July 2011 Archives

Is the NFL the Most Dangerous Job in the World?

Unless you have been on Mars, or hate sports, you must know that the NFL players and the NFL owners were negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). When the previous collective bargaining agreement expired, the NFL owners locked out the players. But the news today is that it looks the players and owners have agreed to a new CBA and that there will be football this season.

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I listen to sports radio all the time, and I heard many fans who were upset at players. These fans called the players greedy for wanting even more millions for playing a game. While I certainly understand the sentiment in today's poor economy, I do not think the players are greedy and if they do accept the proposed CBA, then they compromised too much.

The value of the NFL, about $10 billion dollars a year, is the one in a million athletes who play the game. The players are what make the game interesting and fun to watch, not the owners. I don't know why the owners of these teams should reap extraordinary financial benefit when it is the players that make the NFL profitable, not the owners.

Also, the players are taking extremely high health toll to play the game. The average career of 3 years in the NFL costs a few decades in life expectancy. While being a professional athlete certainly is glamorous, that makes the NFL almost, if not more so, as dangerous as other tough jobs such as coal mining or deep water fishing. See "NFL is killing its players, and league doesn't care" by Gregg Doyel

Yet despite the risk to the players, the NFL may have covered up those health risks, in particular the risk of concussions "NFL Sued for Allegedly Concealing Brain Injury Risks":

Seventy-five former professional football players are suing the NFL, claiming it intentionally concealed the harmful effects of game-related concussions for 90 years. According to the lawsuit, filed today in L.A. County Superior Court and obtained by TMZ, the players and their wives claim, "The NFL knew as early as the 1920's of the harmful effects on a player's brain of concussions; however, until June of 2010 they concealed these facts from coaches, trainers, players and the public."

Let's hope that the NFL was not quite this cynical. 

Arizona Fourth and California 42nd for Motorcycle Riding

When it comes to riding motorcycles, one of the things to be considered is the climate of the state in which you live. If you have a lot of rain, snow, and slick roads, maybe riding a motorcycle is not such a good idea.

It would seem by those considerations that California would be a great place to ride motorcycles. Beautiful weather, scenic routes, and a lot of empty road, at least inland, would make California the seemingly ideal place to ride a motorcycles. But that is not the case. In a story in the Silicon Valley Mercury News by Gary Richards called "California's rought roads tough on motorcycles":

The poor condition of California's roads is one reason why the state ranks as one of the worst in the nation for motorcyclists -- 42nd -- according to a survey released recently by Progressive Insurance. That's despite the Golden State's great, almost always sunny, weather and many scenic places to ride, like Big Sur, the wine country and Yosemite National Park.

Interestingly enough, Arizona ranks quite well- 4th- while even snow plagued states rank ahead of the golden state. "Florida ranks as the best state for motorcycles, followed by Georgia, Arizona, South Carolina and Kansas. But California can't even beat out snow-plagued places like Iowa (10), Nebraska (14) or Ohio (19)." 

On the all important point of road conditions, California ranks even worse at 45.  That is certainly bad news for California's staggering 1.2 million motorcyclists.    The fact that California has such difficult road conditions might be one of the reasons that it is legal for motorcyclists in California to split lanes, while no other state in the United States allows it.  

If you decide to go drive through the vast California roadways, be sure to be on the look-out for dangerous road conditions that make motorcycle riding in California especially dangerous. 

PTSD and Arizona's Veterans

Please see my post on www.prisondemocracy.com regarding what I think is a great shame: our government does not seem to care about veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) who have a difficult time adjusting back to civilian life.

My point is not that veterans with PTSD who break the law should get a free pass, just that if you break the law because you suffering from PTSD from combat, you should not be treated like an ordinary criminal. And just maybe, the government ought to give you some consideration for the fact you volunteered for duty and the government sent you into a combat zone without the necessary resources to fully integrate back into civilian life.

Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance: Why you need it.

Before I started doing personal injury and accident cases, and even after I took insurance law in law school, I had absolutely no idea how important underinsured (UIM) and underinsured (UM) insurance were. Now I know.

UIM and UM are called first party insurance. UIM pays you if another at fault driver hurts you but his insurance does not fully cover your loss. UM protects you if the adverse, at-fault driver has no insurance, of if you cannot identify who is the at-fault (hit and run) driver. That is contrasted with third party or liability insurance. Liability insurance is insurance in which you pay insurance premiums to your insurance company, and in the event you are responsible for hurting someone, your insurance company pays the person who you hurt. In Arizona, state law requires you to carry liability insurance in the minimum amount of $15,000/$30,000.

If you have that minimum state policy, which some insurance agencies oddly call "full coverage", that means the $15,000 is the maximum that the insurance carrier will pay to any single injured person, and the $30,000 is the maximum the liability policy will pay out to all injured parties for any single accident, regardless of the number of people injured or extent of injuries.

Of course, even though that is the minimum, you get can get more liability coverage, usually up to $300,000 with your carrier and up to $1,000,000 with umbrella coverage. State law requires insurance carriers to offer first party insurance up to the limit of your liability coverage.

With that in mind, you should definitely buy the maximum amount of first party insurance available, and even consider buying higher liability limits just to have access to greater first party coverage. First party coverage is not required by law, and even if you have "full coverage", you don't necessarily have any first party coverage. Unlike liability insurance, first party coverage protects you and your family in the case of an accident, and it is much cheaper- usually only a few dollars a month- than liability insurance.

As far as I am concerned, buying first party insurance is an easy decision.


Phoenix has Two of America's Most Dangerous Intersections

If you drive a car or motorcycle in the metro Phoenix area, one of the best ways to stay safe is to avoid dangerous intersections.  The same logic that would apply to someone avoid walking through a dangerous neighborhood late at night would apply to avoid driving a car and riding a motorcycle through a dangerous intersection.  Why take an unnecessary risk? 

With that in mind, according to Judy Hedding, Phoenix has two of the most dangerous intersections in all of the United States.  Following is the top ten list of America's most dangerous intersections

Here is the list of the nation's most dangerous intersections, as compiled by State Farm Insurance:

1. Pembroke Pines, FL: Flamingo Road and Pines Boulevard

2. Philadelphia, PA: Red Lion Road and Roosevelt Boulevard

3. Philadelphia, PA: Grant Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard

4. Phoenix, AZ: 7th Street and Bell Road

5. Tulsa, OK: 51st Street and Memorial Drive

6. Tulsa, OK: 71st Street and Memorial Drive

7. Phoenix, AZ: 19th Avenue and Northern Avenue

8. Plano, TX: State Highway 121 and Preston Road

9. Metairie, LA: Clearwater Parkway and Veterans Memorial Boulevard

10. Sacramento, CA: Fair Oaks Boulevard and Howe Avenue

According to ABC news, all the listed intersections have appropriate safety and design features, but 

The main problem there, according to State Farm safety engineer John Nepomuceno, was traffic volume.... Nepomuceno said intersections on the top 10 list all met appropriate design standards and were regulated by traffic lights. He said traffic volume and driver error were two important factors in crashes.

The next time you driving in the Phoenix area, it might make a little bit of sense to avoid these two intersections.  The reason I make this point is not to claim that if you drive through these intersection that you will get into an accident, just that there is enough evidence to prove that avoiding these intersections is worth the little bit of time and hassle.   Remember, it only takes one accident, just like one IRS audit, to make up for the many thousands of times one can drive through these intersections without problem. 

Marines and Motorcycles: First Ever Cherry Point Biker Bash

Following the July 4 holiday, I asked myself what is more American than Marines and motorcycles? The two go together like mom and apple pie. And now, the Marines Corp agrees.

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In a story in the official Marine Corp website (www.marines.mil) called "Marines let freedom ride during Cherry Point inaugural Biker Bash":

The booming noise of bikes was heard throughout the air station [Cherry Point] June 24, as more than 200 motorcyclists, which of most were Marines, on cruisers and street bikes, motored through eastern Carolina's muggy, smoke-filled air to Cherry Point's Miller's Landing for the inaugural Marine Corps Community Services Biker Bash.

The fact the Marine Corp is taking an active interest in motorcycle riding is great news for all of us.  Too many young Marines are hurt riding motorcycles, in fact more Marines are killed riding motorcycles than combat, and anything that promotes motorcycle safety among young Marines is great news. 

On top of that, any news that shows the truth, namely that motorcycle riders are law abiding American patriots is good news for anyone who does not happen to be a Marine and motorcycle rider.  The media has far too many stories of motorcycle riders who seem to break the law habitually.  For example, there was a recent story of a Temecula Hell's Angels club member indicted for various felonies, as reported by Sarah Burge of The Press-Enterprise

James A. Bradley, 47, a general contractor, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 11 counts, including criminal threats, attempted extortion, possession of anabolic steroids and criminal gang activity, court records show.

Let's hope the Marine Corp's active interest in motorcycles makes riding safer and more pleasant for all of us. And God Bless the USA!