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distracted driving Archives | Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C.

Study: Teens more likely to be in pedestrian accident

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

A new study from a child safety nonprofit organization says that teenagers became much more likely to get hit by a vehicle when crossing streets over the last five years. The study links this increased accident rate to cell phone-related distractions. So-called “distracted walking” is adding a new dimension to concerns about the rise in distracted driving accidents.

Between 2005 and 2010, rates of child pedestrian injuries dropped across all age groups except one: 16- to 19-year-olds. On the contrary, accidents in which cars struck older teenage pedestrians while crossing the street rose 25 percent. This new rate, combined with a decline in injuries to younger age groups, means that 16- to 19-year-olds were three times as likely to get hit by a car in 2010.

Unsurprisingly, the nonprofit group behind the study linked the sharp increase to the rise of phones. Dramatically more teenagers own cell phones now than ten years ago. While phones bring enormous social and convenience benefits, teenagers apparently need to put them down and focus on their surroundings when crossing streets.

With the growing ubiquity of phones and other portable electronic devices, phone-related distractions have become a source of serious concerns. Most states, for example, prohibit texting and other phone activities while driving a car. Distracted walking, especially among teenagers, may become an equally difficult safety problem.

Source: USA Today, “Report: ‘Distracted walking’ endangers teens,” Greg Toppo, Aug. 29, 2012

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Should you confiscate your daughter’s cell phone?

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Teenage girls are twice as likely than teenage boys to use electronic devices while driving. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that newly licensed girls talk on their cell phones, text and use other hand held devices much more than boys. The study results were based on data from in-car video cameras.

Whatever your age, this type of behavior kills. More than 3,000 traffic deaths were attributed to distracted driving in 2010. And those are only the fatalities that could be strongly connected with cell phone use and other dangerous driving behaviors. There are almost certainly many more incidents that could not be linked to cell phone use or other distractions.

Parents can take steps to protect their children from the dangers of distracted driving:

Practice, even after the child receives a driver’s license

Don’t let your child drive with multiple passengers, especially other teenagers

Keep nighttime driving to a minimum

Set family driving rules that mirror or strengthen those of New York. Establish strict penalties if the rules are violated, and enforce them!

Advocate for laws that prohibit cell phone and other electronic device use in cars. Join the vice chairman of the NTSB, who has asked the New York State legislature to ban voice controlled devices in cars, even though many car companies are exploring or introducing voice controlled devices.

And girls are not the only offenders when it comes to distracted driving. Teenaged boys are more likely than girls to shout out the window to someone or turn to talk with passengers in the back seat.

Source: Forbes, “Distracted Driving Kills; Teenage Girls Are Especially At Risk, AAA Says,” Mar. 28, 2012.

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Who Knew? Men Text More Than Women.

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Believe it or not, men are more likely to be guilty of talking or texting while driving, at least in Connecticut. This is almost certainly true for New York and New Jersey as well. Since the ban on cell phone use was enacted in 2006, more men than women have consistently received tickets for distracted driving.

The Associated Press (AP) conducted a study that revealed that male drivers received between 52 and 54 percent of distracted driving tickets issued annually in the past six years. In 2011, Connecticut men received almost 16,000 distracted driving tickets while women received only 13,690. Since there are more women drivers, the disparity is even greater.

Many states ban texting while driving or all cell phone use for beginning drivers. Some states ban handheld cell phone use. Bans such as these apply whether or not an accident occurred.

A spokesman for the American Insurance Association said that male drivers are more likely to engage in risky behavior than female drivers. For example, more men in general are involved in car crashes every year. And surveys have shown that more men than women admit to texting while driving.

In Connecticut, the penalty for distracted driving is $125 for the first offense and $250 for the second offense, Drives who are caught texting while driving will face suspension of their drivers’ licenses. One of the top towns for distracted driving tickets is Branford, a suburb of New Haven. Police there intensified their efforts to catch cell phone users after realizing that many traffic accidents were caused by cell phone users.

Another hot spot for distracted driving tickets is Greenwich, a town on the New York border. Greenwich police sergeant John Slusarz noted that he wasn’t surprised because, in his opinion, men drive more than men.

Source: CtPost, “In Conn., more men than women use phones, drive,” by John Christopher, Feb. 12, 2012. 

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New DOT PSAs aim to prevent distracted driving car accidents

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

The Department of Transportation and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood have been on a mission since 2009 to prevent distracted driving car and truck accidents and the injuries that can result. Most recently, the DOT released new PSAs aimed at teens to warn them of the dangers of distracted driving.

The PSAs are currently playing before movies in Regal Cinema movie theaters across the country. The PSAs will also play on gas station pump-top TVs throughout December. The DOT hopes that the PSAs will help reduce distracted driving accidents, injuries and fatalities by reminding teens and other drivers to pay attention to the road during the busy holiday season.

The new ads feature three different cars filled with teens and driven by a teen who is laughing and texting or talking on a phone. The distracted teen drivers all do not see an obstacle in the road in time because they are looking at their phones and a deadly crash results. The three cars hit three different obstacles — a giant stone LOL, OMG and L8R.

The message of the ads, “one text or call could wreck it all,” aims to remind drivers to remember to concentrate on the task of driving because one text or call is not worth the potential devastation of a distracted driving car accident. 

Source: NHTSA.gov “Regal Cinemas and Outcast PumpTop TV to Air PSAs Across the Country,” Karen Aldana, Nov. 28, 2011

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Proposed law aimed at fighting distracted pedestrians

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Over the last couple of years, we have heard a great deal about distracted driving and efforts by various cities and states to reduce car accidents by banning cell phone usage and texting while driving. Now, many jurisdictions are looking at other behaviors and considering whether similar laws concerning bicyclists and pedestrians might be useful in preventing pedestrian accidents.

In New York, legislation has been proposed that would ban pedestrians or joggers from using cell phones, iPods, or other hand-held electrical devices while crossing streets. The law was proposed by Carl Kruger, a state senator from Brooklyn, who claims that three pedestrians have been killed crossing streets since last September and all were listening to music though headphones as they crossed.

According to Kruger, the distractions of talking or listening to music as they cross the street cause many to forget the basic rules of looking in all directions, listening for cars, and then crossing safely. Experts seem to agree that headphone use creates a sort of natural distraction that keeps people from remaining aware of their surroundings.

Similar statutes dealing with pedestrians and bicyclists have been proposed in Oregon, Virginia, and California. However, a proposal made in Arkansas was withdrawn by a legislator after heavy criticism from the public.

Much like cell phone bans, these proposals are likely to be controversial for a while with some arguing that they are useful in protecting people from a dangerous activity and others arguing that such bans are an intrusion into our personal freedom.

Source: The New York Times, States’ lawmakers turn attention to the dangers of distracted pedestrians, Susan Saulny and Matt Richtel 1/25/11

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Distracted Driving Allegedly Leads to Fatal Car Accident

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

A 19-year-old Brooklyn woman was recently charged with criminally negligent homicide in connection with a September car accident that left a 53-year-old man dead. The accident allegedly occurred as the woman attempted to return a text message, and is yet another example of the dangers of distracted driving.

According to the prosecutors bringing the new criminal charge, the woman had retrieved a text message and was attempting to respond when she collided with the victim. The man who was killed had been riding a scooter delivering Chinese food and was sitting at the stoplight near East 17th Street and Avenue P in the Midwood neighborhood.

An investigation showed that the woman had retrieved a text message at 11:15 p.m. and the accident was reported at 11:17 p.m. A half-composed response text message was found saved on the woman’s phone, leading police to conclude that she was returning the last message when the fatal collision occurred.

The potential criminal consequences for the woman include four years in prison if convicted on the negligent homicide charge. As for civil consequences, it isn’t clear if a civil lawsuit is in the works, but it appears that this incident might lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.

The family of the man killed in the accident has reportedly been forced to sell his Chinese restaurant and now has no source of income. Among the damages that could be recovered in such a case would be lost future earnings, as well as pain of suffering of the victim, and loss of support and companionship.

Source: New York Post, “Text” gal hit with slay rap – teen B’klyn driver ran over deliveryman, William J. Gorta and Rebecca Harshbarger, 12/14/10

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