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 Tagged with car accident

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Every year in the US approximately 10,000 people die in car accidents caused by drunk drivers.  In an effort to prevent these types of accidents, states have been introducing Ignition Interlock Laws.  The ignition interlock is a device that is connected to the ignition of a car. When a driver wants to start a car with this type of device he has to breath in the ignition interlock. If alcohol is detected and is above the legal BAC limit for the state, the car doesn’t start. All states now have ignition interlock laws but some are more permissive than others. Globally there are 3 types of laws. “Permissive” laws are at the discretion of the judge or other sentencing authority. “Partial Laws” apply only to a certain type of offenders for example only repeat DUI offenders. Mandatory Laws apply to all drivers convicted of DUI. At the beginning of last year, 26 states had mandatory laws, 22 had partial laws and 2 had permissive laws.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that states with mandatory ignition interlock laws had a 7% decline in fatal crashes related to DUI.  The study was conducted by Emma E. McGinty, PhD, MS; Gregory Tung, PhD, MPH,; Juliana Shulman-Laniel, MPH; Rose Hardy, MPH; Lainie Rutkow, JD, PhD, MPH; Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH; and Jon S. Vernick, JD, MPH all from  Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Colorado School of Public Health.

The researches analyzed crash data  from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) over a 32 year period. They compared the number of alcohol related fatal crashes before and after the ignition interlock laws were adopted by the various states. The study demonstrates that mandatory ignition laws are much more effective than the permissive or partial laws at preventing drunk driving fatal accidents.

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old woman using cell phone behind the wheelDistracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents in New York City  and in the US.  While teenagers and young drivers are often perceived as the most susceptible to use their cell phone while driving, a new study indicates that seniors are indeed as bad or even worst than the kids.

While previous statistics indicate that around 50% of young drivers recognize that they are talking on the phone while driving, a new study found out that nearly 60% of seniors say they are doing exactly the same.  Conducted by a group of researchers from the Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) program at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, the study looked at the driving habits of 397 Southern Californians age 65 and older. Among the 82% of them who said they  owned a cell phone, 60% said they spoke on the phone while behind the wheel.

These statistics are extremely alarming as when people get older their driving can be reduced by additional factor such as a medical condition or medication use. Alertness and mental processing also often decrease as people are getting older.

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Car crashes are the leading cause of deaths among American teens. The majority of the serious teen car accidents are the result of a critical error committed by the driver.  Parents play an important role in teaching their teens how to drive safely and avoid dangerous driving errors.

The Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia (CIRP@CHOP) has a dedicated team that specializes in improving teen driver safety. They have their own website and provide valuable resources to teens, parents and professionals working with teens.

Among the most downloaded resources is the “Teen Driving Plan Practice Guide” a guide for parents to effectively supervise their teens’ driving practice. Researchers have found that teen drivers whose parents were using that guide were 65% less likely to commit dangerous driving errors.  This popular guide is also available in a YouTube video format. The Teen Driving Plan Practice Guide You Tube Channel features 52 videos dedicated to parents who wants to effectively supervise their teens’ driving practice.

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young driverPeople who are driving after recovering from a concussion may be at higher risk of a car accident. A recent study lead by Julianne Schmidt, associate professor in the UGA College of Education’s department of kinesiology shows that despite being asymptomatic, people who recently suffered concussion may drive erratically. The study was recently published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

During the study, Julianne Schmidt and her team compared the driving skills of 14 students who suffered concussion but were symptom free with the driving skills of 14 students who didn’t suffer from concussion. Participants were required to to complete a graded symptom checklist and a neuropsychological exam. Participants with concussion were asked to take a 20.5 km driving test within 48 hours of becoming asymptomatic. Healthy participants of the same age were required to complete the same driving test.

The study showed that participants who previously suffered concussion but were cleared of symptoms exhibited driving behavior similar to someone driving under the influence of alcohol.  The researchers compared the number of crashes between the two groups of students as well as the number of tickets, the number of lane excursion, the way they were driving in curves and their speed. They found out that concussed participants were not well controlling their vehicles especially when driving in the curves. They also swerved a lot more than healthy drivers putting themselves and other road users at a greater risk of accidents.

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Driver free carAfter decades of steady decline, deadly car accidents are on the rise again in the U.S.  According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety, 17,775 people died on American roads during the first six months of 2016. Compared to the same period of 2015, the number of traffic fatalities increased by 10.4%.  This is the biggest spike in 50 years. The new Transportation Secretary will have to identify ways of  reversing this alarming increase of traffic deaths. Distracted driving is the number one cause of fatal crashes.  A few year ago distracted driving was mostly related to people calling or texting while driving. These days all kind of apps are being used by motorists while driving.

Another difficult task, also related to new technologies, that Ms Chao will have to handle is the development of regulations for automated cars. Car safety advocates who have previously emitted  concerns about the Obama administration’s lack of strong safety regulation in this field are now even more worried. With the Trump administration’s anti-regulation stance, there is a significant risk that many road users will die in the near future as a result of auto-makers being allowed to launch automated cars in an almost self-regulated environment.

Read more in Fairwarning

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Clarence Ditlow, a very influential and effective activist who protected consumers from unsafe vehicles died from colon cancer on November 10. He was 72 years old.

Clarence Ditlow who started as a lawyer for Ralph Nader’s Public Interest Research Group in 1971 had been at the head of the Center for Auto Safety for the last 40 years.  A lawyer and an engineer, Ditlow dedicated his life to improve the safety of anyone driving or riding a car. A workaholic who received only a modest salary, he spent his life going after negligent automakers and complaisant regulators.

Tirelessly assembling evidence about the causes of car accidents and the injuries or deaths resulting from these crashes, he exposed safety defects in millions of motor vehicles. His work lead to massive safety recalls and saved an untold number of consumers from deadly accidents.  He was considered the “guardian angel” of American motorists.

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Car accidents are the number one cause of fatalities among teens. 2,679 teens died and 123,000 were injured in car accidents in 2014 in the US according to the most recent statistics. Distracted driving including distraction from other passengers, speeding, alcohol use and lack of seat belts are among the main factors contributing to these accidents. To raise awareness about these dangers and in an attempt to prevent teens from dying or being injured in car crashes the Congress created the National Teen Driver Safety Week in 2007. National Teen Drivers Safety Week 2016 starts Today for the ninth consecutive year. During this week, schools and communities will conduct campaigns related to this issue.  If you want to get involved in your community or learn more about National Teen Driver Safety Week you can find campaign material here.


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Rear End CollisionThe Traffic Injury Prevention Journal  recently released a study comparing traffic accidents involving novice teen drivers and experienced adults. The study uses data from the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) Naturalistic Driving Study. Naturalistic driving is a new approach of analyzing driving behavior. In the SHRP2 naturalistic driving study, 2,360 drivers of all ages and genders across the US agreed to have their driving behavior electronically monitored. For a specific period of time, each participant’s car was equipped with high tech data-collecting devices that analyzed their day to day driving activities and behavior.

A team led by researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia used the naturalistic driving data to compare crash rates and rear-end striking crashes among novice teens and experienced adults.  Researchers found 539 crashes involving novice teen drivers (16 to 19 years old) or experienced adult drivers (35 to 54 years old). They looked at data from onboard instrumentation such as scene cameras, accelerometers and GPS to  identify rear-end crashes. Each of these rear-end collisions were then analyzed to obtain information about impact velocity and severity of the crash.

The study found that rear-end crashes represented 43% of all significant at-fault crashes. Novice teen drivers had a crash rate of 30 per million miles driven and a rear-end striking crash rate of 13.5 compared to respectively 5.3 and 1.8 per million miles driven for experienced adult drivers. The median impact velocity for rear-end crashes was 18.9 mph for novice drivers and 2.8 mph for experienced drivers. Rear-end crash severity was also higher for teens than for adults.

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automated vehicleHuman error is the main factor in fatalities and injuries related to car accidents. The introduction of automated vehicles (AV) is expected to lead to a significant improvement of safety on American roads. However just like actual cars, new automated vehicles must pass safety standards. The US Department of Transportation’s role is to ensure public safety on the roads. With the arrival on the market of  self driving vehicles, the agency is confronted with to new challenges. How to keep road users safe with automated vehicles? How to keep up to date with safety as technology related to AVs is developing very quickly?

The DOT consulted with experts, safety advocates, industry leaders and State governments among others before to publish a “Federal Automated Vehicles Policy”. This document was released with the purpose of seeking public comments.  The DOT will consider all received feedback and release an updated policy in one year.

The document can be downloaded here

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teen driverDistracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents in the U.S.  Among age groups, statistics indicate that  teen drivers are the most at risk of being involved in a fatal crash related to distracted driving. Distracted driving is not only about cell phone use. Distracted driving can be any type of activity that diverts the attention of the driver from the road. Passengers behavior may distract the driver, especially when teens are sharing a car. This is the reason why programs such as the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) recommend to limit the number of passengers in the car for new teen drivers.

To better understand how a teen driver perceives the risks of driving with other passengers, Catherine C. Mc Donald, PHD, RN at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA and Marilyn S. Sommers, PhD, RN, FAAN, Lillian S. Brunner Professor of Medical–Surgical Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, Philadelphia, PA conducted focus groups and interviews with teen drivers. Their findings were recently published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing. The study entitled “Good Passengers and Not Good Passengers:” Adolescent Drivers’ Perceptions About Inattention and Peer Passengers, found that depending on situations, other passengers behavior may reduce accident risks.  Accidents risks are lowered when another passenger helps the teen driver with technology such as GPS, cell phone or music. However when music is played too loud or other passengers distract the driver with Snapchat or other cell phone apps the risk of accidents increases.

When teaching and discussing road safety with their teens or when handing their car keys to them, parents should keep this study in mind. While passengers behaving badly may increase the risk of accidents related to distracted driving, the help of a good passenger may prevent teens getting distracted while driving.