Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

Parents of a victim lost to the terrorist attack on one of Lower Manhattan’s bike trails has filed a notice of their intent to sue New York City. The parents of Darren Drake state that New York designed a bike path that was unsafe for people to use. According to them, New York should have foreseen the possibility of a terrorist attack and not allowed the terrorist to have “unfettered” access to the bike path. According to the family, this was “grossly negligent” of the city and its various departments.

bikeBike lanes and bike-sharing programs have shot-up across the world in recent decades. Possibly fueled by urbanite’s increased enthusiasm for exercise and the environment in recent decades, New Yorkers know that the best part of biking is how quickly it can get you somewhere. As bike lanes and Citi Bike’s ridership have skyrocketed in the city over the last few years, the lawsuits have, perhaps predictably, followed. Continue reading

Despite its reputation for progressive politics, New York City is failing its residents with physical disabilities. While the subway has long created a nightmare of obstacles for New Yorkers with special needs, sidewalks are also becoming an increasing problem for the city.

Disability advocates point to two main problems with the city’s sidewalks. First, there are an insufficient amount of so-called “curb cuts.” Curb cuts are the term used for the are where the concrete sidewalk becomes level with the asphalt on the street.  For individuals with walkers or wheelchairs, the steady and smooth decline into the street is necessary for their safety. If the curb cut has a large bump or cracks, wheelchairs can be more difficult to navigate, imperiling the safety of the person as he or she attempts to safely cross the street. Continue reading

distracted-drivingNew York State may be the first state in the country to equip police with a Textalyzer, meant to check whether a driver was using his or her phone immediately preceding a crash. Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to study the technology and the inevitable issues it could create for New York residents’ privacy and civil rights. Texting, or otherwise using your cell phone, is illegal in New York and violation of this law carries five driver violation points. There is an exception for hands-free calling.

The term, a play on the age-old breathalyzer which tests the blood alcohol content of potentially drunk drivers, is meant to function in a similar manner. After a vehicle accident, police would arrive on the scene and plug the Textalyzer into the driver’s cell phone. After about a minute, the Textalyzer would respond with whether the driver was texting, emailing, surfing the web or otherwise violating New York State’s hands-free drive law. Also similar to a breathalyzer test, refusing the roadside test could result in the mandatory suspension of the driver’s license.   Continue reading

Despite almost universal state laws discouraging the practice, Americans are still refusing to put down their phones while in the car. Cell phone usage, especially text messaging, and distracted driving continue to be contributing factors in car crashes. The need to stay in contact all the time is especially high among young twenty-somethings. In New York State, residents between the age of 21 and 29 make up only 15 percent of the state’s drivers, yet they are involved in 37 percent of crashes involving cell phone use and 24 percent of crashes involving distracted driving. Continue reading

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that the number of traffic deaths has increased by 6 percent in the last five years. Even more alarmingly, the number of pedestrian fatalities has increased by 25 percent over the same period of time. Pedestrian fatalities now account for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities – up from 11 percent in 2011. The State of New York currently ranks 25th in pedestrian fatalities. New York City, as the largest city in the country and most pedestrian-friendly, unsurprisingly has the most pedestrian fatalities. New York City had 131 pedestrian fatalities in 2015, the second-highest city for pedestrian fatalities was Los Angeles which had only 85 in the same year.

The GHSA Report states that the increase in pedestrian fatalities is most likely due to more people choosing to walk or bike. Spurred by the health, environmental and economic benefits – walking and biking have become more popular in recent years. According to the Government Accountability Office, almost one million more people are choosing to walk or bike to work compared to 2005.

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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

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.

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