Most drivers have been in the position of feeling their eyelids start to droop as they struggle to stay awake while driving on the I-215, I-15 or other roadways in the Rancho Cucamonga and Ontario area. Although it is extremely dangerous to drive after not sleeping or ingesting prescription medication that makes you tired, drowsy driving has become a significant traffic safety problem. Motorists throughout the Inland Empire are working longer hours to make ends meet and/or fighting tough commutes to Orange County and Los Angeles, which limits the amount of sleep a driver gets each night.
This means that exhausted drivers frequently must fight to stay awake and concentrate on the roadway. Many drivers have had the experience of briefly dozing off only to wake up in a state of panic as their vehicle glides roughly over reflectors that separate lanes or drifts off onto the soft shoulder of the roadway. At freeway speeds, this brief “micro-nap” often requires a driver to desperately over-steer their vehicles back into the proper lane. Even the shortest period of loss of consciousness or lack of concentration can lead to fatal road departure and rollover accidents. Even if you are on a surface street on your way to the Ontario Airport, Victoria Gardens, or Ontario Mills, closing your eyes for even a couple of seconds can result in rear-ending another vehicle, driving into an adjacent lane, or plunging over the edge of an embankment.
The growing frequency of car accidents in Rancho Cucamonga and the surrounding areas caused by sleep-deprived drivers is a product of a number of factors that contribute to the general trend of Americans getting less sleep. The lifestyle of most people in the Inland Empire and throughout Southern California involves working long hours followed by lengthy commutes. When family and parenting obligations are fulfilled after getting home from work, these long hours devoted to employment leave little time for sleep. There also has been an increase in the number of people diagnosed with sleep-related disorders, such as sleep apnea which is linked to higher rates of obesity and our aging population.
The AAA Foundation reports some disturbing data regarding the growing danger posed by sleepy drivers. One in three drivers admitted to driving while extremely sleepy within the thirty day period prior to the study. While motorists might recognize the potential risk of driving without adequate sleep, a substantial number of motorists concede that they routinely ignore the danger.
These results were consistent with a prior study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). The NSF study found that sixty percent of all drivers admitted driving while extremely sleepy at some time during the prior year. This amounts to 168 million drowsy drivers putting other drivers at-risk on America's roadways. California residents should find it even more disconcerting that almost forty percent of drivers admit to actually falling asleep behind the wheel. Conservative estimates by the federal government indicate that more than 100,000 car accidents are caused annually by tired and fatigued drivers.
A significant reason that lawmakers and law enforcement officers have not been particularly effective in deterring this dangerous practice is that drowsy driving is not viewed with the same sense of moral outrage as drunk driving. Many motorists who would never consider driving when intoxicated routinely operate their vehicle on less than an adequate amount of rest. In fact, approximately eleven million drivers admit involvement in a collision or a near-accident because of lack of sleep according to the NSF. Ironically, a study found that a driver who has gone 20 hours without sleep displays the same level of impairment as a driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% (i.e. the legal limit for DUI in California).
Sleep-deprived drivers typically experience a number of forms of impairment of their driving skills including:
Today, stepparents raise millions of children across the United States. Stepparent adoption is the most common type of adoption in the country, and thousands of new stepfamilies are created each day. Many California stepparents seek to adopt their stepchildren to establish a legal bond that can be vital in the future.
Stepparent adoptions are easier to complete than other forms of adoption, but will still require adherence to deadlines and completion of several vital steps. Our family law lawyers at Schwartzberg | Luther assist stepparents in successfully adopting their stepchildren across California. The following is a look at some common questions asked by prospective stepparent adopters:
How do I get started with adopting my stepchild in California?
Your journey to adopting your stepchild should begin with a consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney. Your family law attorney will explain the process in-depth and start completing the necessary forms. Required stepparent adoption forms may include an adoption request form, adoption agreement, and adoption order, along with consent forms which will be discussed below. The forms will require all of your basic information along with that of the child’s. Once the appropriate forms and filed and fees paid, the court will dispatch an investigator who will issue a report concerning the adoption.
Do I need to consent of both biological parents for the adoption to move forward?
You will generally need both parent’s consent to adopt your stepchild, although there are exceptions to this rule under California law. Usually, you will not have a problem obtaining the consent of your spouse, but the other biological parent could pose an issue. The easiest course of action is to attempt to reach out to the absent biological parent if you know his or her whereabouts. Your attorney can assist you in this step.
If the parent cannot be located or refuses to consent to the adoption, you still have options. Your lawyer will help you to prepare and file a petition for termination of parental rights. There are several potential grounds that you can raise in support of a petition for termination. These include abandonment of the child, mental illness suffered by the parent, felony convictions, and imprisonment, and more. The process of successfully terminating an absent parent’s parental rights can be complex, but with the help of an experienced attorney you can succeed in this process.
Will I need to appear in court?
Yes. Under California law, you will need to attend a hearing to complete the adoption. Your stepchild and the custodial parent will also be present, along with your lawyer. You can bring a camera with you to take a photo of you and your child to celebrate this momentous day.
How long does it take to complete a stepparent adoption?
The time to complete a stepparent adoption will vary depending on the unique facts of the case. If you have obtained the consent of both biological parents and there are no other major issues, the process may take as little as 120 days. If, however, the absent parent will not consent or other obstacles arise, the process can take far longer.
Contact Schwartzberg | Luther, APC Today for Help With Your Family Law Needs
Adoption can be a wonderful option for many California stepparents. The Rancho Cucamonga Family Law Attorneys at Schwartzberg | Luther, APC have assisted stepparents across the state in adopting their stepchildren. We will walk you through the stepparent adoption process to make it as stress-free and easy as possible. Our family law attorneys at Schwartzberg | Luther, APC offer dedicated representation to protect your legal interests. Call us today at (909) 457-4270 to schedule your initial consultation.
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