Articles Posted in Traffic Accidents

After a tragic limo crash killed 20 in upstate New York, Senator Chuck Schumer is renewing his call for stronger government regulations and oversight. Similar to other limousine offerings across the country, the Ford Expedition involved in the accident was modified into a limousine by cutting the SUV into two parts and then extended. Safety advocates have long warned that this process requires removing necessary safety features from the vehicle, including airbags and side rollover pillars, and imperils limo passengers. Now the cause of the deadliest traffic accident in a decade, according to The New York Times, transportation safety advocates and politicians are hoping their pleas for oversight will no longer remain unanswered.

According to New York politicians, the stretched Ford Expedition should not have been used on the night of the crash. The limo had repeatedly failed state inspections, including one just last month. The numerous violations included a faulty braking system, which had taken the twenty-passenger Ford Expedition off the road twice. Further, the driver of the limousine, Scott Lisinicchia, did not possess a valid license to operate the limo. Lisinicchia also died in the crash, which killed all seventeen passengers and two individuals parked on the side of the road. Authorities have charged the owner of the limo business with negligent homicide. The business owner pled not guilty and said the DOT deemed the limo roadworthy only a week before the crash and described the Lisinicchia as a “reliable employee” to CNN.

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New York City became the first city in America to put a cap on the number of vehicles used by ride-hailing services last month. The move by City Council is part of a broader regulatory scheme meant to address a range of issues concerning ride-hailing services including their effect on medallion prices, driver wages and benefits, and limited access for New Yorkers with disabilities. Uber, Lyft, and Via – the three most prominent ride-hailing services in the five boroughs – decried the regulation and said that their services offered a pivotal service to low-income New Yorkers without access to taxis or the subway, in addition to jobs with flexible schedules.

In addition to capping the number of vehicles used by ride-hailing services at their current level of 100,00, the bill also allows for New York to set a minimum hourly rate for Uber and Lyft drivers. Previously, these drivers were considered independent contractors under the law – not employees – and therefore were not subject to minimum wage laws, among other protections given to employees. According to the City Council and Mayor de Blasio, the new law will put a “pause” on the industry for twelve months while it commissions a study on the effect of ride-hailing services on congestion which the Mayor said contributed to the “congestion grinding our streets to a halt” without citing any evidence.

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According to the National Institute of Highway Safety, August 2 is the most lethal day for driving a car in America – with 505 deaths on the day just between 2012 and 2016. As the most common cause of death in America, car accidents tend to peak in the summer, with three of the five most dangerous days occurring during the warmer weather months. Perhaps surprisingly, Thursday 8/2 is the deadliest day of the week to be driving.

The summer is “prime vacation time,” according to Bloomberg, which reported on the federal government’s study. The first week of August, especially, is the most common time for a family to take a road trip in America. According to the researchers, the increase in travelers on the road is essentially the sole cause of the higher accident rate in August. Anecdotal evidence also shows that “driving habits” tend to be more erratic in the summer months – with no icy, dark roads to fear. Other data indicating that August is the most dangerous month for American drivers? According to Nationwide Mutual Insurance, more motorists report claims in August than in any other month.

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An “enforcement blitz” against speeding motorists is expected over the coming week as New York performs its an annual “speed week.” The initiative, funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, is entering its ninth year in the Empire State. Now an annual tradition, local police stations take to the streets and ramp up enforcement for driver’s disobeying speeding laws.

According to LoHud.com, Westchester residents should not expect any mercy or “warnings” if they are pulled over for speeding sometime in the next week. In fact, the entire slogan for the week is “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine,” according to the state government’s website. Speaking on the topic of “Speed Week”, New Rochelle Traffic Unit Supervisor Detective Sgt Myron Joseph told LoHud.com, “Speeding drivers put themselves, their passengers, and other drivers at tremendous risk. Our goal is to save lives, and we’re putting all drivers on alert – the posted speed limit is the law.”

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Amid a steady decline in pedestrian deaths, New York lawmakers will allow a law allowing speed cameras in school zones to expire this week. According to Mayor de Blasio, traffic deaths have decreased 55 percent in school zones equipped with cameras. Despite its effectiveness and relatively low cost, the Republican-led state Senate refused to renew the program while in session, despite its passing the Democratic-controlled state Assembly

Originally part of Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero,” the cameras originally went up across the city in 2014. Since that time, over 140 schools have been equipped with speed cameras across the five boroughs, according to NY1.  Hoping the Senate would be recalled from recess to extend the deadline before it reconvenes in January, Mayor de Blasio accused the state legislators of “effectively legalizing deadly driving in New York City school zones,” and failing to “protect New Yorkers.”

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Following a five-year pattern, New York’s traffic deaths continued to decline during the first six months of the year. From January to June, a total of 81 traffic fatalities occurred throughout the five boroughs. With the exception of motorcycle fatalities, all other traffic fatalities saw a decrease compared to the immediately preceding year. The continued decline is largely attributed to Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” campaign which aims to reduce vehicular deaths and pedestrian deaths to zero.

Across the city, vehicular deaths have decreased a full 30 percent since 2013. For pedestrian deaths, the decline is even steeper – at a full 45 percent compared to five years ago. According to The New York Times, pedestrian deaths are the lowest since at least 1910, when the city began keeping record of the fatalities.

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Hit-and-run fatalities have seen a marked increase throughout the country as more Americans are bicycling and walking to work, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing a report released by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the newspaper states that hit-and-run fatalities increased 61 percent between 2009 and 2016. In 2016 alone, 68 percent of the fatalities in hit-and-run accidents were pedestrians or bicyclists. According to the Wall Street Journal, the increase in Americans choosing healthier modes of transportation is the leading cause of the increase in deaths.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 1,980 fatal hit-and-run accidents which caused a stunning 2,050 deaths. Both of these numbers represent record highs, according to the federal agency which has been tracking these statistics for over four decades. Overall, there were 40,000 traffic fatalities in 2017 – the second year the rate of fatalities has seen a significant increase, and following years of declining deaths in traffic accidents.

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A Queens mom has sued New York City for a missing stop sign that caused the Uber she was riding in to crash, injuring herself and her one-month-old son. The mother, Oddeth Davidson, was traveling with her infant son, Kaiden Brown, in a ride-share vehicle when another car T-boned the Uber in Cambria Heights at the intersection of 225th street and 120th Avenue on January 11, according to the New York Post. According to the lawsuit, the Department of Transportation’s negligence in failing to replace the stop sign, which had allegedly been missing for several months, caused the accident and should, therefore, be responsible for the damages.

In total, Davidson is suing for $45 million in damages – $30 million for her child’s injuries, $10 million for her own injuries, and $5 million for the anticipated costs of caring for her brain-damaged child. The car accident left the young infant with traumatic brain injuries, seizure disorder, and a neck injury from the crash, according to the New York Post. “He is under the care of a neurosurgeon and a pediatric neurologist. This could be catastrophic and affect him for the rest of his life,” Davidson said of her infant child.

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distracted-drivingThe number of car accidents in America has steadily increased since 2014, reversing a previous downward trend on America’s roadways. Experts believe that an increase in distracted driving is largely to blame for the increase in car accidents – pointing to the rise of cell phones, in particular.

Distracted driving is a catch-all term for whenever a driver is not focused on the roadways. While this obviously includes activities such as texting and driving or putting on makeup while commuting to work, distracted driving encompasses many more activities. A driver may be distracted if they are changing the radio station, inputting an address into their navigation system, or having an emotional conversation that distracts the driver from concentrating on the road. Experts believe that, since there is no test to measure what a driver was concentrating on at the time of an accident, the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers is woefully under reported.   Continue reading

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

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