New York City Personal Injury Blog

Distracted driving remains a problem for American motorists

Research released by the Risk Institute has revealed important information about the impact of distracted driving on roadways throughout New York and the rest of the nation. Everything from cellphones and navigation screens takes eyes of the roads, leading to record numbers of collisions. In order to make people more aware of this problem, several organizations started the Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which takes place every April.

Drivers seem to overlook the risks of distracted driving for a variety of reasons. Studies show that overconfidence leads many drivers to risk accidents by looking at their cellphones. While most smartphones now have a do-not-disturb feature available, many people refuse to turn it on. Insurance discounts could ultimately encourage drivers to avoid distractions and concentrate on the road.

Multi-car crash in New York leaves six injured

Just before 3 p.m. on March 25, a police chase ended with the suspect crashing into another vehicle in the Bronx. Six people were injured as a result and had to be rushed to NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln.

The accident took place near the intersection of East 163rd Street and Washington Avenue. Police were chasing a vehicle whose driver had committed a traffic violation when that vehicle carrying five passengers collided with another car. The suspect's vehicle crashed against another car, the only occupant of which was the driver, before coming to a stop.

Fiery crash kills 1, critically injures another

A fiery car crash took the life of one person and left a man critically injured in New York on March 11. The accident occurred in East Flatbush just after 3:30 a.m.

According to the New York Police Department, the driver of the car, a 26-year-old man, was traveling on Kings Highway when he apparently lost control of his vehicle and violently smashed into a street pole near Tilden Avenue. The force of the impact destroyed the vehicle and caused it to burst into flames. A passerby managed to put out the fire, and rescue crews extricated the driver and a 30-year-old passenger. They were transported to Kings County Hospital for emergency treatment.

Why are pedestrian fatalities increasing?

Pedestrian accidents continue to pose serious risks to New Yorkers. In fact, pedestrian fatalities are the highest they have been in the last 30 years, according to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association. They reported a 4 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities from 2017 to 2018 in the United States.

Why are pedestrian deaths increasing? Various factors have contributed to the increase in fatal pedestrian accidents across the country. The report found that several factors contributed to the increase in deaths:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Speeding
  • More pedestrians walking to work
  • More SUVs and larger vehicles on the road

Study examines role of opioids in fatal car accidents

New York motorists who cause fatal collisions might be more likely than the other driver to be under the influence of opioids at the time of the crash. A study examined data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System on 18,321 deadly two-car motor vehicle accidents and found drivers who caused accidents were almost two times more likely to have opioids in their system than drivers who did not. Among all fatal accidents in the study, more than 7,500 were the result of failure to remain in the lane.

The study was published in February in JAMA Network Open. Hydrocodone was the drug most commonly found in people's system followed by morphine, oxycodone, and methadone.

The most common factors in car accidents

In New York, the police determine who is at fault after a car accident. To do this, they need to know the cause behind the crash. Most accidents actually involve many factors. The following are just a few of the most common causes.

First is human error or negligence. Drivers may become distracted behind the wheel -- calling, texting or using the navigation system. Activities like eating, drinking, using makeup and talking with noisy kids in the car can also take one's attention from the road. Some drivers may become negligent because they are lost or they follow the road rules of another state (for example, making a right turn on red is not allowed in all states).

Zoo volunteer has thumb detached by orangutan

New York residents who work in zoos know that certain animals can be dangerous. In December of 2018, an intern at a North Carolina zoo was killed by a lion that somehow left its enclosure. In mid-January 2019, another incident, though non-life-threatening, occurred; a volunteer at the Toledo Zoo had her hand bitten and her thumb detached by a 14-year-old orangutan.

The volunteer was with two paid staff members while she was in the area where orangutans are fed. This area is closed to visitors, so the public was in no way endangered. During the feeding, the orangutan reached out through the mesh enclosure at the volunteer. The incident was over in a matter of seconds, but the volunteer still needed to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

How to prevent a large truck crash

In 2016, there were 3,986 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks throughout the United States. Of those who died in such crashes, 66 percent were in passenger vehicles while only 17 percent were large truck occupants. Although large truck crashes can result in serious injuries and deaths to people on New York roadways, there are ways to avoid them. One way to do this is to keep an eye on traffic up to a half-mile ahead.

Doing so may make it easier to anticipate the actions of a larger vehicle and others on the road. Vehicles that are directly behind a commercial vehicle should not follow too closely. Ideally, a person will keep his or her car at least 500 feet behind a commercial truck. As weather and road conditions can play a role in an accident, drivers should take precautions in construction zones or times of rain, fog or snow.

Not all traumatic brain injuries are the same

The brain is a very complicated organ that performs many functions. It controls life sustaining activities like breathing, while also managing physical movements, language skills, creativity, problem-solving abilities and more. Because we require our brains to complete such a wide variety of functions, it can be life-altering when a brain is injured. However, not all traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are the same.

Different kinds of force and amounts of force can cause different kinds of injuries to a brain. This can result a wide variety of symptoms which can be expressed. Symptoms can also vary based on the part of the brain that received an injury. With so many variables at play, it is safe to assume every person’s experience of a TBI is unique. However, TBIs are generally categorized by type and severity.

Dump and concrete delivery truck crash rates for 2016 released

Dump trucks and ready-mix concrete delivery trucks in New York and across the U.S. are getting into more accidents. Their accident rate went up 9 and 9.6 percent, respectively, from 2015 to 2016 with 8,206 serious dump truck crashes and 838 serious concrete delivery truck crashes in all. This is according to a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (2016 is the latest year for which statistics are available).

By serious accidents are meant accidents where the truck was towed away. As for crashes that resulted in injuries, their numbers went up 2.7 and 3.8 percent for dump trucks and ready-mix delivery trucks, respectively. There were 5,483 injury crashes involving the former. The fatal accident rate declined in the case of dump trucks, though only slightly (369 to 367), while it went from 33 to 38 for concrete delivery trucks.

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