The Memorial Day holiday weekend is symbolically the official start of the summer season as Americans take time to honor our nation’s heroes of wars past and take time to relax with family and friends.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer wish you a wonderful weekend, but we also want to remind you to be careful as you travel and enjoy your time off.

On “Court Radio” at 7 a.m. on Sunday, MyPhillyLawyer managing partner Dean Weitzman and his co-host David Rapoport will talk about summer safety, including swimming pool safety, as the holiday weekend gets into full swing.

Court Radio is broadcast live at 7 a.m. every Sunday morning on Philadelphia’s WRNB 100.3 FM, with a simulcast on Magic 95.9 FM in Baltimore. You can also listen live on the Internet at WRNB 100.3 or on Magic 95.9 via streaming audio.

One of the first things to remember is not to drink and drive as holiday weekends like this usually see a spike in drunk driving accidents, injuries and deaths. In 2010, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 158 people lost their lives in drunk driving crashes across the nation, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/sdominick

A sobriety checkpoint sign marks a special police program aimed at stopping motorists who drink and drive. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/sdominick

MADD offers five tips for safe driving over the holiday weekend and year-round:

  1. Plan a safe way home. Arrange a sober ride home, or offer to be the sober designated driver.
  2. Wear a seat belt. Seat belt usage is one of the best ways to stay safe on our roadways.
  3. Don’t call or text. Any form of impaired driving poses a serious threat to those on the road.
  4. Slow down. Respect all posted speed limits.
  5. Be aware. Pay attention to other drivers on the road and avoid those driving erratically.

The highest number of drunk driving accidents and injuries actually occurs in the U.S. over the July 4th holiday weekend annually, according to statistics.

Consuming alcoholic beverages and then driving over the holiday is a poor decision. You are literally putting yourself and others in danger if you drive while intoxicated and creating huge liability risks for yourself and your family if you hurt someone else when you are drinking and driving.

But drinking and driving and other highway dangers aren’t the only risks this holiday weekend. There are dangers and personal liability issues surrounding a wide variety of activities this weekend that you at least should keep in mind.

Cookout safety:

Even barbecue grills can cause injuries if they are used improperly or mixed with the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Improper equipment, poor safety rules, carelessness and other factors can cause injuries to adults and children who come near hot grills and outdoor cooking areas.

To prevent injuries and potential legal liability, be sure to follow these grilling safety tips from the Hearst Burn Center of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City:

*If you’re using a propane gas grill, inspect your propane tank and hoses for leaks, dents, cracks or corrosion.

*Always light the match before turning on the propane gas.

*Never use your grill indoors or under any structures that may catch fire, such as patio covers.

*Never smoke cigarettes or use matches or lighters near the grill.

*If you’re using a charcoal grill, use water to make sure that coals are extinguished and be careful never to dispose of briquettes that are still hot.

*Avoid loose clothing while grilling, especially long sleeves.

*Parental supervision is essential—keep all children away from the grill.

And don’t forget about the potential dangers of food poisoning when dining outdoors in the heat of summer. Be extra careful to make sure that foods made with mayonnaise, including coleslaw and potato salad, are kept chilled and out of direct sunlight so they don’t spoil and cause illnesses to guests, and don’t leave uncooked meats out in the summer heat for long periods of time before that are cooked. Many a holiday has been ruined at private parties, restaurants and other facilities due to food that has spoiled and caused serious illnesses for guests, while raising serious legal claims that you certainly want to avoid.

*Swimming pool safety:

We here at MyPhillyLawyer have been writing here on this blog a lot lately about swimming pool safety and your rights and responsibilities as a pool owner or guest. Recently, we published a blog post about pool safety which is a great guide to ensuring that your family and pool guests are safe while swimming on your property.

Here are five key swimming pool safety tips for you to remember this holiday weekend:

*Completely Fence The Perimeter Around Your Pool – by closing off the pool to children who could wander into your yard, you can prevent accidental drownings and protect yourself from liability.

*Be Sure That All Young Children Playing Near Pools Are Wearing Life Vests – if a child should accidentally fall into a pool, they will be better protected by wearing an approved life vest.

*Never, Ever Leave Children Unsupervised Near A Pool – that means NEVER. If children are to be around or in a pool, they MUST be properly and adequately supervised by an adult who can swim and is trained in rescue techniques.

*Keep Rescue Equipment By The Pool At All Times – including a life ring and rope, a first aid kit and flotation devices.

*Parents Must Be Encouraged to Learn CPR – by knowing how to save a life in the event of an emergency, homeowners can protect their guests and themselves before rescue workers ever arrive.

According to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drownings are the second leading cause of death among young children.

An average of 385 children under 15 years of age died annually in the U.S. due to pool or spa drownings from 2005 through 2007, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and its Pool Safely safety campaign. Of those, 78%, or 299, were under the age of five.

As a homeowner, you must be vigilant, pro-active and firm about setting safety rules and enforcing them so that guests and family members aren’t accidentally injured or worse.

*Have Fun and Be Safe:

Remember this holiday weekend to enjoy yourself with friends and family, but also use caution to prevent tragedies and legal liability from accidents and injuries that can occur in a wide variety of ways.

So be sure to tune in for Court Radio at 7 a.m. Sunday to hear the topical discussion about holiday safety and swimming pool safety with co-hosts Dean Weitzman and David Rapoport. And remember to call in with your own questions and comments.

From all of us here at MyPhillyLawyer, we send you our best wishes for a safe and happy holiday.

When Winning Matters Most, call us to discuss any legal matters that arise. If you need us, we will be there to help you with compassionate, professional and highly-skilled legal services.

About Court Radio

Listeners can call in with their legal questions to 800-539-1479 or they can email their questions to AskDean@CourtRadio.com. Participants are asked to only ask or submit ONE question each time so that all callers have a chance to discuss the legal topics that are on their minds.

Court Radio is the place to ask your legal questions and get real answers from lawyers with a deep background in the law, from personal injury to contracts and estates, insurance and much more.

Most weeks, Dean brings in a special guest to answer your legal questions and provide information on a dizzying array of legal topics, all with humor, good advice and at no charge to callers. You can even listen to past shows and their featured guests by downloading or listening to stored podcasts.

A production of WRNB-FM radio in Philadelphia, Court Radio is brought to you each week by the law offices of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., which is known throughout the Philadelphia area as MyPhillyLawyer.

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