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Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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aerial-view-of-the-Grand-Central-Parkway-and-Cross-Island-Parkway-exit3 people died and one person was seriously injured in a wrong-way car accident in Queens, NYC. The accident took place on Saturday morning around 5:40 am. 27 year old Divante New was driving the car of 36 year old Sayquan Hallums who was in the passenger seat. They were driving the wrong way on the Grand Central Parkway near the Cross Island Parkway exit in Queens when they crashed into another car. 26 year old Megan Ann Smith who was in the passenger seat was killed. Her boyfriend who was driving the car was critically injured. The police didn’t release his identity. Megan Ann Smith graduated in 2011 from St. John’s Preparatory School in Astoria, Queens. She was an an honor student and a member of the softball team. Her family declined to talk to the media.

Foggy windshield might have play a role in the deadly accident

According to the brother of Sayquan, the Honda car driven by Divante had an old defective windshield that would fog up easily. He said that when the heat was up inside the car the old windshield would fog up so badly that only Sayquan was able to drive the car.

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A NYPD cop in plainclothes was injured in a hit and run car accident in New York on Monday.

The accident occurred around 7:45 pm. Two undercover officers in a disguised Uber car stopped the driver of a Mercedes who ran a red light on East Houston Street.   The two officers were outside of their car talking to the driver of the Mercedes when a speeding black minivan driver lost control of his vehicle and rear-ended the fake Uber car belonging to the Police. One of the officers got pinned between the Mercedes and his car and the other one fell on the ground but wasn’t hurt. The driver of the Mercedes wasn’t hurt either. He was also out of his car but had time to to jump on the side to avoid  being stuck between the two vehicles. The driver of the minivan pulled away and took off. He was arrested 3 blocks away from the accident and taken into custody. The officer who was injured suffered a fractured leg and was taken to the hospital.

 

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Third-avenueTo reduce pedestrian and cyclist fatalities caused by cars and trucks on two of the busiest and most dangerous avenues in Brooklyn, the NYC DOT announced that the maximum speed limit was lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph. New signs are up and speed cameras have been re-calibrated on Third Ave and Hamilton Avenue in Brooklyn. The DOT decided to take action after 6 people including 3 cyclists and 3 pedestrians died in traffic accidents on Third Avenue last year. Two of them were killed in the same week in December.

The area around Third avenue and Hamilton Avenue has been changing a lot in the past years with more and more residential properties being developed. However there are still a lot of trucks coming in and out of the Gowanus, making the area particularly dangerous.

Half of the 2019 fatalities involved trucks

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6675222117_3499f967c4_3k29 cyclists and 122 pedestrians were among the 219 victims who died in traffic accidents in New York City last year. The yearly number of traffic fatalities in the city increased last year for the first time since Vision Zero was launched in 2014. The year earlier, in 2018, 203 people died in NYC motor vehicle accidents.

Brooklyn had the highest number of fatalities with 74 victims including 18 cyclists and 34 pedestrians. 64 people died in vehicle crashes occurring in Queens. 41 auto accident deaths were recorded in Manhattan, 27 in the Bronx and 6 in Staten Island.  According to  Streetblog, reckless driving remains the main cause of fatal crashes but drivers are rarely charged. It is often difficult to understand why some drivers are charged when others are let off the hook. Among the 148 drivers who killed a pedestrian or a cyclist 76 were not charged. In a tribute to those who have passed in NYC auto accidents, Street Blog listed all the accidents by months with the name of the victims if released, a description of the accident and if the driver was charged or not.

A summary of pedestrian and cyclists fatalities in 2019 by month

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Lexus-IS-300 A pedestrian who was standing between two parked cars was crushed to death by one of the car after it was remotely started by its owner. 21 year old Michael Kosanovich was standing between two parked Lexus cars on 148th Street in South Jamaica, Queens, NYC,  Friday night around 10:00 pm when one of them was remotely started by its owner and started to roll forward. Kosanovich was pinned between the Lexus and the other car. Bystanders ran to the rescue and pushed the car back but then the car moved forward again causing additional trauma to the pedestrian.  He suffered critical injuries and died in the hospital the following day.

A driver should never remotely start a vehicle without being aware of its surroundings

The remote engine starter is a common add-on on Lexus cars. It allows the owner to start the engine from outside the vehicle, to activate the air conditioner, the heater or the defroster before the driver gets in the car. The vehicle is not supposed to move after it is being remotely turned on. However, the user manual specifies the following:   “NEVER remotely start the engine if you are unaware of the circumstances surrounding the vehicle as it may cause a life threatening situation for those located in the vehicle’s vicinity.” The police didn’t release the identity of the owner of the Lexus who hasn’t been charged so far even though failure to exercise due care could probably apply to this case.

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the intersection where the fatal accident occurred23 year old Joanna Dixon was killed in a car crash in New York City on the night of her birthday. The young woman was riding in a black Mazda car with another girlfriend and the driver when the accident occurred. The driver of the Mazda blew a stop sign on East 55th Street in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and was T-boned by a speeding white 2019 Nissan GT-R travelling east on Foster Ave. The impact was so strong that the Mazda spun out of control and hit a telephone pole. Debris were scattered all over the place up to a half block away from the intersection.  The driver of the Nissan stayed at the scene of the accident and was identified as Rohan Shaw, an off-duty NYPD officer working for the counter terrorism bureau’s critical command. The police found that the officer was not only speeding but he was also drunk at the time of the accident. He was initially charged charged with reckless driving, speeding, driving while impaired with alcohol, vehicle manslaughter and negligent homicide. However charges were dropped a day after the accident according to a law enforcement source in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.The driver of the Mazda took off by foot and hasn’t been found  yet. He left Joanna Dixon dying and her 22 year old best friend critically injured behind him. The accident occurred early Sunday morning just before 5:00 am.  The police have put up a sign at the scene of the crash asking for anyone who witnessed the crash to provide additional information. They are still looking for the driver of the Mazda.

Read more on NBC New York

Picture of the location of the accident: courtesy of Google Map

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Despite an increase in bicycle accident fatalities and in motorist injuries the total number of NYC motor vehicle accidents and the total number of resulting injuries and deaths decreased during the third trimester of 2019 compared to the third trimester of 2018. The total number of accidents declined from 57,642 during the third trimester of 2018 to 52,567 during the third trimester of 2019. This is the lowest number of crashes since the same period of 2014.

auto accident NYC third trimester 2019
While a high number of fatal bicycle accidents painted a very negative picture of New York street safety, not all numbers are bad. For example pedestrians fatalities were at their lowest during the period of July, August and September 2019. Motorists fatalities were lower than the two previous years during this same period and passengers fatalities were stable.

traffic fatalities in NYC third trimester
The total number of auto accident related injuries were slightly lower than the previous year. A total of 167,083 people were injured in traffic accidents during over the summer 2019 compared to respectively 16,300, 15,860, 16,048, 13,998, 13,472, and 14,900 during the same 3 months of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Motorists injuries account for almost half of the injuries and continue to increase. While efforts to protect pedestrians has led to a substantial decrease in pedestrian injuries and deaths, distracted driving remains the number one cause of  motor vehicle accidents in New York City and needs to be addressed.

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rear-car-seatSince November 1st, all children under the age of 2 instead of 1 previously, must use a rear-facing car seat when riding in a car in New York State. This requirement is coming on top of the actual New York State Child Passenger Restraint Law that was enacted in 1982 and requires that:

  • all children under the age of 4 ride in child safety seats
  • all children ride in child restraint systems until their 8th birthday
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Location of the fatal bicycle accidentAn 87 year old cyclist who was struck by a car in New York City last week died from his injuries. While the police blame the accident on the victim saying that he blew a red light, witnesses told the NY Daily News that the bicyclist had the right of way and that the car driver blew a red light.

The accident occurred last Tuesday at the intersection of Avenue P and Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. The cyclist was riding west on Avenue P and was struck by the car as he was in the crosswalk. One of the witness, a female pedestrian, told the News that she was also about to cross the street after the light turned green in favor of the pedestrians when a black minivan zoomed out of nowhere, ran the red light and hit the cyclist. The witness saw the cyclist falling on the top of the car and said there was blood everywhere. The 36-year-old driver stayed at the scene of the accident and was not charged. The police maintained he had the green light.

The elderly cyclist was transported to the hospital in critical condition. He died from his injuries a few days later.

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So many New Yorkers have been injured or died in traffic accidents on Queens Boulevard that it has been nicknamed the “Boulevard of Death”. Fixing and redesigning Queens Boulevard to make it safer was one of the priorities of the Vision Zero program launched in 2014.  The plan to redesign the boulevard was approved and launched in 2015. While part of the boulevard has been redesigned, a whole area from Yellow Stone Boulevard to Union Turnpike that has a dangerous records of accidents was never addressed. As the mayor’s office wouldn’t update residents as to when the project would be finished, safety advocates held a rally on Sunday pressing de Blasio to complete its work in one of the most deadly areas in the city. Residents feel like they have been lied to and abandoned said a mother who lost her son after he was hit by a truck in this dangerous segment of Queens Boulevard. The redesign of Queens Boulevard between Yellow Stone Boulevard and Union Turnpike includes the addition of a protected bike lane and safety features for pedestrians. In the areas of Queens Boulevard that were redesigned, 3 people died in traffic accidents since 2015 compared to up to 25 people per year before the redesign. Pedestrian accidents decreased by 55% and pedestrian injuries by 63%.

Corruption claims

Not everybody is in favor of the redesign and according to an article in NY Streetblog, activists are claiming that Mayor de Blasio made a secret deal with a Queens council member to stop the completion of the protected bike lane. Activists and Council member Jimmy Van Brammer are alleging that Council Member Karen Koslowitz signed a secret pact with de Blasio that she would vote for his proposal to close Rikers Island if he would put a stop to the redesign of the Boulevard of Death.