Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

While most states have laws banning “texting while driving,” states are increasingly strengthening enforcement and penalties for so-called “distracted driving.” In 2016, auto accidents and fatalities increased by 9 percent. As a consequence, in 2017, states have taken varying approaches to solve the problem of distracted driving – which often results in accidents.

The states of Iowa and Washington have enacted the strictest laws against “distracted driving” in the country. Now, a violation (texting or calling – without a hands-free device) will move from secondary enforcement to primary enforcement. This means that police officers will not have to witness a secondary violation (such as speeding, failure to signal, etc.) before pulling a car over and issuing an additional ticket for texting or calling while driving. Instead, if a police officer witnesses a driver texting or placing a phone call, they will have the right to pull that driver over immediately and issue a ticket.

Continue reading

  1. Make Sure Your Teen Hears You

The best advice in the world means nothing if your teenager does not listen to you – so it’s important to pick the right time, place and setting. First, pick a time and place where you can naturally ease into the conversation about driving – your teen will likely be excited about driving, but you want them to remain calm and collected during the conversation, so try to bring it up naturally. Next, be sure to ask your teen questions, such as: What do you think about how that car just swerved around three lanes of traffic? This can be a good opportunity to provide practical, wise advice about how a person should or should not drive. Lastly, there is no better way to make sure your teen hears you than to lead by example! Show your teen what good driving habits look like, and they will be sure to emulate!

  1. Provide Good Driving Advice

Christina Piemonte sued the two owners and operators of Holiday Farm to recover damages for injuries caused by a collision between her automobile and a horse that had escaped from their farm. Piemonte sought to recover damages caused by the horse under two legal theories. First, Piemonte said that Holiday Farm did not exercise an appropriate level of care when securing the horse and should therefore be held responsible for the damage to her automobile. Second, Piemonte said that the Holiday Farm should be “strictly liable” (a legal term that esssentially means a person is responsible for damages, even though they did not actually do anything wrong) because the law imposes this burden on owners of animals with a “vicious propensity.” The Court declined both of Piemonte’s arguments and refused to hold Holiday Farm responsible for the damage that the escaped horse caused to Piemonte’s vehicle.

Continue reading

A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found voice activation technology in cars to be distracting and that it takes drivers 27 seconds to regain full alertness after making a command.  For example, a car going 25 mph can travel the length of three football fields before the driver’s brain fully refocuses on driving after use of this technology. One of the researchers compared the use of these systems to balancing a checkbook while driving, something no one would do. Researcher and professor at the University of Utah, David Strayer, stated once a person shifts their attention to interacting with the device they stop scanning the road and do not anticipate hazards or things in their way.

573 adult drivers were surveyed for the study in Washington, D.C. and concluded that hands-free driving distracts one-third of drivers even with their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Seven out of 10 surveyors believed they were only distracted for 10 seconds after using an in-vehicle device to dial a phone number or change the radio station. Meanwhile, 88% said they believe other drivers are “very distracted or somewhat distracted” while using these devices. AAA spokesman, John B. Townsend stated that everyone believes they are the exception, exaggerating our ability to handle these technologies and loathing the thought of other people using it. Continue reading

According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, the United States (U.S.) has the highest vehicle crash death rate of 19 high-income nations, such as Belgium, Slovenia, Spain and France. In 2000, each of those countries had a death rate of 14 per every 100,000 people. The U.S.  rate decreased 31%, however this paled in comparison to the 59% decrease of other comparable countries. The greatest reduction was seen in Spain with a decrease of 75% from 2000 to 2013; Slovenia also reduced their rate by 62%.

limo-accident-1439099In 2013, the U.S. had the highest death rate, remaining in the double digits at 10.3 per 100,000 while other nations significantly reduced their rates. Belgium remained at second highest, however their rate significantly lower at 6.5 per 100,000. The year 2013 also saw the loss of 33,000 U.S. lives year due to motor vehicle related crashes.  The nearly 33,000 people who died in car crashes in 2013 is almost 10,000 more than all of the vehicle-related deaths in all comparable 19 countries, while the U.S. population does not amount to the total population of those countries.  If the U.S. was able to maintain the same death rate as Belgium, approximately 12,000 lives would have been saved that year and $140 million in medical expenses avoided.

Continue reading

In 2011, a researcher from the Triple AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published a report on the death rate in pedestrian-car accidents based on federal study of car crashes from 1994-1998; the study found the faster a car was going or the older the pedestrian, the deadlier the outcome of the accident. Lena Groeger, the author of the cited article, created an interactive chart based on the Triple AAA data, showing the correlation of speed and the age of a person, which is available on the link below. The interactive chart shows a 30 year old hit by a car going 45 mph has about a 50% chance of being killed, while a 70 year has a 50% chance of dying when hit by a car going 35 mph. Although these percentages are not exact, they show that age makes a significant difference.  In addition to age playing a role, the chart shows that cars going over 20 mph rapidly become more deadly.

According to the Triple AAA data, a person is 70% more likely to be killed when struck by a car going 30 mph versus 25 mph. In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio decreased the speed imageNew York City (NYC) speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph. NYC saw the fewest traffic accidents in 2015 since 1910; there were a total of 231 deaths with 134 of them being pedestrian.  Many saw the decrease in the speed limit as unnecessary and annoying but it makes a difference in the survival rate of those who are hit. Tobias Niebuhr, a statistician at the University of Hamburg who studies pedestrian risk recently published a study showing oldespeed imager people are more likely to seriously injured or killed at all collision speeds. Continue reading

A recent Triple AAA Foundation for Traffic (“Triple AAA”) study draws attention to the risks of distracted driving. Distracted driving refers to drivers who talk, text, and dial, including hands-free devices, while operating a motor vehicle.  It can also include those that eat or drink while driving.  Triple AAA’s study illustrates that driving while distracted is very dangerous and plays a significant role in motor vehicle accidents.   Continue reading

A report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggests that pedestrian cell phone use is almost as deadly as texting and driving. The report found a 10% increase in the amount of pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2015; the largest year to year increase in those types of deaths within the last four decades. GHSA stated that this increase may also be due to lower gas prices resulting in more road trips being taken than in 2014. However, cell phones are known for having a strong hold on people’s attention that could be severely harmful.

walking textingRichard Retting, co-author of the report released by the GHSA, stated that there has never been a 10% increase in only one year. He also stated that the amount of cell phone data used on a regular basis is “explosive” which factors into the elevation of pedestrian deaths.  Studies have shown that people using their cell phones while walking have slower reaction times and pay less attention to their surroundings. As of January 2014, 9 of 10 adults in the United States owned a cell phone, which prompted lawmakers to ban texting while driving in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Continue reading

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department reversed a trial court order for summary judgment in favor of the defendant driver in a pedestrian car accident case.

The plaintiff was a pedestrian who was crossing the street when she was injured after being struck by the defendant’s car. The plaintiff argued that the defendants negligently drove their car into the plaintiff. The plaintiff also argued that the defendants committed intentional gross negligence. The plaintiff stated that she was struck by the defendant’s car while she was walking across a street within a pedestrian crosswalk with the light in her favor. However, the defendant testified that the plaintiff was riding a bicycle at the time of the accident and that the accident occurred after she suddenly appeared from between parked cars while trying to cross the street in the middle of the block.

Continue reading

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department affirmed a jury verdict that awarded $1,640,000 to the victim of a motorcycle accident.

The plaintiff was driving down the road on his motorcycle when a car stopped in front of him. The occupant of the car swung the door open, climbed out of the car, and held his arm out. As the plaintiff rapidly approached the driver, he feared that the driver was trying to rob him. The plaintiff then rode around the car by driving up on the sidewalk and rapidly accelerating. In his haste to drive past the driver, the plaintiff lost control of his motorcycle. The motorcycle went up on one wheel, and he fell, sustaining serious injuries.

The driver of the car was a police officer. The police officer was attempting to pull over the plaintiff. However, the officer was not in uniform and was driving an unmarked car. The police officer put his arm out to signal to the plaintiff to stop, which the plaintiff misinterpreted.

Contact Information