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motor vehicle accident Archives | Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C.

NYC admits it will cause a lot of harm: $735 million forecast for 2012

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

A lot of bad things can happen in a year and New York City expects to pay out $735 million for its share of them in 2012. The city’s budget documents show that it forecasted this enormous amount to cover the cost of the harm that it’s unsafe actions will cause to it’s residents, and expects to pay as compensation through settlements and jury awards from a number of personal injury sources, including accidents involving the city’s motor vehicles, pothole accidents, police brutality, and malpractice cases arising from city hospitals.

This number is based on the city’s past experience and calculations of expected payouts in ongoing cases that the city plans to resolve before the end of the year. This budget category rose to $735 million from $664 million in the 2011 fiscal year, and suggests that virtually no efforts are being made by the city to address the root cause of the required compensation payments: unsafe conditions and actions of the city.

New York City pays a much higher amount than other cities. For example, Los Angeles only pays around $14 per person or $54 million total. New York City pays $81 per capita. Part of this gap reflects the structure of government operations in New York. The city is responsible for many more government functions, including public schools and city-run hospitals.

While the city attempts to play the victim and escape responsibility for needlessly hurting others, it fails to present any plan to eliminate unsafe conditions in the city and prevent city agencies from violating safety rules that needlessly hurt city residents.  Nor does it acknowledge that the city already enjoys certain protections from responsibility under the prior written notice law.  Maybe someday there will be a story asking why city officials are not held responsible for choosing to needlessly endanger the public instread of making our city safer. For now we must rely on the justice system to hold the city accountable.

Source: Bloomberg, “NYC Police Abuse Joins Pothole Settlements Costing $735 Million,” Henry Goldman, Sept. 3, 2012


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Battle between bikes and cars part of a longstanding history in NYC

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Bicycle Accidents on Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

The battle between motorized vehicles and pedal-powered rides such as bicycles has been part of life in New York City for a long time. An activist group, Transportation Alternatives, has been pushing cycling in the city as a way to reduce accidents, congestion and pollution since the late 1960s.

Big push began in the late 1960s

This group and others have not only advocated for bicycle riders, but have also argued that bike riding is an essential part of the city’s transportation infrastructure and as important as buses, subways and taxis. In fact, some have said that bike riding is more important. In 1968, for example, a demonstration in front of the General Motors building proposed banning motorized vehicles from Manhattan altogether.

In 1972, other activists urged the city to provide free bikes for everyone. In 1973, the groups went public with a bike ride down Fifth Avenue that snarled traffic in all directions for miles. During the oil crisis of the 1970s, bike riding became much more popular, and the city established a few bike lanes on major streets. However, these disappeared when the oil crisis abated and the city’s economy improved in the 1980s.

The prosperous 1980s slowed bike advocates to a crawl

During this time, the pendulum swung the other way, and there were proposals to ban bicycles from Manhattan. However, Transportation Alternatives soldiered on, obtaining grant money in the 1990s and achieving the support of a few people in the city’s transportation departments. However, change was slow until 2007, when bike advocate Janette Sadik-Khan was appointed head of the city’s Transportation Department.

2007 saw a big change at the top re bicycling

Sadik-Khan brought several leading Transportation Alternatives members into the department, and change occurred quickly. However, some critics have responded that the inmates have take over the prison, criticizing Sadik-Kahn for appointments such as that of Jon Orcutt, who once ran Transportation Alternatives.

The changes were speedy: Hundreds of new bike lanes and pedestrian plazas were developed, parking spots disappeared and streets became narrower to slow traffic. Although banning cars from Manhattan won’t happen any time soon, the city’s bike share program – almost free, as proposed in the 1970s – will start at some point soon. Expected to be ready by July, there have been delays in the assembling of the bicycles and stands. City officials are hoping that the bikes will still be ready before the snow flies.

Despite its role as part of the power structure in New York City, Transportation Alternatives continues to advocate for the non-motorized. It is currently encouraging the New York Police Department to conduct more thorough investigations of accidents between pedestrians, bike riders and cars. The goal: To reduce speeding and reduce traffic deaths to zero. It has also proposed wider bike paths across the Brooklyn Bridge, discussed earlier in this blog.

Source: New York Times, “For bike advocates, delayed gratification,” by David Goodman, Aug. 10, 2012.


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Inexperienced trucker drives into New York City, with frightening results

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

A trucker who had never driven in New York City before took his rig into Manhattan for the first time, and left with several traffic citations. The driver, who travels with his wife and dog, was just grateful that no one had been injured because of his lack of experience with New York streets that resulted in a truck crash.

He apparently missed the sign telling drivers that only passenger vehicles were allowed on the elevated part of Park Avenue, known as the Pershing Square Viaduct. If he had seen the sign and decided to proceed anyway, he would have quickly found out why the street was off-limits to vehicles such as tractor-trailers: There simply is not enough room.

The trucker, who hails from Delaware, also missed the sign advising drivers of the 15-ton weight restriction on the Viaduct, far less than the weight of a semi-truck. He said that he was concentrating on not hitting any cars and was not paying attention to the signs, which he called “tiny.” When trying to turn from Park Avenue and 41st Street, he hit the retaining wall, which collapsed, showering concrete on the sidewalk below.

One witness, who works in a store under the Viaduct, noted that the store’s awning caught the falling chunks of concrete, giving pedestrians underneath a few extra seconds to scatter.

Forty-First Street was closed between Lexington and Park, causing lengthy traffic delays.

Source: 4NewYork, Concrete Rains Over Grand Central When Truck Hits Railing, Aug. 1, 2012.


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City will act to reduce injuries and fatalities on what some call the Boulevard of Death

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

Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, also known as Seventh Avenue, is a six lane street that cuts through Harlem. Named after the long-term congressman, the street is sometimes called the pride of Harlem. However, it is also the site of many, many accidents and injuries. Mile for mile, it is one of the most dangerous roads in the city of New York, according to the Transportation Department. Some call uit the Boulevard of Death.

In 2012 alone, the boulevard has seen three fatal accidents and from 2006 to 2010 there were 626 serious injuries and fatalities. Some neighborhood residents point to the width of the traffic lanes – they are two feet wider than normal – as encouragement to speed. Whatever the cause, injuries and fatalities mostly affect the immediate neighborhood – 11 of the 12 people killed since 2006 were residents of Harlem.

Fixing the problem will not be easy, in part because community residents and transportation officials cannot agree on what should be done. On June 13, transportation officials presented their latest proposal to the community board. This most recent plan would create left turn lanes, left turn signals, bigger medians and wider parking lanes.

Wider parking lanes are intended to address the issue of double-parking, especially on Sunday mornings, and reduce the width of the traffic lanes to calm traffic. However, the proposed parking lanes are not wide enough to fully accommodate two cars, and community residents have pointed out that vehicles will still need to change lanes to get around double-parked cars.

Some residents believe that the city is creating complexity where none is needed. One asked why the problem could not be solved with a much lower speed limit, left turn lanes, pedestrian signals and additional stop lights.

Whatever the final plan, the Transportation Department has announced that it will start the project in August. Work should take about a month.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/02/nyregion/on-harlems-boulevard-of-death-changes-planned-to-calm-traffic.html?pagewanted=all

New York Times, “Changes Planned to Calm Flow of Traffic on Harlem’s ‘Boulevard of Death’,” July 1, 2012.

In 2012 alone, the boulevard has seen three fatal accidents and from 2006 to 2010 there were 626 serious injuries and fatalities. Some neighborhood residents point to the width of the traffic lanes – they are two feet wider than normal – as encouragement to speed. Whatever the cause, injuries and fatalities mostly affect the immediate neighborhood – 11 of the 12 people killed since 2006 were residents of Harlem.

Fixing the problem will not be easy, in part because community residents and transportation officials cannot agree on what should be done. On June 13, transportation officials presented their latest proposal to the community board. This most recent plan would create left turn lanes, left turn signals, bigger medians and wider parking lanes.

Wider parking lanes are intended to address the issue of double-parking, especially on Sunday mornings, and reduce the width of the traffic lanes to calm traffic. However, the proposed parking lanes are not wide enough to fully accommodate two cars, and community residents have pointed out that vehicles will still need to change lanes to get around double-parked cars.

Some residents believe that the city is creating complexity where none is needed. One asked why the problem could not be solved with a much lower speed limit, left turn lanes, pedestrian signals and additional stop lights.

Whatever the final plan, the Transportation Department has announced that it will start the project in August. Work should take about a month.

New York Times, “Changes Planned to Calm Flow of Traffic on Harlem’s ‘Boulevard of Death’,” July 1, 2012.


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Watch Out for Roads in Westchester and Rockland Counties

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Westchester and Rockland counties have some of the worst – or at least most accident prone – roads in New York State. There are some well-known danger spots: Route 6 on the Yorktown-Cortlandt border, with 67 accidents and 19 injuries within a third of a mile. Most of the vehicle crashes occur during the evening rush hour. Another danger zone is along Route 59 in Ramapo, Spring Valley and Clarkstown along a six mile stretch.

These areas were identified by the Five Percent Survey, which measured New York car accidents in the period November 2007 through December 2009. Evening rush hour was particularly bad, with 11,199 evening rush hour accidents in the lower Hudson Valley during the survey period. A Yorktown councilman, Nick Bianco, observed that the stop and go traffic characteristic of rush hour on the narrow roads of the area makes accidents almost inevitable.

The roads with the highest risk of accidents are those are those that pass by the numerous mini-malls found in the area or include busy intersections without stop lights. Many of these roads are found in northern Westchester and western Rockland counties. Other significant trouble spots can be found at the entrances and exits to the New York State Thruway.

Drivers hoping to avoid accidents on the roads of Westchester and Rockland counties should travel between 3 AM and 4 AM, when crashes are at their lowest levels. 

Source: lohud.com, “State’s most dangerous roads: Many found in region,” Feb. 24, 2012.


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NTSB Advocates for National Rules on Cell Phone Use

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

A growing cause of motor vehicle accidents is cell phone use. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), distracted driving, including driving while using a cell phone, was responsible for more than 3,000 fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in 2010. Texts, emails, and phone calls force drivers to take their eyes off the road for a second or two, with disastrous results.

Many states ban cell phone use to some degree. New York and New Jersey have some of the most restrictive laws in the country and prohibit even hands-free cell phone use. In short, drivers cannot even use headsets in this region of the United States. However, researchers have found that simply talking on the phone while driving – even if the driver is able to stay focused on the road – is distracting. Because of this and because of the patchwork of laws at the state level, the federal government should ban cell phone use entirely, argues the NTSB in a recent report on December 11, 2011. The Chairman of the NTSB, Deborah Hersman, said in a statement that, “No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.”

However, until the federal government acts, the NTSB says that states should enforce the safety laws already on their books. It also recommends that states conduct publicity campaigns about the dangers of cell phone and texting use.

Source: PC Magazine, “Agency Calls for Nationwide Ban on Cell Phones While Driving“, by Chloe Albanesius, Dec. 13, 2011.


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Brooklyn Residents Seek Help From Police After Multiple Accidents

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The intersection where Hall Street crosses Park Avenue is especially dangerous because drivers tend to speed while driving on Park Avenue. However, Hall Street comes in for its share of the blame for motor vehicle accidents, because drivers get impatient waiting at the stop sign – Park Avenue has no traffic control measures at that intersection.

The accident rate at this intersection has drawn the attention of New York City police. There are an average of four injury causing accidents each year, with countless other accidents involving serious damage to vehicles. At a recent meeting of the Fort Greene Association, Deputy Inspector Anthony Tasso reported to residents that police had recommended that the Department of Transportation investigate installing a traffic light at the intersection. They have also suggested no-parking zones on either side of the intersection to give drivers a better view of oncoming traffic.

Residents report damaged stop signs, vehicles crashing into fences and lampposts, and many near-misses. They are hoping that law enforcement and the DOT will head their warnings about the dangers of this particular intersection.

Source: The Local: Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, “Car crash central: Hall Street at Park Avenue”, by Martin Burch, Nov. 25, 2011.


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Truck Accident Near Syracuse: Driver Failed to Brake

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Investigators have found that a semi-truck driver failed to brake, causing an inferno that killed the truck driver and injured almost all 52 people on board the tour bus that was hit. The truck rear-ended the New York City bound tour bus and burst into flames, as did the bus. The driver was killed at the scene. The state police investigator speculated that the driver could have fallen asleep or was distracted, as there was ample time for the tractor trailer to avoid the bus.

The bus was having mechanical problems and was moving slowly, with its hazard flashers operating. Another truck driver noted that the driver of the truck that crashed did not seem to see the bus, and did not appear to take evasive action. The witness noted that the driver of the other truck appeared to have fallen asleep or was incapacitated in some way.

The driver of the bus was ticketed because he did not have a valid New York State driver’s CDL license because of speeding tickets in the state. His Canadian license was current. The bus company, Farr’s Coach Lines, has a good overall safety rating.

There have been catastrophic tour bus accidents in New York in the past few months, some apparently caused by poor maintenance or driver training and safety issues. This crash, which occurred near Waterloo on I-90, does not appear to be one of them.

Source: CBS Local Media, “NY State Police: Trucker Didn’t Brake In Fiery Waterloo Crash“, Nov. 9, 2011.


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