New Tech May Prevent Hot Car Child Deaths

On average, 37 children die every year due to being left in a hot car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Since 1998, a devastating total of 772 children have died due to vehicular heatstroke. It’s heartbreaking that so many young lives have been lost, and although these fatalities are 100% preventable, the number continues to rise each year. Newsweek reported that as of July 24, there have been 28 hot car deaths reported so far, with an additional 3 child hot car deaths currently under investigation.

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It is difficult to imagine that a parent or guardian could forget their child in the car, yet according to San Antonio Express News, this is the case for approximately half of the reported heatstroke incidents. While stories of children being intentionally left in hot vehicles receive a lot of media attention, this type of hot car fatality occurs less frequently. Parents do not always have to be directly involved, because the NHTSA claims that approximately every 3 in 10 heat stroke fatalities take place when children are playing and decide to climb into unattended, unlocked vehicles.

In just a few minutes, the inside of a car can climb up to 125 °F. This is a dangerous temperature for any human, but it is especially dangerous for children because, “a child's body temperatures rise 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s.” For perspective, according to the NHTSA, “a core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.” Temperature increases occur in the first 10 minutes after the ignition is turned off, regardless of whether the windows are rolled down or not. That is why, even if the windows are left cracked, it is never acceptable to leave children alone in vehicle.

In recent years, technology has been developed to help remind parents to check their backseat, with the goal of preventing children from being left in the vehicle. Since over half of the hot car death cases involve caretakers unintentionally forgetting children, increased use of this new technology has the potential to significantly lower the annual fatality rate. San Antonio Express News recently published an article naming three technology-based options parents can take advantage of to protect the safety of their child, which are discussed below.

In early 2018, car-seat company Cybex released “SensorSafe” technology into their Sirona model car seat. The chest buckle of the car seat is connected via bluetooth to the car and the caretaker’s cell phone. When the buckle is closed, a bluetooth connection is activated. Once the vehicle’s ignition is turned off, a series of alerts are sent to the car dashboard and the connected phone. The car buckle must be unclasped in 4 minutes, or else additional alerts will be sent, not only to the parent, but also to emergency contacts listed. Parents can choose to click either “ignore” or “acknowledge” on the notification itself, showing that they were indeed aware that their child was still in the car seat. Once the belt is unclasped, the bluetooth connection is deactivated. While the Sirona car seat retails for $329.99, it uses cutting edge technology that could be extremely helpful to parents who can afford to purchase it.

Waze

Waze

Car manufacturers are also aware of the problem surrounding child hot car deaths. In 2017, General Motors added a rear-seat reminder system to over 20 of their models. It’s only standard on 10 Chevrolet models, but it can be selected as an add on feature to others. It simply works by sending the driver an alert to remind them that they opened the rear door of their vehicle after they turn off the ignition. This is a great option for any parent looking to buy a new car, but is not practical for those who are currently content with the vehicle they own. For these parents, they can download an app called Waze. In 2016, the popular navigation app added a “Child Reminder” feature, which when activated, sends the driver a notification to, “check your car before you leave” once the destination is reached. This solution is completely free and only requires that the parent inputs their destination once they enter the vehicle, which they might already have done to receive navigational directions.

Most people have experienced the feeling of discomfort after getting into a car that has been sitting in the sun. Now imagine being a child and being unable to escape the excruciating heat. This is a situation that should never happen. Taking advantage of technology like the Cybex “SensorSafe” car seat or the Waze App “Child Reminder” feature can help prevent the fatalities that result from leaving kids unintentionally in vehicles. However, technology may not be an option for all families. Something all parents can do that is free and simple is to, “look before you lock,” as recommended by the NHTSA. It’s an easy habit that could potentially be life saving. With daily life increasingly revolving around cellphones, it is even suggested that parents put their phones or something important like a briefcase or groceries in the backseat to help remind them to check for their child. Ultimately, parents need to find a effective solution, whether it involves technology or not, that works for them and ensures their child does not become another statistic.


Unfortunately, stories of children and pets left alone in hot cars every time summer rolls around has become all too common. While it’s easy to get distracted in today’s nonstop world, parents need to make the safety of their children their number one priority. No matter how hectic life gets, it is never okay to leave a child or a pet in a hot car. Parents should always check the back seat when they reach their destination, and lock their car after making sure no one is inside. For a free legal consultation with an experienced accident attorney regarding any type of auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

July Is UV Safety Awareness Month

Summer is in full swing in Michigan! That means plenty of sunshine, heat, and lots of time spent outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather. Whether heading to the beach, to a lake, to a picnic, or on a road trip, be careful of the summer sun!

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There’s no better time to talk about sun safety, because according to WebMD, July is UV Safety Month! Everyone loves sunshine, but it’s easy to forget that with the sun comes it’s powerful ultraviolet rays. While the danger of spending hours under the sun is well known, less than an hour of sun exposure can still cause harm. In fact, all it takes is 15 minutes for UV rays to damage your skin! This means that sunscreen is essential even for a quick stroll to the corner store. The warning to wear sunscreen is repeated frequently, however it’s not always taken to heart, as fewer than a third of US adults apply sunscreen on a daily basis.

Sunscreen is a beach bag essential, but it’s not necessarily an item that drivers reach for every time they get in the car.  Drivers and passengers may feel safe from the sun during their summer road trips, however the side and rear windows of motor vehicles do not offer full protection from UV rays. The driver’s left side is particularly at risk for UV exposure. But fear not! The Skin Cancer Foundation has published some safety tips drivers can follow to enjoy the sunshine while keep their skin protected, when hitting the road.

How To Prevent UV Exposure While Driving

1. Treat Your Vehicle to Window Film

The sun's ultraviolet radiation is associated with most cases of skin cancer, which will affect one in five Americans over a lifetime. UV radiation reaches us in the form of shortwave UVB and long-wave UVA rays, but glass blocks only UVB effectively. Although car windshields are partially treated to filter out UVA, the side windows let in about 63 percent of the sun's UVA radiation; rear windows are also unprotected, leaving back seat passengers exposed. There is, however, a solution. Transparent window film screens out almost 100 percent of UVB and UVA without reducing visibility, and is available in all 50 states. If you have window film installed, remember that it protects you only when the windows are closed.

2. Keep Sunscreen in the Car

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A sunscreen should be on hand for quick reapplication during long drives (The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends reapplying every two hours). Look for one with an SPF of 15+ and some combination of the following UVA-blocking ingredients: avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.


3. Skip the Sunroof, Skip the Convertible

Drivers' heads and necks receive the most UV exposure, so it's no surprise that Butler's team found over 82 percent of skin cancers on the patients' heads or necks. A solid, closed roof is your best bet. If you have a sunroof or a convertible top, wear a hat, preferably a wide-brimmed one (3" or greater all around). At the very least, be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed areas of the face, neck, and scalp.

The second most common area for skin cancers was the arm, so, in addition to applying sunscreen, avoid propping your elbow up on the open window while you drive-keep both arms inside the car, and your hands on the wheel. Long-sleeved shirts are also a great sun-protective option.

Keep a hat in the car, along with your sunscreen and UV-blocking sunglasses, and you'll have a sun protection travel kit to see you safely to your destination.

The skin is the body’s largest organ, “covering a total area of approximately 20 square feet!” It plays a fundamental role in keeping the human working properly, therefore it should be given plenty of attention and protection. Although drivers only expose a small portion of their skin while driving, the sun’s powerful UV rays can still cause severe damage. A study from Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (SCF) found that in the US, around 53% of skin cancers developed on the left side of the body. According to Susan T. Butler, MD, a coauthor of the study, "The increase in left-sided skin cancers may be from the UV exposure we get when driving a car."

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Sunshine can not only damage a driver’s skin, but it can also impair their vision while on the road, which may lead to car accidents that result in serious injuries. As reported by Business Today, “Extreme brightness and distracting reflections can impair visibility when driving and be the cause of a freak accident.” Sunglasses are an excellent option to help prevent accidents, and the most effective pair will also protect a driver’s eyes from UV-A and UV-B rays. Soon enough, snow will blanket Michigan once again, so enjoy that summer sun, but don’t skimp on the sunscreen and don’t forget to wear sunglasses!


With summer well underway, Michiganders are out on the road in full force, driving to the lake, going on road trips, and even just enjoying the snow-free open roads. With so many cars on the streets, car accidents are very likely to occur. If you or a loved one has been the victim of an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free legal consultation with an experienced accident attorney.

2017 Has Record Number of Hot Car Child Deaths

In June, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog wrote about a newborn child who was abandoned in an unknown car during an extremely hot summer day. While this Grand Rapids, Michigan baby was thankfully uninjured, issues relating to children being left alone in cars are only becoming more urgent as 2017 has seen more hot car deaths than any year before.

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As reported by CNN, the end of July 2017 marks the highest number of hot car deaths ever recorded from the beginning of the year to the end of July. As of July 31st, 29 children died of heatstroke and other heat related problems after being left alone, trapped inside a sweltering hot car. The previous record was held in 2010 after 28 children died from heatstroke before August 1st. Ultimately, 48 children died in hot car incidents in 2010.

In 2001, Jan Null, a certified consulting meteorologist for the past 40 years with the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at San Jose State University, began recording hot car deaths. Null conducted an experiment when he first began researching temperature levels of parked cars that are left to absorb heat on warm days. He placed a thermometer outside of the car that measured the natural outside temperature, and then placed one inside a car that had air conditioning on, but had just been parked and locked. The results were surprising.

In the first ten minutes, Null found that the temperature can rise 19°F (Fahrenheit) in a sitting parked car. When conducting the experiment at 70°F outside, he stated that the temperature inside the car rose to 89°F after ten minutes. Similarly, when he conducted the experiment starting with 90°F temperature, the car’s temperature rose to 109°F in just ten minutes. When commenting on his experiment, Null stated, "you get to these very high temperatures very rapidly. How hot it got was one surprise, but how fast it got to a deadly temperature was even more unexpected.” Null further explains that among medical professionals, 104°F is generally accepted as heat stroke range, and 107°F can prove fatal to the human body. According to Null, the temperature inside a parked car on an 80°F day can rise to 109°F just after 20 minutes! 

Hot Car Child Death

So, why is this increase in car temperature on a hot day important for child safety? Well, CNN also noted that “according to the Mayo Clinic, kids are far more susceptible to falling victim to summer heat because their bodies are not fully developed, thus rendering them less able to cope with extremely hot temperatures. Children's body temperatures rise five times faster than that of an adult’s. The danger of a rising temperature is that it can cause heatstroke. Heatstroke can result in permanent brain, heart or kidney damage, and even death. The temperature of the body rises because when a person is dehydrated, they lose their ability to sweat. That is, they lose their ability to rid their body of heat and cool themselves down, which results in the rapid increase of one’s body temperature.”

According to Jan Null, an average of 37 children die each year due to hot car related incidents. Since 1998, he states that 729 children have died of heatstroke after being trapped inside of cars. 

In response to these issues, legislation has just recently been passed to help prevent wrongful deaths of children who are left alone in hot cars. On July 31, 2017 U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats Act (HOT CARS Act 2017). According to Kids and Cars.org, the U.S. Department of Transportation requires in this legislation, that in the next two years, all new vehicles must be equipped with visual and audio technology that notifies drivers to check their backseat for children before they exit their car. The Act also requires research into the implementation of these reminder systems into older cars as well. 

General Motors has already implemented technology in their cars to to remind parents to check their back seats for children. The Rear Seat Reminder is a feature that detects rear door usage rather than any objects on the seat. The feature is designed to just remind drivers to check their back seats, regardless of what might be there. 

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Jan Null believes the HOT CARS Act and new safety features implemented in cars will help deter heat illness-related deaths of children, however, he warns that they will not protect all children. Null explains that the Act fails to address two other causes of hot car deaths: children gaining access to vehicles by themselves and then being unable to exit the car, and parents just making the very poor choice of leaving their children alone in a car for a period of time. He believes making sure cars are always locked, teaching children that cars are not an area for play, and making sure car keys are always out of reach of children, will help deter hot car incidents as well. 

Children should never be left alone in cars, regardless of the circumstance and period of time in which they will be alone. Stories of children dying from being left alone in hot cars are both tragic and sickening. That fact that Americans broke the record for most recorded hot car deaths to children in the first seven months of this year, should be cause for grave concern. However, it is reassuring to know that more is being done to address this issue such as the introduction of the HOT CAR Act of 2017 and designing of car safety features to remind drivers to check their back seat for children before exiting their vehicle. The bottom line is that children are too young to cope with intense weather conditions, and must always be supervised and should never be left alone in a hot car.


The 23rd Annual Woodward Dream Cruise Is Coming Up!

Residents and visitors to the Motor City are rejoicing as one of Metro Detroit’s most famous events is quickly approaching. The 23rd annual Woodward Dream Cruise will take place on Saturday, August 19th, 2017. For the first time, the Woodward Dream Cruise will be sponsored by Ford Motor Company because General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet brand discretely dropped their sponsorship after 6 years. Mark LaNeve, Vice President of US marketing sales and services for Ford, told the Detroit News, “(The) Dream Cruise is all about the sheer joy and freedom of the automobile, and Ford has always celebrated car culture. From Fiesta to GT, we’re obsessed with making driving fun, and we’re committed to celebrating that passion with enthusiasts of all ages in the birthplace of motoring.” 

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The Dream Cruise originated as a fundraiser for a soccer field in Ferndale in 1995. Nelson House and a group of volunteers were hoping to recreate the old school car heydays of the 1950s and 1960s on Woodward Avenue, which was America’s first highway. To House's surprise, 250,000 people showed up! That was 10 times the expected number! Today, the Woodward Dream Cruise has evolved into the world’s largest one-day automotive event. The Detroit News describes how “spectators and cruisers travel to Metro Detroit, the birthplace of the American automobile, to demonstrate and participate in an event that celebrates an ongoing love affair with the automobile.”

The popularity of the yearly event only confirms the passion for old cars and connections to the auto industry’s long history that people everywhere enjoy. Each year, the Woodward Dream Cruise contributes $237 million to southeast Michigan's economy, along with attracting more than 1.3 million people to the event. The Detroit Free Press says 28% of these visitors are from outside the region. What keeps spectators coming back from more is the consistency of the old cars combined with the latest in motor vehicle technology.

Car Crash Lawyer Michigan Woodward Dream Cruise

President and CEO of the Dream Cruise, Tony Michaels, says, “There’s nostalgia, but we also have to think of younger generations,” other than the 1960s muscle car fans that first originated the event in 1995. Detroit automakers will display their latest performance and technology vehicles alongside the classics, appealing to all ages.  

The Woodward Dream Cruise itself might just be a one day event, but there are some other car related festivities happening in the Metro Detroit area in the days leading up to it. The week leading up to the Cruise will begin with Roadkill Nights on August 12, with Dodges drag racing down a part of Woodward Avenue in Pontiac, Michigan. Last year, the drag racing event was held the day before the Woodward Dream Cruise, but the hope is that moving it a week earlier will make it easier for more people to attend. 

As for the Woodward Dream Cruise attractions, the General Motors design staff will showcase their personal collector cars from 1 PM -7 PM on Tuesday, August 15, at Memorial Park, which is located at the intersection of Woodward Avenue and 13 Mile Road in Royal Oak. There will also be displays in Royal Oak, Michigan at Duggan’s Irish Pub and at Normandy Plaza. Ford owner clubs will also show their vehicles at Memorial Park in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan. 

The City of Ferndale, Michigan also has its own plans for the Woodward Dream Cruise as they have planned 3 days of Dream Cruise festivities beginning on Thursday, August 17. The events include a live broadcast of Detroit Public TV’s “Dream Cruise Road Show,” vintage police, fire, and military vehicles, TV and movie cars including the Batmobile, Munster Koach, and Monkeemobile, monster trucks, Mustangs of all eras, and a free outdoor screening of 1984 “Ghostbusters” movie. 

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The official start of the Woodward Dream Cruise will technically be on Friday, August 18, with a ribbon cutting at Woodward and 9 Mile in Ferndale, followed by a lights and sirens parade up the avenue in vintage emergency vehicles. As the countdown to the big day begins, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC wants to encourage motor vehicle safety at all times for spectators and drivers alike, so as to help prevent any car crashes or pedestrian accidents. Now, polish your old ‘Stang and roll down the roof, because the Dream Cruise is about to shift into full gear! 


There's just something about driving around in an antique convertible, top down and hair blowing in the summer breeze, that attracts thousands of people to the Woodward Dream Cruise each year. With motor vehicles of every shape and make cruising around Metro Detroit, it is hard for anyone to not enjoy the classic Michigan event. However, having so many drivers and spectators around so many vehicles can also increase the risk of car accidents and pedestrain crashes happening. If you or someone you know have been injured in an automobile crash, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Overheated Car? Here's A Few Tips.

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It’s rush hour, the freeway is packed, it's 90 degrees outside and the air conditioning is at full blast in the car. While most drivers are busy complaining about the stop and go traffic, they may not notice their car's temperature gauge edging past the middle line and slowly creeping toward ‘H’. Then the ‘check engine light’ comes on and the driver realizes they didn’t check their fluids last weekend like they were supposed to. Just as this comes to mind, the vehicle begins to lag and stutter and soon smoke plumes began to rise from underneath the hood of the car. Now they are stuck on the side of the road.

How Do Cars Overheat?

There are actually quite a few things that can lead a car to overheat. Luckily however, many of the ways cars overheat are often times fixable and even avoidable. As mentioned above, one way a car can overheat, is if not enough engine coolant is put into the vehicle, causing the remaining fluid to congeal and no longer circulate between the radiator and the engine. When the coolant is unable to circulate, it causes the engine to work harder and burn out. The engine congealed coolant can also form a blockage and prevent the radiator from fairly distributing the heat from the engine. Other possible factors that can cause a blockage are, a build up of inside or outside fluids, the thermostat’s flap refusing to open and close, and even an unknown or forgotten object getting lodged in the cooling system.

A car engine's cooling system is a very temperamental thing that should be kept an eye on, in order to sport potential leaks that can allow air to get inside the system and form a bubble, which in turn causes coolant fluid to be blocked from reaching where it needs to go.

Another leading cause of cars overheating, is a failed water pump. The cooling system inside a car relies on water to keep the vehicle at a reasonable temperature, and without it can lead a car to overheat within minutes.

Overheated Car Tips

With the dog days of summer in full effect, now is the time to brush up on what to do when a vehicle is overheated. Thankfully, AAMCO, an American transmission repair company, has a few tips on how drivers can prevent their car from overheating and what to do in case it does.

Source: GIPHY, Fox Broadcasting Company's  The X-Files

Source: GIPHY, Fox Broadcasting Company's The X-Files

  • “If the air conditioning is on, turn it off and roll down the windows.” Then, turn the car's heat on instead and roll down the windows to reroute some of the heat from the engine.
  • If the car's temperature continues to rise, it’s best to turn on the hazard lights and maneuver the vehicle to a safe area. If the driver feels that the area they are in is not safe, AAMCO assures that a stop and go method until arriving at a safe destination is reasonable, as long as the driver waits long enough for the car to cool a bit before driving onward.
  • Once a driver is in a well lit and safe space, they should take note of any possible smoke rising from the hood of the car and see if the hood feels extremely hot to the touch. This will help them determine if it is safe to open up the hood of the car and proceed to analyze if the engine or the radiator is the issue. However, touching anything is a big no-no until everything has cooled down.
  • It should go without saying that an overheating car should be immediately fixed by a state licensed mechanic in order to prevent possible car fires and accidents. A driver could become anxious and distracted while driving and trying to handle the fact that their car is overheating, causing other drivers to panic or react rashly.
  • It usually takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour for the engine and radiator to cool, after which, the driver can safely proceed to check the engine's coolant to see where the fluid level exactly is. If the coolant seems dangerously low or none seem to be inside, a 50/50 mixture of water and engine coolant is the best way to go.
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  • If the engine coolant level seems fine, the next place to look is the hoses. The hoses could have possibly been severed or have a leak. Look around for any puddles of fluid on the ground, and if that help find the leak, listen to see if any fluids are draining from the car.
  • “Restart the car and check the temperature gauges on the dash.” Then, eyeball the temperature gauge to see if it still reads in the red. If not, proceed forward, but if it still reads that the car is hot, turn it off and wait a while for the vehicle to cool. After a while, if the car is still overheating, there are one of two possible explanations-either the temperature gauge is broken or the vehicle needs to be serviced.

Though these tips don't guarantee that inexperienced people will be able to fix an overheating car by themselves, without the help of a licensed professional, they may be good temporary suggestions that drivers can consider while waiting for a professional to come to their aid. At the very least, drives who are concerned that their car is overheated or sense that their motor vehicle is acting up while on the road, should immediately pull over, in order to avoid a car collision, and then call for help. The last thing drivers want is their car to stop in the middle of the highway or an intersection, bringing on the risk of becoming involved in a car accident.


An overheating car is not something to take lightly. Drivers should make sure to service their vehicles regularly, and especially when the 'check engine' light comes on, to prevent future wear and tear on car parts that can hinder a motor vehicle's performance. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney today.  

Stay Safe At The Summer Drive-In Theater

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Summer is in full swing, and with kids everywhere out of school, parents are looking for ways to keep their children busy. While the pool, park, and zoo are excellent options for a fun day out, many Michigan families are spending summer evenings at the drive-in movie theater. A drive-in typically takes place in a large parking lot, where vehicles can pay to park and watch movies on theater-size big screens, as they sit comfortably in their cars and listen to the sound on the radio. Some drive-ins even have concession stands where people can buy snacks and drinks. The drive-in movie theater is an entertaining way for parents to use their cars for something other than driving, while making the kids happy, too.

The drive-in movie theater is not a new concept. In fact, they weren’t even called drive-ins originally, but a “park-in” because of the parking lot movie theater setting. In the summer of 1933, motorists parked their cars on the grounds of Park-In Theaters in Camden, New Jersey, the site of the first ever drive-in movie theater. As the idea caught on, more drive-ins popped up all across the country. According to HISTORY.com, one of the largest drive-ins featured parking space for 2,500 cars, a kid’s playground, and a full service restaurant, spread out across 28 acres. If only extravagant drive-ins like that existed today, parents would never have to worry about their children being bored!

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Today, however, there are less than 350 drive-in theater locations across the country. Luckily for Michigan residents, the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association (UDITOA) says our state is home to 8 different theaters with 18 total movie screens. Metro Detroit is home to two drive-ins: the USA Hockey Arena Summer Drive-In located just off M-14 in Plymouth, and the Ford Drive-In in Dearborn. Movies begin at dusk, and films change weekly, showing everything from Disney cartoons to the latest action blockbuster. 

However, just because vehicles are parked at the drive-in, does not mean they aren’t still dangerous. Children often run around and play in the parking lots at a drive-in as they wait for the movie to start, putting them at risk for a severe injury or fatality from a moving vehicle nearby. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) recommends summer motor vehicle safety tips, including tips for kids.

Motorist and Child Safety Tips for Drive-In Theaters

  1. When backing out of a parking space at the drive-in, walk around your vehicle first to look for children running and playing. Children playing are often oblivious to cars around them.
  2. When using a backup camera, it is important to remember that kids might be out of view, but may still be in the path of a vehicle. Additionally, all vehicles have blind spots that increase in size as the height and size of the car increases.
  3. There are lots of people and vehicles moving around upon entrance and exit to the drive-in, so drivers must pay attention to their surroundings and parents must watch out for their children so as to prevent a motor vehicle from backing or running into a pedestrian.

Summer drive-ins transform everyday vehicles from modes of transportation to a relaxing place to kick back and catch the latest movie. The rare and old-school format of drive-ins make them fun for families of all ages. Still, warm weather calls for summer safety tips, and safety at the drive-in is just as important as on the roads. Anytime a motor vehicle is involved is an opportunity to practice automobile accident prevention safety, and the drive-in movie theater is no exception. 


Summer is a great time to enjoy the warm weather at a local drive-in movie theater. Children playing at the drive-in should watch for moving vehicles and drivers must be aware of their surroundings, in order to prevent an injury or fatality from a car crash. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Tips On Driving During Heavy Winds and Storms

A couple of months ago, in February 2017, a semi-truck driving on a highway got caught in high winds and toppled over, landing on top of an unoccupied police cruiser. Fox News reported that the truck driver drove the semi after ignoring a high wind advisory banning commercial vehicles from that particular area of the highway, close to nearby Elk Mountain. Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant Kelly Finn said that wind speeds were close to 70 m.p.h. at the time of the accident.  

While Michigan isn't currently experiencing such a magnitude of winds, forecasts expect thunderstorms for the rest of the week. This week's thunderstorms could deter Michiganders from driving to the beach or relaxing out on the porch. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC would therefore like to take the time to remind Michigan motorists how they can safely drive in severe weather conditions, including high winds and heavy rain. 

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Safety Tips for Driving In High Winds and Storms

In bouts of extreme weather, the first safety precaution drivers can take is to remain in a specific location, such as home, and avoid driving in dangerous situations completely. 

If venturing out into the bad weather is unavoidable, the Defensive Drivers Team suggests that drivers check local weather reports and take note of any high winds, blizzard, flooding, or other extreme weather advisories that have been issued in the areas they plan to drive in.

When driving in a storm, motorists should remember to pay close attention to the road. Drivers may better focus on the road by turning down the radio, silencing or ignoring cell phones, and properly securing any pets in the vehicle so they don't cause a disturbance. Minimizing these distractions keeps drivers alert for instances in which storm debris or trees may be blown into the driver's path. Drivers should also remember to keep their headlights on since storms typically darken the sky. 

In addition, drivers should give large vehicles such as semi-trucks, tractors, RVs, and buses more space, as these vehicles may be more difficult to control in extreme weather. No one can anticipate sudden gusts of wind, so driving slower than normal and making lots of extra space for other motorists on the road may help ensure motorist safety. Drivers should also take safer, local routes and avoid speedy highways, rocky terrain, and routes through infrastructure such as tunnels and overpasses, which can potentially be damaged during storms. 

As for driving in windy weather, head and tail winds, or winds coming from the front and back of a vehicle, are not too difficult to deal with. A slight adjustment in speed or acceleration may allow the driver to compensate for these winds. On the other hand, side winds are the ones that create the most trouble for drivers. If strong enough, these winds can blow a vehicle off course. In the event that a driver finds themselves caught in a side wind, they should remember to not panic or move the car too abruptly if they feel the vehicle being pushed in the other direction, and instead move smoothly and gently to stay on the road. 

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Tips For Driving In Heavy Rain

High winds and storms also bring precipitation. Heavy rainfall or a large snow melt may cause puddles to form, many with depths too hard to judge from behind the steering wheel. RAC, a British automotive service company, warns, "If it’s clearly too deep for your car, find another way to your destination." Drivers might find themselves in a harrowing position if driving through a puddle that is particularly deep and may cause their car to float. Water can also cause a vehicle to stall or breakdown. It is important to ignore the urge to try and crank the vehicle back to life in order to avoid further damaging the engine. Instead, drivers should wait for a professional to arrive and attend to the vehicle. This might even serve as an alarm for other drivers to follow safety tips to possibly avoid a serious car accident. 

With the looming threat of thunderstorms in Michigan this week, drivers and passengers are encouraged to follow these extreme weather safety tips to stay safe and help prevent an accident like the one which occurred in Wyoming. It is difficult to predict what the sky will do next, but motorists should practice driving safely in extreme weather, in order to reach their destinations before the next lightning bolt hits. 


All motorists could benefit from paying attention to the road and heeding wind and storm advisories this summer. If you or a loved one have ever been in a car accident, caused by extreme weather conditions, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. Call 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced attorney, today.

Birmingham, Michigan's Recent City Updates

The City of Birmingham, Michigan is effecting safety improvements, fixing roads, and making parking easier for everyone who spends time in this beautiful city. Read further to check out the latest local news developments.

Internet Purchase Exchange Zone

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The Birmingham Police Department has set up an internet purchase exchange location for buyers and sellers using websites such as Craigslist to buy and sell items. The zone is in the parking lot on the south side of City Hall, located at 151 Martin Street, with a sign posted in the designated area. 

Though residents are encouraged to make exchanges during daylight hours, the exchange zone is well-lit if it is necessary to meet after dark. The lot is also under video surveillance at all times. The internet purchase exchange location was established to minimize potential fraud and robberies that can be associated with these types of transactions. 

After-Hours Drop Box

A drop box behind City Hall is currently accepting parking tickets, absentee ballots, property tax paperwork, water bills, and other city documents, for those looking to take care of business after hours or during holidays. The green box is located in the parking lot on the south side of the building.

Local Construction Projects

Three local streets are being reconstructed this summer.

  • Oak Street, from Glenhurst Drive to Chesterfield Avenue. This street is the student drop-off area for drivers of children attending Quarton Elementary School. The street will be narrowed to allow sufficient space for the construction of a separate two-lane drop-off area. The work is scheduled to be finished before school starts in the fall. 
  • Poppleton Avenue, from Knox Avenue to Maple Road. This road is the entrance to the Kroger shopping center parking lot, so it will be kept open while under construction. The work will be done in phases to allow continued access to businesses. Residents living north of this construction area will be encouraged to use a different entrance into the subdivision for the five weeks the construction is expected to take place. 
  • Lawndale Ave, from Oakland Avenue to Woodward Avenue. This one-way section of road will be reconstructed to add extra green space to the traffic island in between Lawndale Avenue and Woodward Avenue, making the road 4 feet narrower than it currently is.
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Other local streets will be resurfaced with new asphalt during September and October. Those streets are:

  • Ashford Lane-South off of Quarton Road.
  • Millrace Court-South off of Lakeside Drive.
  • Hidden Ravines Drive, Trail, and Court-West off of Southfield Road. 

In addition to road construction projects, several sidewalk concrete repair projects are currently underway throughout Birmingham. All sidewalk repairs in the area north of Maple Road, between the Rouge River and Adams Road, are scheduled to be fixed, along with repairs on the northeast corner of the Central Business District.  

Traffic Control Technology at Parking Structures

The City of Birmingham installed new traffic control equipment earlier this year to make parking more reliable at all of the City's parking structures. Drivers must use a credit/debit card or IN card (a card that can be loaded with different amounts of money) to pay for parking. The system does not accept cash or require tickets, helping to prevent a backup at exits where drivers that stop to look for their tickets may hold up traffic. 

Michigan Car Crash Attorney

IN cards can be purchased at the SP+ Parking Office at the Chester Street Parking Structure or at the Treasurer's Office in City Hall. They cost $10, and can then be loaded with $25, $50, $100, or $200. IN cards can also be purchased with a zero-dollar balance, for drivers parking under two hours. The parking office at 180 Chester can reload the card if the balance is running low. 

Other new technology that has recently been installed at local parking structures is a parking widget on the City website. Visitors can check the number of available spaces at each parking structure by visiting www.bhamgov.org or by using the mobile-enabled feature on their smart phones to click on the green and white parking logo at the top right corner of the screen. Users are also able to review maps of the parking location and get directions to them. 

Additional improvements coming soon include new signs outside each parking structure that will display in real time  the number of spaces still available. Drivers do not even have to be in Birmingham to access parking information with the latest technology for the parking structures. 

With so much going on around Birmingham, it is important to stay safe and be aware of one’s surroundings, to help prevent accidents from happening. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC cares about the local community, and helps keep residents informed so injuries don’t occur. 


Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. Staying informed about improvements and construction in the community may prevent injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured in a Birmingham, Michigan automobile accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Newborn Baby Abandoned In Unknown Car

Child Hot Car Lawyer Michigan

A visitor to Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI discovered a newborn baby abandoned in a car in the hospital parking lot, on the morning of June 12, 2017 and alerted police. The baby was not found in its parents' car but in an unknown man's vehicle. Officials are currently working to get to the bottom of the case. It has been reported that the baby’s 24-year-old mother is currently cooperating with investigators. However, it is still unclear whether or not the baby’s mother knows the man in whose car the baby was found.

Luckily, the baby, who appears to have been born within the last week, is in good health. However, the baby's abandonment is even more alarming because of the recent hot Summer weather in Michigan. Temperatures outside on Monday, June 12th reached the mid-90s, turning the inside of vehicles into ovens. It is of course, never safe to leave children or pets inside hot cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that from 1998-2016, 700 children died from heatstroke in vehicles. 54% of these deaths were due to the child being forgotten in a car by a caregiver. While a few minutes in a hot car might sound harmless, in just ten minutes, a car can heat up to 20 degrees higher than the outside temperature, which can be enough to kill children who are left in vehicles. Additionally, children are often too young to alert others for help if they are trapped in an abandoned car.

Source:  Kars4Kids.org

It is therefore important to “check for baby” before leaving the car, to ensure child hot car safety. Making it a habit to check the backseat before leaving the car can prevent children from being left behind on hot days. The non-profit organization Kars4Kids wants to help bring awareness to this important subject. They have developed an app to help forgetful parents remember that there is someone alive and breathing in the back of their vehicle, among the mountains of groceries.

They have created an app, called Kars4Kids Safety, which is designed to set off an alarm every time a phone that has the app leaves a vehicle. It does this by connecting to a car's Bluetooth technology to track when a user goes in and out of a vehicle. A customizable ringtone and option to add your child's photo make remembering to double check one's car as easy as posting on Facebook about your baby's first trip to the pool. Considering that even with windows rolled two inches down, a car can overheat at mercury-defying rates, Kars4Kids is helping fight for child car safety.  

Not only is it important to make sure children aren't left in cars, but it is equally important to not allow them to break into a vehicle when adult attention is turned away. Cars may look like giant playgrounds to small children, but in reality they are powerful, dangerous machines that should only be used for driving and not for hide and seek. By locking the car when it is not in use and by keeping keys out of reach of children, children can be stopped from being able to get into a vehicle and potentially trapping themselves inside.  

Michigan Child Car Safety Lawyer

While most parents and caretakers unintentionally leave children and pets in cars because they were distracted and forgot about the quiet dog or sleeping baby in the back, others think it's ok to leave a child in a car because they'll be right back in just one minute. While these actions are dangerous to the child, they are not done with ill intent. The Grand Rapids baby on the other hand was presumably, intentionally, abandoned in a hot car in a hospital parking lot. It's a shame that this is how the mother decided to leave her child when, according to CBS Detroit, the State of Michigan allows people to surrender their newborn babies to hospitals and other emergency care providers, without having to worry about criminal charges. In fact, the mother could have left the baby safely with a health care professional in the hospital itself, where she presumably gave birth, and not outside in a hot car. No matter what, there is no excuse for leaving a child to die alone in a hot vehicle. 

Driving with children always requires extra precautions, particularly in the Summer when scorching hot temperatures make vehicles burn to the touch. With the rescue and shelter resources available around the State of Michigan, there is no reason a child should be left behind. On June 12, a stranger saved a newborn baby's life. Next time, someone might not be there until it is too late.


Children should never be left in car on sweltering hot Summer days, for their own safety. If you so someone you know is in need of legal assistance relating to an incident of child car safety, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.Firm for a free consultation.