With a Texas family being charged $442.00 for a 14-block ride in a pedicab this past summer, more regulations may be on their way. Approximately two years ago the New York City Council imposed comprehensive regulations upon pedicabs which had been operating with almost no rules and endangering the safety of riders, pedestrians and others. The closest those regulations came to controlling pedicab rates was requiring that a rate card be posted, but not limiting how much could be charged. But now that could change. Whereas before pedicabs had the option of charging by time, the law may be changed to prohibit all other formulas and to set a mandatory fee schedule.
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The Suffolk Legislature voted on October 13, 2009, to ban the sale of drop-side cribs, potentiallyvirtual death traps to infants. Drop-side cribs have caused many deaths and injuries, and prompted massive recalls. It is the first such restriction in the nation. The problem with drop-side cribs is that they have more moving parts than cribs with four fixed sides, making them more likely to develop gaps where a child can become trapped and be asphyxiated. The safer style are drop-gate cribs with four immobile sides - including those that have a small six-inch section at the top of one side that can fold down for greater access without endangering the infant. County Executive Steve Levy reportedly favors the measure but must hold a public hearing before it can become law. The measure was approved unanimously with no debate after Legislator Wayne Horsley detailed that the
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, killing more than 5,000 each year. More than 7,000 people nationwide were killed in crashes involving teen drivers in 2007, government data show. More than 3,000 of these deaths were teen drivers, and more than 250,000 teen drivers were injured. Two articles in the October, 2009 edition of Pediatrics magazine offer advice to parents to help reduce teen driving accidents. First, do not give your teen his or own car. Second, be involved and authoritative; give clear driving safety rules and offer support. The studies show that its not just how well you may teach your child to drive; a proper attitude must be instilled. Primary access of novice teen drivers to vehicles is highly prevalent in the United States. This practice is a dangerous norm, because primary access is associated with risky driving behaviors. Among these drivers, 25 percent had been involved in
More Support for Federal Law to Reduce Highway Funding Available to States That Do Not Prohibit Text Messaging While Driving
This past summer a bill was introduced in the United States Senate to require states to adopt federally set minimum penalties for writing, sending, or reading text messages while driving. The bill requires states to pass laws prohibiting text messaging or forfeit 25 percent of highway financing, which would amount to losing hundreds of millions in federal transportation funds. States would have two years to comply and could recover lost funds once they passed acceptable laws. A companion bill has been introduced in the House. The Senate bill is called the Alert Drivers Act of 2009, and is also known as the Avoiding Life-Endangering and Reckless Texting by Drivers Act of 2009. The American Medical Association recently identified cell phone texting while driving as a public health risk. The bill followed several high-profile crashes involving text messaging. In September 2008,
Nassau Countys Red-Light Cameras Catch Red Light and Right on Red Violators: Will They Really Improve Traffic Safety or Mostly Generate Revenue for the County?
Beginning on Thursday, August 6, 2009, Nassau County on Long Island initiated a red-light camera program, with cameras placed above two intersections to videotape motor vehicles running red lights and send tickets to the vehicles owners. It has now come to light that the cameras are not just catching red light violators they are also issuing $50 "robo-tickets" to motorists who make right turns on red without coming to a full stop. And the 19 legislators who voted unanimously for the red-light camera program are claiming that they are shocked, shocked to learn this. Studies including one by Congress have shown that the red-light cameras can increase rear-end accidents by motorists braking quickly to avoid a ticket. The tried and true way of reducing accidents at notoriously dangerous intersections is to lengthen the lights yellow time. Figures from the county show th
Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday of our founder, Louis H. Levine. Its hard to imagine that on this day 100 years ago he was just starting out, and how different the world was in 1909 and all the things that have happened since then. One of the important lessons Mr. Levine taught was tenacity dont think that a case is lost solely based upon first blush, such as an unfavorable police report. Sometimes, for instance, a defendant at a deposition says something that provides an opening to argue that what is on a police report is wrong. A recent decision, Kaufman v. Quickway, Inc.,--- N.Y.S.2d ----, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 05727, 2009 WL 1955864 (3rd Dept. 2009) is an example of that lesson, albeit that the lesson helped the defendant in that case.
How Distracting is a Cell Phone Really to a Driver? Naturalistic Driving Studies and Driving Simulator Tests Don't Agree
Naturalistic driving studies that record drivers (through continuous video and kinematic sensors in participants personal vehicles) in actual driving situationsare a scientific method to study driver behavior in real-world driving conditions in the presence of real-world daily pressures. In contrast, a driving simulator is not actual driving - driving simulators engage participants in tracking tasks in a laboratory. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) conducted several large-scale, naturalistic driving studies that continuously observed drivers for more than 6 million miles of driving. While the VTTI study confirmed the tremendous driver distraction associated with text messaging, the results showed much less driver distraction from speaking and listening than driving simulator tests. The following table summarizes the VTTI results:
CELL PHONE TASK RISK OF CRASH OR NEAR CRASH EVENT
Transportation Alternatives, Advocate for Bicycling, Walking and Public Transit, Releases Report Decrying Gaps in Deterrence of Dangerous Driving and Makes Sensible Recommendations
Earlier this month, Transportation Alternatives (TA) released Executive Order: A Mayoral Strategy for Traffic Safety, which TA says shows startling gaps in the way NYC deters the most dangerous driving behaviors. TAs stated mission is to reclaim New York City's streets from the automobile, and to advocate for bicycling, walking and public transit as the best transportation alternatives. More than 30 experts on enforcement, traffic, public health and litigation were interviewed for TAs Executive Order. Based on analysis of the known rates of driver infraction and summonsing by the NYPD, Executive Order produced the following key findings: A driver could speed every day in NYC and get ticketed only once every 35 years. While the number of traffic fatalities caused by speeding rose 11 percent between 2001 and 2006, the number of summons issued for speeding dropped 22 percent during that period. Po
Brain-Computer Interface Research Used for Speech Prosthesis to Assist Locked-In Motor Vehicle Accident Victim
Around midnight on November 5, 1999, Erik Ramsey was a passenger in a friends Camaro that was in an accident with another vehicle and flipped and landed on an embankment. His injuries were devastating - a collapsed lung, a lacerated spleen, a ruptured diaphragm, ripped tendons in his hand, and a femur that was broken in two places. More so, a blood clot had caused a brain-stem stroke that cut the connection between his mind and his body, a condition known to neurologists as locked-in syndrome. He can still see, smell, and hear, his body could still register the itch of a rash or the pleasure of a warm breeze. But he cannot speak or make any voluntary movements other than with his eyes. Help, though, is on the way, as reported in a fascinating article by Chris Berdik that was published in the Spring 2009 issue of
A recent article by Jennifer Steinhauer of The New York Times discusses the dangers middle school students face when they become pedestrians when the school bell rings. The number of serious traffic incidents involving schoolchildren across the 900 Los Angeles public schools has significantly increased, particularly around middle schools. From January to November 2008, there were 153 traffic-related injuries around schools, which Los Angeles public school officials said was much higher than five years ago. Last year, two eighth-grade girls in Wilmington, near the Port of Los Angeles, were hit by vehicles near school, and one girl was left partly paralyzed. At Florence Nightingale Middle School in Los Angeles, California, when school lets out for the day, traffic chaos ensues. Parents double-park and park where the scho