said.

The city said that Reed’s rights have not been violated by the sign code because all non-commercial signs must follow the same rules, regardless of content. However, Alliance Defending Freedom, the Scottsdale-based conservative Christian activist group representing Reed, argues that Gilbert’s code may not be content neutral just because the city said it does not discriminate based on content, azcentral reports.

The Supreme Court appears to be leaning in favor of the church; but their ruling could simply affect the Gilbert ordinance and little else, or the justices could take a broader ruling that could affect future free speech cases.

Reed first sued Gilbert in 2007, after the he was cited for posting signs too early. Since then, other courts have ruled in favor of the city.

Several religious activist groups and the Obama administration support Reed and are urging the Supreme Court to change the city’s sign ordinance, The Washington Post said.

An opinion is expected to be given by the Supreme Court by June.

The guidance of an experienced attorney can make all the difference when it comes to defending your rights, which is why you shouldn’t take on a case alone.

If you’re looking for a trustworthy attorney, contact Corso Law Group today. Your case will be handled by a licensed Arizona or Texas attorney.

States Take Action Against Powdered Alcohol Substance Palcohol

Parents and politicians are up in arms over a powdered alcohol that they worry will find its way into the hands of underage children.

Approval was erroneously given to powdered alcohol by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau on April 18, and was voluntarily withdrawn 13 days later due to public outcry. However, Palcohol remains to be a concern for many states, several of which are banning it altogether.Palcohol

Palcohol is a lightweight powdered alcohol, originally developed by Arizona resident Mark Phillips, which is added to liquids or foods to make alcoholic substances anywhere, any time.

The Palcohol website has been cleared of its original content since the approval error in April, but it previously suggested that it should be sold just like any other alcoholic drink, meaning that it would be sold where liquid alcohol is sold, and buyers would have to be of legal drinking age to purchase it.

Despite these restrictions, opponents are worried that the powder will fall into the hands of minors who will abuse the alcohol by loading up drinks or snorting it.

“What’s to stop somebody from mixing two or three packets with that amount of liquid and really beefing up the alcoholic content,” Ohio State Representative Jim Buchy, (R) 84th District said regarding a proposed ban of Palcohol in Ohio according to ABC 22.

According to Gawker, the Palcohol website originally addressed the topic of snorting the product by admitting that it can be done.

“Yes, you can snort it,” the Palcohol website stated, “And you’ll get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol will be absorbed so quickly in your nose. Good idea? No. It will mess you up. Use Palcohol responsibly.”

Teens around the country are already experimenting with new ways to get drunk using vapors and powdered alcohol, which isn’t sold in the U.S. but can be found for purchase online from other countries, and suffering the consequences, CBS Denver reports.

“We’ve had a few patients that have been very intoxicated. One that I know of had to have a breathing tube put in and we had to breathe for them for a period of time because they were not breathing adequately on their own,” said Dr. Christopher Colwell, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Denver Health in an interview with CBS Denver.

Growing concern for abuse of powdered alcohol and its effects have been grounds enough to ban Palcohol altogether from Alaska and South Carolina. New York, Vermont, Minnesota and Ohio are currently proposing legislation to ban it as well, ABC 22 said.

So what could the increasing popularity of powdered alcohol mean for Arizona residents?

For starters, regulation of the powder would be tough considering the substance is easy to conceal, leading to DUI arrests and even deaths from Palcohol abuse.

Arizona tied with Wyoming for the fourth-highest rate of alcohol-related deaths among its working-age population from 2006 to 2010, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, AZCentral reports.

And in 2012, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility reported 227 total alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Arizona, with 29 fatalities reported as minors.

While it seems powdered alcohol could negatively affect Arizona and other states that are already troubled by alcohol abuse, the impact of powdered alcohol on Arizona citizens and law enforcement remains unclear, but it is important to understand your DUI rights and laws despite these uncertainties.

The Arizona DUI defense attorneys at Corso Law Group do everything in their power to protect defendants and advocate for their rights. They have the experience and expertise to deal with DUI charges in Arizona and will fight to get the charges dismissed.

Controversial Arizona Photo Radar Cameras Back in the News

A new bill concerning the use of photo radar in Arizona has been introduced by state representatives. HB 2690 says that all authorities and agencies in Arizona using photo enforcement have to calibrate the camera systems at least once every 24 hours.

If a ticket produced from a photo enforcement system is distributed without the proper time stamp that meets the 24 hour calibration requirement, that ticket would be dismissed by the court.Photo radar in Arizona

Proponents of HB 2690, such as the sponsor of the bill, Rep. David Gowan, believe that this new bill would ensure that photo radar systems reach the same level of quality as hand held radar systems, which are tested everyday by police officers, and would also grant drivers fair treatment if they are ticketed by a photo radar system.

Previously, state legislators like Governor Jan Brewer have signed bills that aim to eliminate photo enforcement in Arizona, including a law from 2013 that only allows photo radar systems if state transportation officials confirm they’re necessary due to safety needs, the Associated Press and KPHO reports.

Criticism of the new bill focus on the confusion surrounding the term “calibrate” and how exactly it defines this piece of legislation.

In Tucson, photo enforcement systems have been in placement since 2009 by American Traffic Solutions and the systems are tested for accuracy through a computer once a day, according to KGUN 9.

Tucson police Commander Robert Shoun said in the East Valley Tribune that calibrate could mean anything, but if it means a specialist is required to visit each affected intersection and check on the camera devices personally at least once every 24 hours, that would be a large expense for towns and cities.

Update: Although HB 2690 passed out of the House Transportation Committee in February, on March 18, 2014, HB 2690 failed to pass the Senate Transportation Committee. For more details, you can review the bill’s history here.

Arizona DUI Lawyers Corso Law Group Remind Valley of DUI Risks for St. Patrick’s Day 2014

The Phoenix area offers plenty of fun and festivities every year for Valley residents to enjoy during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Holidays are by all means a time to celebrate, but Corso Law Group wants to remind you to celebrate responsibly and be aware of the dangers of driving under the influence and the consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction in Arizona.

Arizona DUI lawyers Corso Law Group know from experience that St. Patrick’s Day means an increase in Arizona DUI arrests because the alcohol-fueled holiday results in partygoers not designating a sober driver or not realizing they are incapable of driving.

In 2013, 273 DUI arrests were made statewide from Thursday to Sunday of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, just shy of the more than 280 arrests made in 2012.Arizona DUI Charges

Although police believe that this number is not terribly high compared to other December holidays, any number of drunk drivers is still a danger to themselves and those around them, which is why it’s important to remember that the only way to prevent DUI related accidents is to never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Holidays like St. Patrick’s Day mean that more people are engaging in behavior that can land them in jail for an alcohol-related offense,” said John M. Rhude, Esq., a Corso Law Group founding partner.

Both Rhude and his law firm partner Christopher P. Corso know the hazards of drinking and driving. The pair previously prosecuted DUIs, DWIs and OUIs for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Combined, they have handled more than 15,000 DUI cases as prosecutors and defense attorneys.

“It’s important that Arizona residents arm themselves with the facts if they’re suspected of driving under the influence,” Rhude said.

For people suspected of a DUI in Arizona, Rhude cautions that they understand their rights including the right to remain silent; only providing insurance, registration and identification; and refusing to submit to all field sobriety tests. According to Rhude, a blood and alcohol test is the only test a person suspected of drunk driving should take.

Arizona takes DUI laws very seriously, Rhude said, even for first time offenders. Any person found guilty of drinking and driving is required to serve a minimum of 24 hours in jail, even if there were no damages or injuries involved.

Heavy fines are also included with DUI convictions and can be as high as $2,500 plus additional charges. Other penalties assessed include suspension of driving privileges, probation and the installation of an ignition interlock device.

“DUI is a serious offense and something that no person should take lightly,” Corso said. “When you’re armed with the facts, it makes it even more vital that you have a designated driver if you plan on drinking on St. Patrick’s Day.”

Every DUI defense case in Arizona is different, and the outcome is dependent upon the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the DUI charges, which makes having an experienced Arizona DUI defense attorney even more important.

In addition to DUIs and DWIs, the Arizona criminal defense attorneys at Corso Law Group handle myriad criminal cases, including domestic violence defense, possession of drugs, felony drug charges, photo radar, criminal speeding, disorderly conduct and marijuana possession.

Corso Law Group attorneys do everything in their power to protect defendants’ families and advocate for their rights. They have the experience and expertise to deal with DUI charges in Arizona and will fight to get the charges dismissed while counseling the accused’s family.

To schedule a free consultation, please visit www.corsolawgroup.com or call (480) 471-4616. Corso Law Group, PLLC is located at 14500 N. Northsight Blvd., Suite 116 in Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260.

Embattled Child Abuse Agency Abolished by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer abolished the state’s Child Protective Services (CPS) minutes before delivering her State of the State address on Monday, Jan. 13.

Minutes before delivering what many consider to be her last address, Brewer signed an executive order abolishing the troubled agency.

The announcement surprised lawmakers, as did Brewer’s proposal that the agency’s duties should now fall under a new cabinet-level department that would report directly to Brewer.Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

“It is evident that our child welfare system is broken, impeded by years of structural and operational failures,” Brewer said during her annual address.

The announcement came as state officials continue to sort through more than 6,500 cases that CPS admitted had not been investigated, despite reports of abuse and neglect.

Brewer announced that she would favor reform of the system, and on, Jan. 13, officially created a new Division of Child Safety and Family Services with a director who would report directly to her. The Arizona governor would need the support of lawmakers to establish such a department.

On Jan. 30, the Arizona Legislature approved a $6.8 million appropriation that will allow Brewer’s updated agency to immediately hire 192 new workers. $1.1 million will go to the current budget and another $5.7 million will go to the new agency, ABS 15 and the AP report.

Currently, almost 7,000 cases are being reviewed by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Clarence Carter, director of Arizona’s Department of Economic Security, revealed the uninvestigated reports on Nov. 21, placing five CPS workers on leave as officials investigated the claims. In late December, officials announced that nearly 1,700 of the 6,500 cases had been reviewed and cleared.

Brewer’s announcement ended the tenure of Carter and replaced him with Charles Flanagan, who oversees Arizona’s Department of Juvenile Corrections.

More troubling, however is the fact that there is no standard for making a report, causing many illegitimate claims to be mixed in with legitimate claims. Because of this level of scrutiny, our experience has shown that many frivolous claims are investigated when they should be dropped, keeping investigators from the real claims of abuse that need a closer review.

A few questions to consider regarding the proposed reform:

– How does the Brewer proposal actually solve the problems of CPS?

– Will the new agency see an increase in investigators, allowing them sufficient time to investigate each claim?

– Will the law of mandatory reporting and mandatory investigating be changed to benefit CPS?

– How will this new investigating agency identify the problems that led to the original CPS controversies?

Brewer also told lawmakers she is hoping to create a campaign against human trafficking that will strengthen laws, better protect its victims, and end the gruesome crime. She established a Human Trafficking Task Force last year and with its recommendations, plans to improve on their methods of protection, as well as establishing a campaign to give victims of human trafficking the resources and support systems to create a life of their own.