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Most dangerous streets for pedestrian accidents in New York

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Monday, April 1st, 2013

According to Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the most dangerous place for pedestrians in the New York City area was not in one of the five boroughs but on Long Island – Route 24 in Nassau County (also known as the Hempstead Turnpike). This road had the highest fatality and personal injury rate in the greater New York region. 

This is the fifth time that this stretch of roadway has received this dubious honor. Between 2009 and 2011, 14 pedestrians died on this roadway. Partly because of the history of this 16-mile roadway, the New York State Department of Transportation has begun to make improvements to the highway, adding medians and raised crosswalks, relocating bus stops to reduce the distance between crosswalk and bus stop and adjusting traffic signals to calm traffic.

Although almost all the roads listed in the report are similar types of arterial highways in suburban areas, there is one notable exception. The second most dangerous road for pedestrians in the metro area was Broadway in Manhattan, according to Tri-State. In the period 2009-2001, 12 people died on the legendary road that runs the length of Manhattan. Most of the fatalities occurred above 96th Street.

Although Broadway is the single most dangerous street for pedestrians, other roadways in Manhattan are also dangerous. In the period studied, 2009-2011, there were 93 pedestrian fatalities in Manhattan. There were more in Brooklyn – 125 – but the population of Brooklyn is much greater than Manhattan’s, so that figure should not be a surprise,

In addition to the Hempstead Turnpike and Broadway, dangerous roadways in the New York area include the Jericho Turnpike in Suffolk County, and SR-110 (New York Ave., Broadhollow Rd, and Broadway), also in Suffolk County. The Sunrise Highway in Nassau County was fourth on the list of dangerous roadways, personal injuries and fatalities for pedestrians.

Source: Gothamist, “Maps: New York City Pedestrian Fatalities By Borough,” Feb. 26, 2013.

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Pedestrian-car accidents down overall, but men die more

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Did you know that many more men than women die in pedestrian-car accidents? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 69 percent of fatalities in pedestrian accidents were among men.

And did you know why?

A new study published in the journal Injury Prevention may help answer these questions. It turns out that men are more likely to cross multi-lane highways where traffic speeds are faster. Women, it turns out, may be more cautious about exposing themselves to the danger posed by high-speed traffic.

Men and women apparently walk similar distances, so distance walked by each gender is not a significant contributor to the higher rate of fatalities. The study suggested that another possible reason for the higher rate of deaths is that men are more likely to be walking drunk.

Most people, both male and female, know that it’s not safe to drive drunk because of the risk of car accidents. However, the results of this study indicate that some men, at least, do not have the same knowledge about drunk walking.

Despite this, pedestrian accident fatalities overall have declined in recent years. In 1995, there were 5,585 pedestrian deaths recorded by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2010, there were 4,280 pedestrian fatalities reported, a decline of 23 percent.

Source: walkinginfo.org, “Pedestrian Crash Facts,” 2010.

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Fatal traffic accidents on the increase in NYC

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Although the City of New York has made numerous traffic safety improvements, the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2011-2012 has increased, according to a report from city’s Department of Transportation. In the fiscal year that ended in July, there were 291 fatal traffic accidents, compared to the 2010-2011 fiscal year, when there were 236 traffic deaths. This represents a 23 percent increase in fatal traffic accidents.

The report breaks down the types of accidents: 115 fatalities involved motor vehicle drivers or passengers, while the other 176 involved bicyclists or pedestrians. The primary causes of fatal accidents were identified as speeding, drunk driving and running red lights and stop signs. These accounted for 54 percent of driver and passenger fatalities.

This happened during a year when the total number of traffic crashes, fatal and non-fatal, actually decreased. The 2011-2012 number was one percent less than the previous year – 176, 482 in 2011-2012, compared to 179, 112 in 2010-2011.

The decrease in overall traffic accidents reflected the efforts of the city to address traffic safety. The city installed 78 additional speed bumps near schools; 327 speed bumps have been installed in the past five years. Street design improvements near 35 schools have been implemented and 85 schools have begun the begun the street redesign process as part of the “Safe Routes to Schools”

The report notes that the most recent figures are an anomaly, and that traffic deaths have fallen in every year since 2003.

Source: Insurance Journal: “291 Died in NYC Traffic Accidents Last Fiscal Year: Mayor’s Report,” Sep. 27, 2012.

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New York to change how bus inspections are done to improve safety

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Thursday, April 26th, 2012

After a devastating year of fatal bus crashes in New York last year, lawmakers decided to earmark $1 million of the state’s budget to improve bus safety. Instead of inspecting a every bus several times each year, the new system will use a performance-based approach to identify bus companies with the worst safety records and target those companies for increased inspections. Every company will still receive two inspections per year however, regardless of their safety record.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo applauds the changes and said the increased enforcement and additional manpower will allow the state to crack down on some of the worst offenders that repeatedly put passengers and others on the road at risk. After the number of fatal bus accidents last year the Governor had hastened inspections and added unannounced inspections.

After repeatedly failing the state’s inspections, operating licenses for eight tour and charter bus companies were suspended, removing 100 of their buses from active service. Prior to the increased inspections, the New York Department of Transportation was scheduling 160,000 bus inspections each year.

In March of last year, a bus returning from a casino in Connecticut tipped over and collided with a pole ripping the roof off the bus and killing 15 people. At the time of crash the driver had been speeding close to 80 miles per hour. After a federal investigation discovered the driver of that bus had previously been incarcerated for grand larceny and manslaughter the Governor called for an investigation into how this man was able to get a commercial driver’s license.

In another fatal bus crash in October of 2011, a New York Trailways bus rear-ended a truck in Sloatsburg killing eight people. After the spate of crashes last year, the Department of Transportation performed 2,000 surprise roadside inspections this spring, resulting in the state police issuing 197 tickets. A total of 173 bus drivers and over 140 buses were also removed from service during those inspections.

With the advent of spring and summer upon us there will be an increase in college students and tourists riding buses so the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration came out with a cool new app for iPhones and iPads called the SaferBus app. The application is a free download on iTunes store or the FMSCA website titled “Look Before You Book.” It lets consumers check a company’s safety record before purchasing a bus ticket from them.

Source: Lohud.com, “N.Y. to do more safety checks of buses,” April 9, 2012

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Strategies for keeping teen drivers safe, despite rising rate of fatalities

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Getting a driver’s license is a teenage rite of passage. But car accidents also are the leading cause of deaths for New York teenagers, claiming the lives of roughly 73 teenagers aged 15 to 19 annually.

That ireflects a distressing upward trend in teenage traffic fatalities. According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, there was an 11 percent increase in fatalities of teenage drivers (16 and 17-year-olds) between the first half of 2010 and that of 2011. In the first half of 2010 there were 190 recorded teenage driver deaths compared to 211 the first half of 2011. If the numbers hold after data is analyzed for the rest of 2011, the increase will break up a streak of eight straight years of declining teenage driver fatalities.

There are a number of possible explanations for the cause of the increase.  One likely explanation is related to the economy. During the economic downturn, fewer teenagers may have been driving because they could not afford the costs of obtaining a driver’s license, purchasing vehicle insurance and paying for gas to drive their cars. But with the improvements to the economy over the past few years there was very likely an increase in the number of teenagers that began driving with more regularity. Therefore, larger numbers of teenagers were likely exposed to the risks associated with driving.

Another cause of the increase may be the “leveling off” of the effect of graduated driver licensing laws. Graduated driver licensing laws require that new drivers go through some form of driver’s education program to gain safe driving experience before they can obtain a driver’s license. Graduated driver license programs typically have three stages: learner, intermediate and full driver privilege. Other related graduated driver licensing laws restrictions include:

  • Banning making calls with handheld cell phones or texting while driving
  • Restricting nighttime driving for new drivers in the intermediate stage of driving
  • Restricting the number of passengers

Increasing driver education programs and requiring stronger compliance with New York State graduated driver licensing laws could help reduce teenage traffic fatalities. Certainly, steps must be taken to halt this disturbing trend and the tragic loss of life represented by every statistic.

Source: New York Times, “Fatalities Among Teenage Drivers Rose in First Half of 2011, Study Finds,” by Tanya Mohn, feb. 16, 2012.

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Unsafe Intersections See Two Fatal Bus Accidents

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

According to the website crashstat.com, the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Union Street is the fifth most dangerous intersection in the city of New York for senior pedestrians and bicyclists. This was recently reinforced by the death of a young woman who was hit by an out of service Q44 bus at this intersection, making hers the second pedestrian death within 24 hours.

The bus apparently made a wide right turn onto Northern Boulevard. The pedestrian, Meilan Jin, was pronounced dead at the scene. This intersection has seen at least 23 other pedestrian accidents between 1995 and 2009. The second pedestrian death occurred in Manhattan at the corner of 125th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. An M60 bus travelling west on 125th Street hit Willie Gomez, who died at St. Luke’s hospital.

Authorities at the New York City Department of Transportation say that the accident rate at the Northern Boulevard crash site has declined and that the last fatality was in 2008. They point to countdown signals and the reduction in the distance pedestrians must walk to cross the street successfully. The St. Nicholas and 125th Street accident has been the scene of 52 pedestrian and bicycle accidents since 1995, none of them fatal.

Source: New York Times, “Two Pedestrians Are Fatally Struck by City Buses,” by Andy Newman, Feb. 23, 2012.

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Female motorist dies in crash along with her mom and grandma

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

When we are driving on the highway, we know we might face certain dangers. For example, because vehicles are traveling faster, accidents suffered are more likely to involve serious or fatal injuries. Unfortunately, there are also accidents that are caused by things that are completely beyond our control. For example, if we take good care of our vehicles and bring them in for regular maintenance checks, we would not expect a bad tire to cause a fatal accident.

But that is exactly what happened to one family. A woman, her mother and her grandmother all died in the same car accident on an interstate highway on Aug. 21. All three were members of a New York family returning from vacation.

The sole vehicle involved was a 2000 Ford Expedition car. The 22-year-old female driver apparently lost control of the vehicle following the unexpected blow out of a tire on the car’s rear right side. Following that, the SUV reportedly turned over a number of times on the highway.

The driver suffered serious injuries resulting in her death. Her 46-year-old mother and her 71-year-old grandmother, both of whom were passengers in the vehicle, also suffered fatal injuries.

Authorities reported that neither the mother nor the grandmother were wearing their seat belts, causing both of them to be flung from the car during the accident. Five other members of the family also present in the car suffered less serious injuries, for which they were treated at a local hospital.

Source: Reuters, “Three generations of family die in car crash,” Colleen Jenkins, Aug. 21, 2011

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New York woman loses control of SUV and crashes into walkers

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Many of us have been in situations where we know something bad is going to happen, but we realize that we are unable to do anything about it. You might get that feeling when you lose your footing and fall down a flight of wet steps. Perhaps that’s the same realization you get when you’re sitting at a red light and realize the car behind you isn’t slowing down enough to stop before rear-ending you.

It’s a terrifying feeling. Sadly, there are some car accidents that happen so quickly, that the people involved don’t have time to realize what is about to happen or get out of the way.

And that is exactly what happened to a group of three senior citizens in New York two weeks ago.

The three women were part of a group of seniors who were meeting outside a church to take part in a 5k walk. However, before they were able to start walking, a woman crashed her SUV through the group of walkers and into the side of the church.

The woman told investigators that the accident was caused because her sandal fell off. At this point it is not clear whether her sandal held the accelerator pedal down, or if she was looking down and trying to find her flip-flop.

The local county sheriff questioned the woman’s version of the story, asking, “Why did she seem to turn toward a group of people? Was she texting?” He reiterated that they will get to the bottom of everything and determine the exact cause of the accident.

Perhaps one of the most unnerving bits of information is what was revealed from the SUV’s data clip. According the information pulled from the clip, the brakes were not applied at all at the time of the accident. Moreover, prior to the accident, the woman was driving 38 mph. Just prior to the crash, the woman accelerated to 46 mph. The speed limit in the location where the accident occurred is 30 mph.

Regardless of what happened in the moments leading up to the accident, at the time of the accident, there is no evidence that the woman did anything to prevent the accident or to slow her vehicle down, regardless of where her shoes were.

Source: Christian Post, “Car Crash Kills 3 Outside NY Church,” Emma Koonse, Aug. 16, 2011

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Man dies in New York construction accident

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Construction Accidents on Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs. Every year, hundreds of workers throughout the country die in construction site accidents. Sections 200, 240 and 241 of the New York Labor Law have protected construction workers for more than 100 years.

The laws mandate that employers are legally required to protect their workers from dangerous situations. That includes providing the necessary safety equipment and making sure equipment is safe to use.

Despite the laws, however, individuals are still hurt and killed while doing construction work. Last week, a man suffered fatal injuries and died while he was completing construction work in New York.

At the time of the accident, the 46-year-old man was doing construction work on a railroad bed. He was using an auger to install a pipe that had a 3-foot diameter. Augers are drilling tools that often have rotating screw blades. When augers are used for digging post holes, they can be quite large.

Unfortunately, as the man was using the auger, it got stuck in the pipe. The man fell to the ground, and he was pinned there by the auger. A second construction worker was able to use another tool to lift the auger off the man, and a third worker performed CPR until an ambulance.

The injured worker was taken to the hospital, and he was pronounced dead.

If the family of the deceased man sues the construction company, they may receive compensation for the man’s future lost wages, funeral expenses and loss of consortium.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Vermont man dies in construction accident,” 21 July 2011

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Two people die from tug boat accident

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

When people are responsible for transportation, it is important that they focus adamantly on the task at hand. That rule is true for everyone, but it is especially true for individuals who are responsible for vehicles of mass transportation in New York.

Sadly, because the operator of a tug boat was focused more on his laptop and cell phone than on steering a barge, he caused an accident that killed two people. The chairwoman of the safety board summarized the fatal accident well when she said, “This accident is not just about one individual’s actions, but about a new and highly troubling societal norm.”

According to reports from the safety board, the driver of the barge believed he had good reason to be using his cell phone and the company’s laptop. While he was on the water, he learned that his 6-year-old son nearly died while he was undergoing a relatively routine surgery.

In the two and a half hours before the crash, the tug boat operator made 15 calls and received six. He also used the company laptop to look up medical information. In order to communicate and research, the man left his post. When he was distracted, he failed to see a smaller vessel that was stopped ahead of them.

Although the man believed his family’s medical crisis was the top priority, his actions jeopardized the lives of numerous people and resulted in the wrongful death of a 16- and 20-year-old tourist.

The safety board disagrees with him. “When people’s lives are in your hands, whether you’re piloting a tug, conducting a train, flying a 757, or even driving home this evening, you take responsibility by giving your full attention to the safety-critical task at hand.” She went on to conclude that “there is simply no conversation or action that is important enough to risk your life or the lives of others.”

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “NTSB blames distracted operators in Ride the Ducks accident,” Paul Nussbaum, 22 June 2011

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