Update: Roseville, Michigan Man Ticketed For Warming Up His Car

The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog recently informed blog readers of an incident that happened last winter when a Roseville, Michigan man left his car running in his driveway with the keys still in the ignition. Nick Taylor Trupiano, 24, was given a $128 ticket that he felt was unfair. He conveyed his upset by posting a picture of the citation and a verbal rant on his Facebook page, on which the Roseville police received unkind remarks. The post led to many other Michigan residents to being concerned on how they could warm up their vehicles in the winter without being charged for endangering the public.  

Michigan Winter Car Crash Lawyer

Following this incident, Republican Rep. Holly Hughes introduced Bill 4215 that would allow citizens to leave their keys in the ignition while the car is running on private property - at their own risk. The bill passed in the House and Governor Rick Snyder just officially signed it into law on June 28, 2017. It should be noted however that the bill does not allow for citizens to leave their cars unattended and idle while on the freeway, but only on their private property. 

Another piece of legislature that Snyder approved was for drivers to show proof of their vehicle’s registration by phone or another electronic form along with their auto insurance when asked by a police officer. This measure will help those who like the convenience of having their documents on their phone or simply want to be green, by using less paper.

Now with the bill signed into law, many Michigan residents can rest easy when warming up their cars during the colder weather months. While this news may cause citizens of Michigan to rejoice, they should remember that a car that is left running for more than 10 minutes is essentially wasting gas, while polluting the environment, and causing damage to their car's engine. In fact, most people who live in cold areas don't even realize that warming up their car by letting it idle isn't even practical. Global News was informed by Car Help consultant, Mohamed Bouchama, that, “the car warms up much faster when it’s driving than when it’s idling...As long as your windows and mirrors are clear of snow and frost, you’re good to go." In other words, Michiganders should just take the time to start the car, clear the windows, and then drive, this winter. 

Bill 4215 has saved many motorists from being fined for something most believed was perfectly legal. However, motorists should still be careful of leaving their keys in the car where any person passing by could potentially steal the vehicle. If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Obesity Is A Factor In Motor Vehicle Fatalities

Detroit Car Accident Lawyer

If you made a New Year's resolution to lose weight but find yourself falling off of the workout routine, a study conducted by Berkeley School of Health might give you an extra incentive get back in the gym. In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC), UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation and Research Education Center (SafeTREC) decided to conduct a study on whether or not obesity played a factor in motor vehicle fatalities.

Though the study was published in 2013, this information is even more relevant in 2017 as 1 in every 3 Americans are obese, and since obesity in general is steadily on the rise. The study's results showed that obese drivers are actually 78% more to die in a car crash compared those in the normal-weight category. So, yes, obesity is definitely a factor in car crash deaths.

Co-author and SafeTREC researcher epidemiologist Thomas Rice said, “This study highlights yet another negative consequence of obesity.”

The Higher The BMI, The Higher The Chance of A Car Crash Fatality

Drivers with a body mass index (BMI) under 18 or between 25 to 29.9 are found to have around the same fatality rates as those people with an ideal BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9. The problem comes in for those who have a BMI ranging between 30 and 39.9. Those whose BMI falls between 30 to 34.9 have a 21% increase in risk of death as stated by the SafeTREC’s study. The study also showed that those with a BMI between 35 to 39.9 increase their fatality rates by 51%. Obese drivers with a BMI above 40 have a 81% possibility of death in the event of a motor vehicle fatality. SafeTREC's study also confirmed that woman who are obese are more likely to die in a car crash than their male counterparts. 

In simpler terms, if a male driver was the nation's average male height of 5 feet 9 inches and weighed the national male average of 195.5 pounds with a BMI of 28.5, he would essentially face the same mortality rates as a male that weighs 158 pounds at 5 feet 9 inches with a BMI of 23. However, if a male that was 5 feet 9 inches weighed 220 pounds with a BMI of 32, he increases his chances of death by 21%. 

Vehicle Changes Made For Overweight Drivers

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Researchers of the study suggest that,“it may be the case that passenger vehicles are well designed to protect normal-weight vehicle occupants but are deficient in protecting overweight or obese occupants.”

Rice said, “Vehicle designers are teaching to the test –designing so that crash-test dummies do well, but crash-test dummies are typically normal size adults and children. They’re not designed to account for our nation’s changing body types.”

Now changes are underway starting with vehicle safety and design through test-dummies that are heavier in size to reflect the nation's growing weight. Michigan Medicine trauma surgeon Stewart Wang, M.D., is a collaborator on car safety as the director of the University of Michigan's International Center for Automotive Medicine (ICAM). Dr. Wang offers some perspective to engineers who are designing a safety mechanism that will later be placed into vehicles.

The surgeon says, "crash-test dummies look nothing like my patients...The condition, size and shape of an individual is hugely important in how severe their injuries are in any given crash." Dr. Wang also says that many of his obese clients suffer from lower extremity injuries in auto accidents as a result of the lap belt being too slack and causing them to slide under it upon impact. These types of injuries combined with, "their obesity makes treatment more difficult and delays recovery." Wang's medical research of live patients have provided ICAM with vital information which was used in the creation of new test dummies by manufacturer Humanetics, so that engineers can better interpret potential injuries to drivers of a certain weight, sex, and age. 

Source: GIPHY

Source: GIPHY

According to ScienceDaily.com, "Teams at ICAM gain tremendous insight from hundreds of thousands of CT scans, which can quickly be used for 3-D printing of prototypes once they're shared with engineers. This has revolutionized the way dummies are made and what they look like."

With scientific research highlighting the importance of test-dummies reflecting the nation's growing population of overweight and elderly drivers, changes can finally be made to vehicles that lead to lower rates auto accident fatalities, for all ages and body types. 

According to the CDC, obesity can be combated through local and state programs that work with communities in creating an environment that encourages healthy eating and physical activity. Living a healthy lifestyle including a lifetime commitment to eating healthy and exercising should help those combating with obesity lose and keep off their weight. Have you or a loved one been injured as a result of an auto accident? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation today. 

Roseville Man Ticketed For Warming Up His Car

Many Michigan residents were unaware until recently that they could be ticketed for leaving their cars running, with the keys in the ignition, on private property. That is exactly what happened to Nick Taylor Trupiano, 24, of Roseville, Michigan back in January. Mr. Taylor started up his car to get it warm and left his keys in the ignition before going back inside his house for a few minutes. He told XILX 10 News that when he came back to his vehicle however, he noticed a ticket on the windshield. Angry about receiving the ticket, Taylor posted a picture of the ticket along with his enraged feelings about the officer who issued it, on Facebook, where it was shared more than 14,000 times.

The Reason For The Ticket

The ticket said, “Vehicle parked in drive with keys in the ignition, motor running -- no one around." Roseville Police Chief James Berlin explained that Taylor was “putting the public at risk” and that it was "purely a public safety issue" because by leaving the car unattended with the key in the ignition, Taylor gave carjackers a chance to steal the vehicle. Berlin also clarified that using a remote starter is fine, but leaving the keys engaged in the car is where the issue arises. 

Taylor said he would have respected the ticker had the officer knocked on his door and informed him that he was in violation. "I had no clue that this was a law, an ordinance. I’ve done this every day for seven years. Every person warms up their car. We live in Michigan." On those grounds, Taylor therefore decided to fight the ticket.

The Judge's Decision

Michigan Winter Car Crash Lawyer

Judge Marco Santia of the 29th District Court ruled that the $128 ticket will stand. Santia stated that the ticket was given under reasonable circumstances under the  law despite Taylor's argument that the ticket should not apply to his private property. City Attorney Tim Tomlinson essentially argued that Taylor left his car open and viable for criminals to steal his car which is why the ordinance exists in the first place - to deter "nefarious people." Tomlinson even reported to the court that not long after Taylor received his ticket that two incidents of car theft occurred due to similar circumstances-one including children and the other, a high speed chase.

House Bill 4215

The viral response to Taylor's Facebook post caused so much public outcry that Republican Rep. Holly Hughes submitted a bill in February to excuse residents from receiving a ticket if their car was left running on private property. The bill known as HB 4215 was approved in March in a 77 to 30 vote in the House. Hughes argued that it's up to the owner of the car if they want to take the risk of having it stolen by leaving it outside and running. 

The Safety of Idling A Car

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Though warming up cars in winter is an age old practice for citizens of Michigan, it is in fact discouraged by car experts. Popular Mechanics says that letting your car idle, "decreases [the life of your engine] by stripping oil away from the engine's cylinders and pistons...Driving your car is the fastest way to warm the engine up to 40 degrees...The best thing to do is start the car, take a minute to knock the ice off your windows, and get going...It takes 5 to 15 minutes for your engine to warm up, so take it nice and easy for the first part of your drive...Warming up your car before driving is a leftover practice from a time when carbureted engines dominated the roads."

So, in addition to car theft and opening up the public to potential violence, warming up a car isn't even good for the cars. This is an important fact to remember as a car that is not in good condition is more likely to become involved in a car accident. Therefore, drivers should remember to always keep their car maintenance up to date, and in the event that they do rely on warming up their cars in winter, should have their vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic regularly, to ensure that it is in good shape. 

Idling your car to warm it up is a popular practice in the cold, harsh winters of Michigan. However, warming up your car and leaving it unattended can open drivers up to a host of problems including car theft and potentially, a broken engine. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car crash due to winter weather or a worn out engine, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.