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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 Tagged with car accident

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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.

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An estimated 438 people will die and 50,300 will be seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident this Labor Day Holiday. These estimates were released recently by the National Safety Council and cover the period beginning Today at 6:00 pm and ending Monday at 11:59 pm. The estimated number of traffic fatalities is 18% higher than the average number of fatalities for the last six previous Labor Day Periods.  It would also be the highest total number of fatalities for the holiday period since 2008 when the National Safety Council started keeping these statistics.

The National Safety Council also estimated that 170 of these 438 estimated traffic fatalities could be avoided if the front seat passenger wears a seat belt. Another estimated 104 deaths could be prevented if all wear seat belts.

Traffic Fatality Labor Day

Data Source: National Safety Council


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Will SmithA surveillance video shows that Will Smith initially hit the car of  the man who then murdered him in an act of road rage. The surveillance shows Smith’s car bumping into a Hummer. While the hummer’s driver, identified as Cardell Hayes, pulled to the right side of the road, Smith just drove around it and continued on his way. Hayes became enraged that Smith didn’t stop and started to pursue Smith with his Hummer.  Hayes then caught up with Smith’s car and rear ended him, sending Smith’s car crashing into a third vehicle. As Smith stepped out of his vehicle words were exchanged before gunfire erupted. The former Saints player died of multiple gunshots, allegedly fired by Hayes. His wife only suffered personal injury as she was struck twice in the leg. Another senseless act which illustrates the consequences of carrying a gun by people who are not mentally stable.

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digital billboard mix for slideshow 4As billboards are getting more and more sophisticated, the risk of car accidents caused by drivers distracted by these billboards is increasing.  Jerry Wachtel,  a traffic safety consultant just released a compendium of 22 recent studies related to potential consequences for driver distraction from Commercial Electronic Variable Message Signs (CEVMS) along the roadside. The author released a previous study in 2009 warning about the dangers of such billboards. More recent studies are showing that as billboard became more sophisticated, drivers also became more distracted increasing the risk of accidents. Below is a summary of the  most relevant findings:

  • While experienced drivers are more cautious than young drivers in keeping their eyes away from distractions that are inside the car (i.e. phone dialing or map searching) they are not as cautious when it comes to external distractions such as electronic billboards.  Both younger and older drivers have a tendency to often glance for more than 2 seconds at external distractions such as electronic billboards instead of focusing on the road in front of them. When a driver takes his or her eyes off the road for two seconds or more the risk of an accident is high.
  • Drivers pay less attention to relevant road signs but focus more on electronic billboards when both types of signs are on the same road