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Brooklyn New York Legal Blog

Why are injuries so common in construction work?

Brooklyn is known for its vibrancy and thriving metropolitan environment. Part of this allure is the promise of evolution; the scenery is constantly changing as buildings are renovated, torn down and newly constructed. The latter of these--construction--is a constant. No matter where you go, you are likely to see scaffolding and construction zones making way for new buildings.

According to AM New York, there were a record number of building permits issued recently, so you can only expect to see more construction. Unfortunately, with this surge, there will likely be an increased number of injuries, too--but why are injuries so common on construction sites?

Texting while driving recognized as roadway danger

One of the most dangerous actions for a driver behind the wheel is texting while driving, as recognized by the vast majority of survey participants in Brooklyn and throughout the United States. Distracted driving, such as using social media or texting behind the wheel, has been responsible for a number of serious motor vehicle accidents. One study conducted by Harris Poll found that large numbers of Americans recognize the dangers of this behavior, even though social media and texting while driving continue to pose a serious threat to other drivers and passengers.

The survey participants identified a wide array of activities as dangerous on the road with the potential to lead to severe car accidents. A full 99 percent of survey participants said that using social media while driving is dangerous to oneself and others on the roadway. About 98 percent noted that texting while driving is a threat. Additionally, 91 percent said that driving while under the influence of marijuana can be dangerous with 87 percent noting that it could be a threat to others on the roads.

Study links Pokéstops to increase in traffic accidents

Pokémon Go was launched in July 2016 and continues to draw millions of smartphone users; however, the game has reportedly contributed to an increase in accidents and injuries, many of them on the road. New York residents may want to know that a recent study from Purdue University has estimated that increase in accidents, especially within the first five months of the game's existence.

Two professors from the university studied the nearly 12,000 crashes that were recorded in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, between the months leading up to the launch of Pokémon Go and the months after it. They then compared the number of crashes in intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop, where players must go to get in-game items, with the number in intersections farther away. 26.5 percent more traffic accidents took place near the Pokéstops.

Keeping teens with ADHD out of car crashes

A recent study published by JAMA Pediatrics claims that teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are one-third more likely to get in a car accident than those without the condition. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, the symptoms of which include a lack of focus, impulsive behavior, and signs of hyperactivity like excessive talking. These make people with the condition more prone to distracted driving. However, before drivers in New York start to worry, researchers for the study say that this statistic isn't alarming.

One professor of pediatrics believes that this relatively low increase in risk shows that driving with ADHD is manageable. In many cases, drivers with ADHD tend to get their licenses at a later time than others. This is often due to a maturational lag related to ADHD of three to five years.

Thanksgiving leads to more fatal car crashes

Roads in New York and across the U.S. become more hazardous over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to federal statistics. As a result, safety experts encourage drivers to be extra cautious as they hit the highway this holiday season.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the overall U.S. death rate tends to increase around Thanksgiving and stay at an elevated level until the spring. One of the reasons for this is a spike in deadly car crashes. In fact, more people die in car accidents around Thanksgiving than during any other U.S. holiday.

Fewer daylight hours could lead to more crashes

As days become shorter with the end of daylight savings time, motorists in New York and other states may notice an increase in wildlife activity on or near the roadway. The annual return to standard time places many commuters behind the wheel at dusk and dawn when wild animals are likely to be on the move. With property losses due to wildlife-related crashes averaging more than $3,400 per incident, motorists everywhere may want to take precautions to mitigate the risks posed by unexpected animal encounters while driving.

One agency advises motorists to simply slow down, stay alert and scan ahead. Moderate speeds allow a driver to better avoid the need to suddenly swerve, which increases the chance of a serious accident. Drowsy driving may result in slow reaction times, and even large animals may be difficult to discern in low light conditions until they are caught in the headlights of a rapidly approaching car.

Learn to keep distraction out of your driving

No matter how long you have had your driver's license, chances are you have driven distracted at least once. You take pride in your safe driving record, but like other safe drivers in Brooklyn, a distraction could come along when you least expect it, and you do not even consciously have to make the decision to be distracted.

There are three types of distractions you can encounter behind the wheel:

What are Brooklyn's most dangerous intersections?

If you listen to a police scanner in Brooklyn, it's likely you will hear the words “accident with injuries at Tillary and Flatbush." That's because there are an estimated 180 collisions per year at the intersection, making it the most dangerous intersection in Brooklyn, according to information compiled from the city’s motor vehicle collision data set. 

A student at CUNY-Baruch College who studied the collision data concluded that the most dangerous traffic intersections tend to be near on- and off-ramps of bridges and tunnels.

The word "accident" does not apply to distracted driving crashes

Many people argue that the term "accident" doesn't apply when someone gets behind the wheel of a car when they are intoxicated and then cause a crash. Many also argue that "accident" doesn't apply to crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by distracted drivers.

One woman knows from painful experience that "accident" can simply be the wrong word and concept to apply to many motor vehicle crashes. Her mother was killed when her car was hit broadside in an intersection. The other driver ran a red light, busy talking on his phone at the time of the violent collision.

Shift work a major cause of drowsy driving

Drowsy driving has become a public safety hazard in New York and around the country. Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital are concerned that people who work night shifts or rotational shifts are some of the most vulnerable because of the irregularity of their sleep schedule. These people make up 15 percent of America's workforce.

To determine how shift work can worsen driver performance, especially during the commute home, the researchers conducted two driving sessions for 16 night shift workers as part of a study. The participants had varied experience in night shift work. In the first session, they drove on a closed driving track after sleeping for the night. The procedure was repeated for the second session, except that it took place after drivers got off their shift.