Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Public health experts and epidemiologists strongly recommend that Americans do not travel for the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. For those that must travel—such as college students who cannot stay on campus—a few recent reports offer tips for traveling as safely as possible, to minimize the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

According to a recent Los Angeles Times report, some of the biggest transmission risks are airports, train stations, and highway rest stops where “it can be difficult to stay six feet away from others.” When it comes to air travel, experts recommend sitting in window seats and away from restrooms. The report quotes a University of California, San Francisco epidemiologist who said, “you want to sit as far away from the toilets as much as possible, which would minimize how often you’re near passengers walking past you…You want to be as far away from that action as possible.” He also advised that travelers fly with airlines that are leaving middle seats unoccupied.

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On average, there are about 200 bridge strikes—incidents in which a truck collides with a bridge—every year in New York. Bridge strikes put drivers and other motorists at risk of injury, cause traffic disruptions, and can require expensive repairs to the bridge that gets struck. Since 2015, according to officials, there have been over 1,100 bridge strikes in the state. That’s why Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced an “enforcement and education campaign” to combat bridge strikes.

The campaign, a joint effort between the state Department of Transportation, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, and the State Police, took place between November 9th and November 15th. It involved state troopers monitoring areas “where there have been documented bridge strikes by large commercial vehicles.” Continue reading

A study of American travel habits by Longwood International found that “half of American travelers are currently planning to stay home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year’s Eve,” and that about the same number feel that the Covid-19 pandemic “will greatly impact their travel decisions in the next six months.”

The study also found that 40% of Americans are planning to travel by car during the holidays, and less than 25% are planning to travel by plane. The research indicates that Americans’ holiday travel plans are divided evenly between the four major winter holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa. In a statement about the study, the company’s President and CEO, Amir Eylon, said: “With the number of new COVID cases rising in more than half the states, we can expect further disruption in family holiday travel plans… The number of actual holiday travelers in 2020 will likely be driven by the perceived safety and/or risk of taking such trips during the holiday period.” Continue reading

A deadly crash in Queens has sparked heated discussions about bicycle safety in New York City. As Gothamist reports, a 35-year-old delivery worker driving a motorized scooter, Alfredo Cabrera Liconia, “was killed by the driver of a Bud Light truck” last Thursday. Video of the incident shows Liconia’s Scooter “trapped under the wheels of the semi-truck, which appears to be making a right turn onto Crescent Street.” The collision occurred while the driver “appeared” to be turning right from Astoria Boulevard to Crescent Street, where trucks are not permitted unless they’re making deliveries. Gothamist reports that it was not clear whether Liconia was using the bike lane when struck.

One image of the truck reportedly captured it “crushing the flexible posts” separating the lane from vehicle lanes. These “flexi-posts” have been criticized by cycling accidents as too insubstantial to prevent vehicles from passing into protected bicycle lanes. A group of local lawmakers reportedly asked the city’s department of Transportation to replace the flexi-posts with “concrete jersey barriers” as a way of protecting cyclists from cars. Continue reading

One curious feature of the Covid-19 pandemic’s effects on American roadways is that while there were fewer vehicles on the roads, there was also an increase in reckless driving, accidents, and deaths.

As Axios reported in October, data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found “traffic fatality rates increased 30%” in the second quarter of 2020. Officials attributed this spike to an increase in “risky behavior.” When researchers looked at patient data in trauma centers, they found that many “seriously injured or fatal crash victims” had been speeding, driving under the influence, and/or not wearing seatbelts. Researchers found specifically a higher presence of “alcohol, cannabinoids, and opioids” than in the same time period in previous years.

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Research conducted by State Farm Insurance indicates that the autumn months are when motorists are most at risk of crashes involving deer. Deer-vehicle accidents reach their peak in October, per a recent article by New York Upstate, though the risk persists until the end of January. As the article notes, the risk is so high in those months because they constitute both the mating season for deer, as well as a period of heightened activity as deer forage in advance of the winter months.

A 2018 analysis by State Farm estimates that the risk of hitting deer or other large mammals “doubles in the fall.” The risk of hitting deer is highest at the dawn and dusk hours, raising the need for drivers to be vigilant. State Farm advises drivers take a number of precautions, including: driving slowly, especially at dawn and dusk; wearing seatbelts; anticipating additional deer to follow any deer they see; using high beams, unless oncoming traffic are approaching; and avoiding distractions, such as phones or food. In the event that a driver encounters a deer, State Farm advises braking if possible, but not swerving, which “can result in a more severe crash.”

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A new law in the State of New York requires all car passengers, even those riding in the backseat, to wear a seatbelt. Before the law went into effect on November 1st, passengers over 16 years of age were not required to wear a seatbelt when they were sitting in the rear seat. With the new legislation, New York becomes the 31st state in the nation to require backseat passengers to buckle up. While the law exempts bus passengers as well as people riding in emergency vehicles like ambulances, it does not exempt passengers in taxis and other ride share vehicles.

New York’s Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has estimated that 30% of highway fatalities in the state involve passengers who aren’t wearing seatbelts. When Governor Cuomo signed the new legislation in August, State Senator David Carlucci said: “The injuries you can sustain from not wearing a seat belt can be deadly, and that’s a fact whether you sit in the front or the back of a vehicle. With this bill signed into law, we will help prevent tragedies and save lives in New York. Thank you to the advocates, including AAA for their strong support of this legislation.” Continue reading

To keep children safe from vehicle accidents, cities need to develop more green space, build protected infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, keep speed limits low, close off some streets to cars entirely, and implement clean air initiatives. Thats the argument of a recent article in TheCityFix, a website covering urban issues in the US and around the world.

As many as 500 children die in car crashes each day, with magnitudes more suffering the long-term consequences of the trauma that results from nonfatal car accidents. TheCityFix argues that in order to become more “child-friendly, cities need to take bold, holistic public policy approaches that prioritize the needs of children. Continue reading

Scooters and other micromobility vehicles may be the future of urban transit, argues a new article in TheCityFix. The Covid-19 pandemic’s effects on mobility patterns are likely to increase the speed with which urban dwellers adopt new transportation modes, like scooters, e-bikes, mopeds, and traditional bicycles. Studies show that some cities have seen as much as 90% declines in public transit use, with people shifting to micromobility vehicles. This trend raises important questions, especially when it comes to safety issues.

Most cities do not have the necessary infrastructure to keep micromobility users safe, according to TheCityFix: due to the dominance of urban development that favors car riders, absent are structures like bicycle lanes separated from traffic, or “connected corridors where people can safely ride and scoot over long distances.” In the absence of such structures, the use of micromobility vehicles can put riders at risk of injury and death. Continue reading

Is it time to repeal jaywalking laws? A new column in Bloomberg CityLab argues it is, citing their alleged role in systemic racism. The column points out that in September, a Black man in San Clemente, California, was shot and killed during an altercation with police when he tried to cross a street. “Black and Brown people, especially men, are routinely targeted by police for jaywalking or simply existing in public space,” the authors write, noting that while some infractions result in fines, others result in violence or death.

The column’s authors, who are both “experts on pedestrian safety” in the US, go on to argue that the rise of pedestrian deaths over the last ten years demonstrates the ineffectiveness of jaywalking laws when it comes to public safety. Then they lay out nine reasons to get rid of them in the US. Continue reading

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