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House Expected to Grill Executives of Nation’s Five Largest Vaping Companies

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By Personal Injury Attorney Jacob Kimball of Springs Law Group

Democrat Diana DeGette of California wants answers from the vaping industry. She says that no one knows how vaping affects the health of users and that, as a result, consumers are left in the dark. Meanwhile, vape companies rake in billions of dollars and have attracted a new generation of youths into a potentially lifelong addiction to nicotine.

This hearing is seen as one of Congress’ latest attempts in probing the growing vaping market. Congress’s prior examinations into the market include several vaping-related hearings last year as well as raising the federal minimum age for vaping to 21.

DeGette is the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce oversight and investigations subcommittee. She has called to testify executives from five of the nation’s largest e-cigarette companies, which represent 97 percent of the country’s $19.3 billion vaping industry.  These five companies include Juul, Logic, NJOY, Fontem, and Reynolds American, many of which have been the subject of prior congressional investigations regarding their marketing and business practices potentially targeting young people.

Thousands of individuals – many of them children and young adults – suffered serious personal injuries last year during a rash of vape-related illnesses, which caused dozens of deaths. The subcommittee is seeking information about how the companies’ marketing efforts have played a role in the teen vaping epidemic, as well as what known health risks their products may pose to users.

In response to this crisis, the Trump Administration (administration) released a new policy that at least temporarily banned some of the most popular vape pod-based flavors – fruit and mint – but leaving both tobacco and menthol flavors unregulated. However, there is concern that mint simply may be relabeled as menthol in some cases.

Further, many vape products remain on the market: disposable vape pens, open tank devices, and e-liquids available in vape shops. In essence, says Matt Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the administration’s rule leaves a gaping hole through which vulnerable populations can still access vape products. As a result, there has been a growing concern that young people will resort to using other disposable and cartridge-based products as a way to find similar sweet flavors.

Meredith Berkman of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes says that kids continue to use disposable vape products in sweet flavors that are thought to lure children into the market. She emphasizes the risk of personal injury to adolescents newly hooked on a nicotine product with poorly understood health impacts.

Federal data shows that middle and high school students are particularly at risk of becoming addicted to vaping and the nicotine it provides. Over the course of 30 days, more than five million of these young people admit to using vape products at least once.

Starting in May of 2020, the administration’s new rule requires companies to get approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration to sell their vape products and to prove that they provide a public health benefit. However, critics fear that the argument used to sell vaping in the first place, i.e., that it’s healthier than smoking cigarettes, may allow these products back on the market.

A multi-lingual talent head, Jimmy is fluent in languages such as Spanish, Russian, Italian, and many more. He has a special curiosity for the events and stories revolving in and around US and caters an uncompromising form of journalistic standard for the audiences.

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Reckless Driving in the State of Virginia

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The state of Virginia is strict in its enforcement of laws against reckless driving. According to section 46.2-852 of the Virginia Code, reckless driving is listed as a criminal offense. In addition, the Virginia Code categorizes all driving that endangers the life and property of others as reckless.

Several behaviors that motorists exhibit while behind the wheels can qualify as reckless driving in Virginia. “Reckless driving causes nearly a third of all deaths involving major car accidents, which are more than 13,000 each year,” explains attorney Karin Riley Porter. As a result, you can be charged by an officer and can be found guilty or not guilty by a judge.

Types of Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is in different forms and includes:

1. Driving a vehicle with a mechanical fault

Va. Code § 46.2-853 considers driving a vehicle with faulty brakes as a reckless driving offense. Therefore, if a driver cannot maintain proper vehicle control, the driver will be held liable for reckless driving. However, if a driver could prove that they didn’t have prior knowledge that the vehicle was faulty, it would be possible to avoid conviction.

2. Not giving out the right signals when required

Not giving out a signal while driving on Virginia road is an offense under section 46.2-860 of the Virginia Code. Motorists are required to start signaling 50 feet away from the place they would be turning where the speed limit is not above 35 mph. In situations where the speed limit is above 35 mph, drivers are required to signal 100 feet away from where they would take a turn.

3. Driving alongside another vehicle on a single lane road

In Virginia, driving two vehicles abreast on a one-lane road is considered a reckless driving offense. This rule, however, only applies to vehicles and has no implications on motorcycles and bikes. If found liable, the offender will face charges.

4. Overspeeding

Different Virginia roads are subject to variable speed limits. A driver can face charges for reckless driving if they exceed the speed limit specified by law on each road network. According to the Va. Code §46.2-862, a driver can face convictions for reckless driving if they exceed the specified speed limit by 20 mph or drive above 80 mph.

5. Driving with an impaired view

Some drivers overload their cars or carry passengers who prevent them from seeing all sides of the road. Overloading is most common in trucks. If the passenger’s sitting position in any way obstructs the driver’s view, then the driver can be charged for reckless driving.

6. Racing on Public Property

Section 46.2-865 of the Virginia Code considers car racing on any property that is open to the members of the public without authorization as reckless driving. If found guilty, the state can withdraw the license of the driver for up to six months.

Penalties for Reckless Driving in Virginia

A reckless driving conviction may attract different penalties to the offender, some of which may include:

  • A suspension of the driver’s license for six months or more
  • Up to one-year jail term
  • Fine amounting to $2,500
  • Increase in auto insurance
  • Ineligibility for car rentals
  • Possibility of permanent seizure of vehicle if found guilty of unauthorized car racing

Conclusion

Reckless driving is a severe offense in Virginia. If you are charged with the crime and convicted, it can stay in your driving records for up to 11 years. However, with the help of an experienced Virginia traffic attorney, you can get a lesser charge for the offense.

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