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Speeding is No Big Thing, Right? Not So Fast

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Sure, weaving over the centerline into oncoming traffic because you're more than twice the legal limit (and you've got some opioids coursing through your system to boot), is dangerous.

Looking down at that text message on your iPhone and tapping out a quick response with a few emojis - traveling the length of a football field during that time - is also dangerous.

Taking a snooze while your Tesla's Autopilot does the heavy lifting from Point A to Point B is a cutting-edge example of dangerous driving.

Tesla's Autopilot is the New Distracted Driving

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To be fair, Tesla is quite clear about what Autopilot is and what it isn't. Autopilot - Tesla's self-driving or "robot car" mode - most certainly is not sleep-in-the-backseat mode or have-a-few-beers mode (though someday that could be the case). But someday is not today. "Autopilot," Tesla proclaims, "is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver."

In other words, turning on Autopilot and then checking out, in whatever fashion the driver chooses, be it dozing or boozing, is not fully attentive driving but distracted driving.

Some Tesla owners haven't read the memo.

Cigarette Marketing in a Post-Cigarette World

The specific claims a company can make about its products to the public in its marketing and advertising is at the heart of consumer law, which seeks to protect consumers from being misled.

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To boil down the history of cigarette marketing in America last century, you could draw a line between the Marlboro Man and the Master Settlement Agreement.

Another Takata Airbag Recall

Consumer Reports writes that Takata's airbag problem makes for the largest recall in U.S. history - and the latest news is another more than three million defective inflators in roughly 40 million cars affecting 2009, 2010, and 2013 models of various brands.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been overseeing the ongoing saga, issuing smaller recalls in stages, based on the perceived risk to drivers and passengers.

It's Not the Substance, It's the Decision

A story in the East Bay Times will have marijuana naysayers crying, "I told you so" about the dangers of legalization. Now there's another way (in addition to alcohol and texting) for people to be impaired or distracted while driving.

On Jan. 6, a woman driving at around 100 mph in her Ford Explorer lost control, rolled her SUV over the median, and collided into oncoming traffic, sending multiple people to the hospital.

Sessions' Reefer Madness: The Irony of His Words on the 'Rule of Law'

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Whether you were for or against legal recreational marijuana doesn't matter at this point. As we all know, it's legal in California as of the New Year. But the stoned and sober alike can see the irony in AG Jeff Sessions' speech on restoring the "rule of law" in his recent rollback of the federal hands-off approach to bud during the Obama years.

2017 a Big Year for DUI Arrests in California on the Holidays

"Any time you see a rise it's concerning, especially when we look at fatalities, because that's somebody's loved one."

- California Highway Patrol

The number of DUI arrests made throughout California in December, starting from the holidays through the New Year, increased by 22 percent in 2017 over 2016, as reported by Sophie Haigney with SFGate. The number of DUI arrests during this time edged toward 1,000 (936, to be precise), whereas in 2016, the number was significantly lower, at 767.

Autonomous Cars Conjure Changes to Drunk Driving Laws

The reality of self-driving and autonomous vehicles has arrived. As more of them continue to hit the roads and highways of the U.S., many driving laws will need to change.

While most people use a number of names interchangeably, most self-driving cars must be turned on by the owner and will operate in self-driving mode only in certain circumstances. Fully autonomous cars should operate like driverless taxis.

Apparently Consumers Don't Need Protection against Financial Industry Abuse Anymore

This is a follow up to our post in November about the Trump administration's take-over of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB. Last month, former director Richard Cordray resigned, opening the way for a Trump appointee.

As we wrote then, the CFPB's mission is to regulate banks, lenders, loan providers, and related businesses in an effort to "protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law," but the mission is now in jeopardy.

In the wrong hands, the CFPB could suddenly become much less effective at its job, or perhaps even be abolished altogether, as its opponents have called for.

What 'We the People' Means

The Constitution's preamble states:

  • We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The phrase We the People is widely interpreted as referring to consent. The American people themselves give their consent and the government's authority flows from that consent. Law provides the framework for this authority, as created, enforced, and interpreted by the separate branches of government, rather than the arbitrary authority of men, as in authoritarian rule.

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