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Brooklyn New York Legal Blog

Women more prone than men to suffer car crash injuries

Women are more likely to suffer injury from a car crash, according to a study published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention. In particular, women are 73% more likely to be injured in a front-end collision, the most common car crash, than men are. Drivers in New York should know that, while the study does not delve into reasons, there is one factor that can partially explain why this is so.

To arrive at their conclusion, researchers looked at nearly 23,000 front-end crashes that were reported in the U.S. between the years 1998 and 2015. They excluded any crashes that involved women more than three months pregnant or women who did not wear a three-point seatbelt. In addition, they categorized cars into those built before 2009 and those built during or after.

Allstate report names cities with worst drivers

New York City drivers sometimes get a bad rap, but a new report by Allstate Insurance finds they are fairly safe compared to drivers in other cities. The report found that the worst drivers in America are actually roaming the roads of Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Boston.

Allstate's America's Safe Drivers Report uses insurance claims data from the country's 200 most populous metropolitan areas to show which cities have the most accident-prone drivers. According to the report, drivers in Baltimore are the worst, going an average of just 4.19 years between car crashes. The drivers in Washington, D.C., and Boston aren't much better, averaging just 4.36 and 4.89 years between crashes, respectively. For comparison purposes, the national average between crashes is 10.57 years.

New York State Police plan Fourth of July DWI crackdown

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated in a June 28 press release that law enforcement agencies in the Empire State would be stepping up their efforts to combat drunk driving over the upcoming Independence Day holiday period. The Governor likely made the decision because the Fourth of July is the most dangerous federal holiday for drunk driving accidents each year.

Over the 2018 Fourth of July period, the New York State police investigated 165 accidents involving impaired drivers and arrested 216 motorists for getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. Those drunk driving crashes claimed four lives and left 244 road users injured. Around the country, drunk driving accidents on the Fourth of July resulted in 1,192 fatalities between 2010 and 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Common causes of construction site accidents

Severe and fatal construction site accidents are frequently in the news in New York. It takes a concerted effort on the part of everyone involved on a construction site to prevent these accidents. Taking precautions and strictly adhering to safety guidelines provided by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration can mitigate or eliminate many risks.

It is likely impossible to eliminate every factor that contributes to workplace accidents in the construction industry. However, learning what causes the most common accidents may help. 

Technology may offer a solution to the drunk driving problem

More than 10,000 road users lose their lives each year and a further 200,000 suffer injuries in motor vehicle accidents caused by drunk drivers according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Impaired drivers are responsible for 29% of the road deaths in New York and around the country and remain the nation's most serious road safety problem, and the figures suggest that public information campaigns about the dangers of getting behind the wheel after drinking are having only a limited effect.

New York's DWI laws require motorists who are convicted of drunk driving to install what are known as ignition interlock devices in their vehicles that use similar technology to police breath-testing equipment. Road safety advocacy groups including Mothers Against Drunk Driving want auto manufacturers to make such devices standard equipment on all cars sold in the United States. While car buyers may be reluctant to embrace technology that requires them to take a breath test every time they start their vehicles, touch-based systems are said to be in development that would make identifying impairment far less intrusive.

Reducing traffic accidents with driver assistance systems

With the help of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, drivers in New York may reduce their risk for a traffic accident. That includes not only crashes with other cars but also collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has attested to the benefits of ADAS, and a 2018 study from J.D. Power confirms them with statistics.

Over half of the participants said that ADAS helped them avoid a collision before they had even driven their new vehicle for 90 days. Blind spot alert was the most frequently cited system (49%), followed by backup cameras and parking sensors (42%). As a side note, NHTSA requires backup cameras on all newly manufactured vehicles in the U.S.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, teens at highest risk for crashes

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has stated that the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the "100 deadliest days for teen drivers," so parents in New York may want to take notice. Teens are out on the road more during the summer, and they sometimes drive impaired by drugs and alcohol on their way back from parties. And to begin with, teens are inexperienced behind the wheel. These explain AAA's position.

During those 100 days, teens are about 15% more likely to get in a fatal car crash. With some parental guidance and the establishment of safe driving practices, though, teens can remain fairly safe during this season. It all starts with having a well-maintained vehicle. Teens should be aware that under-inflated tires, for example, or bad brakes will compromise their safety.

Proving negligence in civil lawsuits can be done in many ways

New York residents who take legal action to recover damages after being injured in car accidents usually base their lawsuits on alleged acts of negligence. In order to prove a case based on the common law principle of negligence, they must establish that the driver who caused the accident owed them a duty of care that was not met. They must also prove, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that they sustained their injuries as a direct consequence.

Establishing that the defendant in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit owed the plaintiff a duty of care is not usually a major hurdle as all drivers are expected to do all that they reasonably can to protect other road users from harm. Proving that this duty went unmet could also be straightforward if the defendant was charged with a crime such as being cited for committing a moving violation or driving while intoxicated.

Excavation accidents are part of the Fatal Four

Construction accidents can happen in numerous ways, with the most common earning the somber name of the Fatal Four. The first three are falls, impact from objects and electrocution. The fourth, "caught-in/between," encompasses a broader scope. It involves a person being compressed from or becoming stuck under a material, structure or equipment.

This category may come in last, comprising only 5.1% of all construction accidents, according to OSHA, but it still makes the top four for good reason. An example of this type is excavation and trenching accidents

Drowsy driving, and how to prevent it

Brooklyn residents should know that drowsiness and driving do not go well together. A 2018 AAA study found that 9.5% of all car crashes are caused by sleepy drivers. The National Sleep Foundation says that going without sleep for 24 hours will have an effect similar to that of having a BAC of .10, surpassing the legal limit of .08.

However, many people continue to drive drowsy. Nearly one third of respondents to a AAA survey said they have driven at least once in the past month in such a fatigued state that they could hardly keep their eyes open. There is no remedy for drowsy driving except adequate sleep: Seven hours is the minimum prescribed by the CDC. Those who get seven hours but still feel tired may have a sleep disorder that affects the quality of their sleep.

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