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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 Truck Accidents

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24 cyclists, 116 pedestrians, 17 motor vehicle passengers and 57 drivers were killed in 209,291 auto accidents in New York City in 2019. The total number of accidents recorded last year was significantly lower than the 3 previous years during which it was above 227,000 however traffic fatalities were higher last year than the two previous years.


auto accidents NYC 2019

After reaching a record low at 199 in 2018, crash fatalities in New York increased to 214 last year. Since 2013 traffic fatalities gradually went down every year. This is the first year since Vision Zero was implemented in 2014 that fatalities went back up from one year to the other. While fatalities are globally on a declining trend despite the recent increase last year, the number of people injured in car accidents in New York is on a rising trend. NYC Auto accident injuries  reached a record high last year and were above 6,000 for the first time. They slightly decreased in 2019 but kept around the 6,000 level. The increase in injuries sustained in car crashes is mostly due to a rising number of drivers being injured. One reason might be that because the speed limit was lower in the city, less people are dying in car accidents but more are injured. Distracted driving might be another reason why more drivers are getting injured in auto accidents in New York.

Traffic fatalities and injuries in New York City in 2019
Bicyclists are the only category of  New York road users who continue to experience a rising trend of accidents, injuries and deaths. After cyclists fatalities reached a record low at 9 in 2018, they reached a record high at 24 in 2019.  Last year as bicycle fatalities were surging quickly, Mayor de Blasio announced a new bike safety plan entitled the Green Wave. The plan is:

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trucks-kills-cyclist-tweetA cyclist was killed in a truck accident in NYC last week.

41 year old Pedro Lopez is the first cyclist to die in a traffic accident in New York City in 2020. He was killed by a reckless truck driver who was making an illegal U-turn at high speed on Vandervoort Avenue in Brooklyn. The accident occured on Thursday around 2:40 pm. The cyclist was rear ended by the truck. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Despite a video showing the recklessness of the truck driver, the police didn’t charge him

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was-it-worth-itLast year 28 cyclists died in traffic accidents in New York City and more than half of them were killed by trucks  and SUVs. Most of the time the driver was a man.

Last Friday, the DOT announced that it invested 4 million in a new campaign targeting men driving trucks and SUVs. The “Was it Worth it?” campaign depicts images of pedestrian and bicycle accidents with a male driver in shock and the message “Was it worth it?” in various languages. Additional audio campaigns will also be run in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole on several local radio stations during commuting time.

Since Mayor de Blasio launched Vision Zero in 2014, traffic fatalities decreased over the years except for last year. 203 people died in car accidents in 2019. More than half of them were pedestrians. On average over the last few years, men were found to be responsible for 75% of the fatalities with 41% of them driving a truck or a SUV.

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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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private-sanitation-truck-accidentA pedestrian was killed by a hit and run NYC private sanitation truck Thursday morning around 4:00. The accident took place on 86th Street and Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. According to the NY Daily News, 67 year old Deborah Mutell was found by the police lying in the street with her body split in two. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Investigators believe that after she was hit by the truck, she fell under the wheel and was dragged several feet until her body fell in pieces from the undercarriage of the truck. Investigators are still searching for the truck. Last week another sanitation truck killed a young boy and critically injured his mom.

A new and upcoming Citywide commercial waste zone system is expected to result in creating a safer environment for workers and the public alike

Sanitation trucks, especially those belonging to private companies are often very dangerous to pedestrians. Private carting companies have a bad reputation. They often operate with a blatant disrespect for the safety of their workers and of the public as well. Currently, around 90 private sanitation companies service customers all around the city. As a consequence, more than 50 individual carting companies may service a single neighborhood every day. This system not only put workers and pedestrians in danger but also pollutes the environment. It will be replace next year  by a new system.  A  Commercial Waste Zone Bill was passed a few months ago and is expected to improve work conditions, reduce pedestrian accidents and decrease pollution.

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accident sceneA 10 year old boy and a 68 year old woman died in two separate truck accidents in New York City last week. Both accidents occurred on the same day.

10 year old boy killed by NYC Sanitation truck

The first accident occurred in Queens last Tuesday around 7:00 am.  10 year old Shreejan Panthee was on his way to school with his mother Mina. Both of them were crossing the 57th Avenue crosswalk near 97th Street in Corona, Queens, when a NYC Sanitation truck made a right turn onto 57th Street from a nearby driveway and struck them. The boy was run over by the rear wheels and the mother was knocked down on the ground.  Both the mother and the child were rushed to the hospital. Shreejan died a few hours later. Her mother Mina was critically injured but survived. A man who witnessed the accident told the media that he screamed at the truck driver: “Slow down, you are going to hit them!”. Mina, her husband Purushottam Panthee and their son Shreejan came from Nepal in 2010. The husband works as a chemist in Long Island and the mother works in a beauty salon in the Bronx. Shreejan was a smart boy who won spelling bee prizes and enjoyed swimming. The Queens Nepali Community was in shock. A vigil was organized at night at the location of the accident. The truck driver wasn’t immediately charged by the police however he was placed on “modified duty,” and stripped of driving responsibilities by the NYC Sanitation Department.

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location of the bicycle and dump truck accidentA 25 year old cyclist was killed by a garbage truck in New York early Sunday morning. Matt Travis is the 28th person to die in a bicycle accident in New York City this year. Matt was riding South on the Willis Ave Bridge bike path when a dump truck made an illegal U-turn to get on the bridge from a service road (technically 1st Avenue, see map) and fatally struck him. The driver then fled the scene of the accident. The police indicated that they are looking for him but they haven’t released any information yet.

Matt was found by the police lying on the street with severe trauma. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Matt Travis was a rising star pro wrestler and a student at the House of Glorty Wrestling School in Queens. He was recently interviewed by Vice magazine about his passion. Friends and fans have been posting tributes to the young man on social media and at the location of the accident.

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Borden-Ave-and-11streetA 14 year old cyclist was fatally struck by a truck in New York City on Saturday afternoon. Mario Valenzuela was riding his bike on Borden Avenue around 2:00 pm Saturday afternoon when a truck belonging to limited Interior Group, a private sanitation company, made a right turn onto 11th street and fatally struck him.

The 33 year old truck driver stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged even though he violated the Right of Way Law.

Last week an off duty cop on a motorcycle was also killed by a private sanitation truck in the Bronx and at the beginning of the month another cyclist suffered critical head injury after he was struck by a dump truck in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Plans to reform the industry and reduce truck roads by having a limited number of companies taking care of specific areas have all been opposed so far.

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An off duty high-ranking NYPD cop died in the Bronx after a garbage truck making a left turn hit his motorcycle. Around 8:15 am on Monday morning, 56 year old Michael McGrath, was riding his bike south on East Tremont Ave when a dump truck making a left turn onto Waterbury Avenue hit him. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died from his injuries. The driver of the truck stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t immediately charged. Inspector McGrath was the commanding officer of the NYPD’s Strategic Services Division. He was in charge of the department’s cadet program providing internships and police training for college students interested in a law enforcement career.

The accident occurred less than 10 days after a 62 year old e-biker suffered critical head injury after colliding with a garbage truck in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The accident was pretty similar to the one that killed Inspector Mc Grath. The dump truck struck the e-biker while making a left turn from third Ave onto 12th Street. The driver was a 52 year old off-duty firefighter working an authorized second job.

Hell on Wheels

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Regulatory-impact-analysis-image012Fatigued driving is a factor in truck accidents which according to the National Transportation Safety Board is often under reported. To prevent such accidents, truck drivers are subject to “hours of service” rules that limit the number of hours that a truck driver can spend behind the wheel and specify when a break or a sleeper berth is necessary.

Recently the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed to bring five key modifications to these rules to supposedly increase safety and provide more flexibility for drivers. These proposals are a response to industry’s stakeholders who have been requesting these changes for a very long time but safety advocates believe that relaxing the hours of service rules will make the roads more dangerous.

Those in favor of the changes are mostly trucking companies as well as truck drivers who find that the actual rules are not adapted to human needs and real world business concerns. Those against the changes are traffic safety advocates and families who have lost a loved one in a truck accident and believe that fatigue driving is underestimated.  In a press release The FMCSA said they listened to the drivers concerns but the truck industry has also been very active in lobbying the government to relax rules.