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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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Multiple victims in Times Square collision

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Accidents in New York City can be more dangerous to pedestrians than those in the vehicle. With the extensive foot traffic in Times Square, any traffic deviation can threaten serious injuries and fatalities. Last week, a car involved in a crash a block from Times Square flipped onto a sidewalk and injured several pedestrians. Fortunately, no one lost their life in the collision.

With the throngs of people filing through Times Square and the surrounding area daily, it is no surprise that over a dozen people were hurt when the car flipped over onto the sidewalk. According to police, there were eight people hospitalized after the accident. None of the victims appeared to have life-threatening injuries, despite the potentially fatal accident.

Police reported that the car ended up on the sidewalk rear-ended another vehicle at the intersection. A second vehicle then struck a yellow cab. The speeds of the vehicles and the severity of the impact caused the first vehicle to veer off the road and roll onto its side.

In addition to the injured pedestrians, several passengers in the vehicles were also sent to the hospital with injuries. While no charges have been filed against the driver of the vehicle who caused the initial accident, victims may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and any other personal or economic losses arising from the injury.

While normally the insurance company of the at-fault driver will cover the injury, the victims can also pursue uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage from their own insurance companies. In the event of a multi-car collision with this many victims, an investigation will determine the cause of the accident and identify every responsible individual or entity.

Source: Associated Press, “Car involved in crash near Times Square flips onto sidewalk, injuring several pedestrians,” April 21, 2012.

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Protecting Pedestrians From Truck Accidents

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

A recent New York State law is intended to eliminate blind spots for truckers driving in New York City and reduce truck accidents involving pedestrians.

Since January 13, large trucks with New York registrations must have front-end mirrors installed if they intend to travel in any of the five boroughs of New York City. The new law applies to all trucks that weigh at least 26,000 pounds with conventional cabs.

The effort to require front-end mirrors began after an accident involving two boys, ages 10 and 11, who were waiting to cross a street in Park Slope. The back wheel of a dump truck struck and dragged them several feet before the driver was alerted by witnesses. The driver had not seen the boys because of the blind spot and made no effort to avoid them.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 161 pedestrians in New York City were killed and 2,732 were injured in accidents involving trucks during the ten-year period ending in 2008. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said that the new law will “help protect pedestrians in our city streets, particularly children, from being injured or killed when a truck first begins to move.

Qualifying trucks belonging to the City of New York already have these mirrors, known as cross-over mirrors.

Source: Landline Magazine, “Front end mirrors required for certain New York City trucks,” by Keith Goble, Jan. 17, 2012.

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Drive, trick-or-treat with caution to prevent pedestrian accidents

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Monday, October 31st, 2011

According to AAA, the most fatal pedestrian accidents occur on Halloween, October 31. Tonight, kids will be out running on the streets around New York, many wearing dark clothing and masks and running out into streets. AAA offers several safety tips for parents in order to try to reduce the number of fatal pedestrian accidents.

Motorists are also urged to use caution when driving around this evening particularly. Motorists should avoid using residential shortcuts because kids will be on these streets. Motorists should not drive above 25 mph when children or other pedestrians may be around because it has been shown that people are twice as likely to be killed by a car that hits them at 35 mph than one traveling at 25 mph. Also, don’t drink and drive.

Parents should trick-or-treat with their young children. Children on their own should practice their trick-or-treating route. Parents should remind kids about car safety. Kids should stop at the end of driveways to make sure a car isn’t backing up, should only cross at the end of the block and should not dart out between parked cars.

Kids’ costumes should not obstruct their ability to see. AAA recommends non-toxic face paint over masks. Parents should put reflective tape on their kids’ costumes so that they can be visible to cars. Kids should also carry a working flashlight.

Source: ABC 15, “Halloween is the deadliest night for pedestrians,” Oct. 25, 2011

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New York City brain injured teenager says nothing can stop him

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Traumatic Brain Injury on Friday, September 16th, 2011

A New York City teenager who suffered a cracked skull and brain injuries is proving to be a miracle patient. He was in the hospital for more than a month after a hit-and-run driver struck him down. He was hit on August 7 while he was walking on a Bronx street even though he had the walk signal in his favor.

The 18-year-old initially clung to life. However, in the past month his progress has been nothing short of amazing. His skull was cracked from the impact of the car accident, and he had to undergo an emergency hinged craniectomy to allow his brain to swell. Doctors believe this immediate emergency procedure saved his life.

He was receiving medical treatment for the severe brain injury until about two weeks ago when his healing rapidly progressed.

This resilient young man unfortunately missed his first week of college where he had been awarded a full academic scholarship. He also had planned to run for his college track team, but in addition to the brain injury he also suffered a torn ligament in his left knee. That injury will also need time to heal before he can resume running.

Although he continues to have trouble with memory lapses, he and his family are hopeful that there will not be permanent brain damage. However, the lasting effects of the brain injuries this young Bronx native has sustained is unknown.

With his hope and perseverance, it looks like he is determined not to let the accident hinder his life. With time, hopefully he will be able to resume life as he knew it.

Not all victims of pedestrian accidents are so lucky. Traumatic brain injuries typically leave victims with life-altering conditions that cannot be easily overcome. The people responsible for accidents like this need to be held accountable. Hopefully investigators will locate the driver who caused the young man’s injuries so that justice can be served and the family can receive the compensation they need.

Source: New York Daily News, “Teen hit-and-run victim has miracle recovery from head wound thanks to fast-acting doctors,” Sarah Armaghan, Sept. 13, 2011

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Fewer pedestrian accidents? New York weighs texting while walking ban

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

A recent study showed that the majority of pedestrians who are injured or killed in pedestrian accidents are injured while they are in crosswalks. Moreover, in most situations, the pedestrians were walking on a green light and following traffic laws. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be enough to keep pedestrians from getting injured.

In an effort to increase safety and minimize the number of pedestrian accidents, one New York senator recently proposed a bill that would make it illegal for pedestrians to use electronic devices while crossing the street.

If the bill passes, police officers would give pedestrians $100 tickets for any violations, including listening to an iPod or other MP3 player, texting a friend, or performing other “distracting behaviors.”

An informal poll on CNN showed that 73 percent of readers opposed the “texting while walking” ban. Regardless, it may be the only way to protect pedestrians as they are crossing the streets.

Anyone who has walked through New York knows that many drivers will turn, change lanes or charge through intersections regardless of whether they have green lights. Forcing pedestrians to be more focused on drivers and the road could help minimize the number of fatal pedestrian accidents.

Although many pedestrian accidents are not caused by the pedestrian, defensive and attentive walking could prevent some of those accidents. Pedestrians who are engrossed in a text message or unable to hear traffic because of loud music endanger themselves by failing to be aware of their surroundings.

As a comedian once quipped, you need to watch the cars, not the lights. The cars are what hit people.

Source: Rutgers, “Walking to Distraction.”

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New York road criticized for high number of pedestrian accidents

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Sunday, June 12th, 2011

When pedestrians are crossing the road, it is usually with the expectation that if they follow the traffic laws, they will be safe. However, there are some stretches of road in New York where that is not the case. One local town has been asking for help from the state for quite some time. The stretch of road has been the site of five pedestrian accidents, and it has finally garnered enough attention to bring change.

Anytime a product is created for users, it is the responsibility of the designers to make sure it works properly and that it is safe to use. Roads are no different, and this stretch of road is clearly posing a threat to the individuals who use it.

According to an article from a local New York news station, there are houses all along the road. However, although the speed limit is 45 miles per hour, there are no sidewalks. People are forced to walk in the shoulder, where they are in danger of getting hit by cars.

The road construction may have been okay when it was built, but that is no longer true. The town supervisor said, “We’ve reached that critical mass where we’ve got a lot of people walking, and a lot of traffic and it’s just not a good combination.”

Regardless of the known dangers by local officials and members of the Department of Transportation, there was still no commitment to change the road. The DOT recently told the town that “it would not commit to construction projects because of the cost.”

Since their initial refusal, the DOT agreed to do something to the work. It is not clear whether that means adding a sidewalk, putting in additional signs or reducing the speed limit. Hopefully they do something before more innocent people are injured or killed.

Source: WGRZ, “DOT Leaders Tour Site of Repeated Pedestrian Accidents,” Aaron Saykin, 12 June 2011

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The Big Picture Behind Traffic-related Deaths and Injuries in New York

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Most New Yorkers already know that the city’s streets are not for the faint of heart. In a report released last week, researchers presented a closer look at the city’s pain points. The unique project not only highlights existing problems, but gives city planners a blueprint of sorts for fixing them.

In compiling the report, researchers looked at accidents in the five boroughs between 2002 and 2006. They only counted accidents involving pedestrians that resulted in either death or serious injury.

As Michael M. Grynbaum reports in The New York Times, some of the patterns uncovered were more surprising than others.

Against expectations, “crazy taxi drivers” and trucks were involved in a lower number of serious accidents than private vehicles. Of all the accidents accounted for in the report, male drivers were the most likely to be involved in a severe crash. To be more precise, male drivers making left turns were most likely to hit a pedestrian.

Another surprise was the fact that jaywalkers accounted for less injuries and fatalities than those pedestrians who waited for the light to cross. They were, however, more likely to be seriously injured than law-abiding citizens.

Senior citizens made up the largest percentage of pedestrian fatalities, accounting for 38 percent of fatal accidents. Within that group, Asian American senior citizens had the highest chance of being involved in a fatal car accident.

On the side of motor vehicles, motorcyclists were 18 times more likely to perish in an accident than drivers in cars and trucks.

Alcohol was only involved in eight percent of fatal car accidents, five percent lower than the national average. On the other hand, intoxicated drivers were twice as likely to be involved in an accident resulting in death.

With city updates underway and planned, researchers hope that Mayor Bloomberg will be able to use a good deal of the study’s findings as be continues to push for safer streets.

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