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Levine and Slavit, PLLC - Blog

Personal Injury Attorneys - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and the Bronx

Safety Improvements to Reduce Pedestrian Accidents on Hempstead Turnpike to Begin This Week

Posted On Sep 17, 2012 @ 01:11 AM by Ira Slavit

In May of this year the New York State Department of Transportation announced a series of pedestrian safety improvements along Hempstead Turnpike, which bears the unwanted distinction of being Long Island’s most dangerous road.  Much of the work is expected to begin this week.  Engineering improvements include remarking and widening crosswalks, increasing pedestrian crossing times at traffic signals, reprogramming dozens of crosswalks, adding pedestrian countdown timers, relocating bus stops closer to crosswalks, and installing additional no turn on red signs.  Crossing buttons will feature buttons that light up and stay lit when pushed, and raised medians where pedestrians frequently cross mid-block will be built to provide refuge from traffic.

Homicide Conviction and Jail Time for Texting While Driving Motor Vehicle Accident Sounds Shocking But Probably Won't Deter It

Posted On Jun 10, 2012 @ 11:51 PM by Ira Slavit

A Massachusetts teen was convicted Wednesday on charges of vehicular homicide, texting while driving and negligent operation of a motor vehicle as a result of texting while driving.  He was the first driver to be charged and convicted of motor vehicle homicide by texting under Massachusetts law.  The accident occurred when his vehicle crossed over a center line and fatally injured the driver of the oncoming vehicle and seriously injured a passenger in that vehicle. He was sentenced to two and a half years on the vehicular homicide charge and two years on the texting and causing injury charge. He will serve one year concurrently on both charges and the balance of both charges is suspended for five years. His license will be suspended for 15 years. Prosecutors say he sent 193 text messages the day of the crash, including some just a minute or so before impact and dozens more after it.

Fatal Bronx Bus Accident Continues to Lead to Tough Actions by FMCSA Including Shut-Down of 26 Bus Companies and Release of SaferBus Mobile App

Posted On Jun 3, 2012 @ 12:26 PM by Ira Slavit

This past Thursday the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") shut down 26 discount bus companies declaring them imminent hazards to public safety. The shutdowns affected dozens of routes out of New York City’s Chinatown.  In addition, FMCSA ordered 10 individual bus company owners, managers and employees to cease all passenger transportation operations, which includes selling bus tickets to passengers.  The carriers had multiple safety violations, including using drivers without valid commercial driver's licenses (CDLs), failing to have alcohol and drug testing programs, and operating vehicles that had not been regularly inspected and repaired. Drivers also had serious hours-of-service and driver qualification violations.  Earlier this year, FMCSA released the SaferBus mobile app to give travelers a quick way to view a bus company's safety record before buying an interstate ticket or booking group travel.

Recent Court Decision Highlights Need to Reform No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Law to Include “Surgery” Within the Definition of “Serious Injury”

Posted On Apr 15, 2012 @ 03:56 PM by Ira Slavit

In 1975 New York enacted a “no-fault” insurance plan that in theory was designed to keep small cases involving motor vehicle accidents out of court in exchange for relatively immediate payment of expenses for hospital and medical bills and reimbursement of lost earnings without the injured party having to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident.  One would think that needing to undergo surgery to repair injuries sustained in an accident would not be considered too small of a case to be allowed to proceed, particularly where the surgeon states that the injuries he observed during the surgery would result in a permanent limitation of motion and other problems.  Wrong.  In Ramkumar v. Grand Style Transportation Enterprises Inc., 2012 WL 1164882 (April 10, 2012), the Appellate Division, Second Department in Brooklyn dismissed just such a case.


Auto-Lobbyists Successfully Argue Worth of Child Warrants Delaying Regulation Requiring All Vehicles Include A Rear Backup Camera

Posted On Mar 6, 2012 @ 08:21 PM by Ira Slavit

On Monday of last week it was reported that Federal regulators planned to announce this week that automakers will be required to put rearview cameras with in-vehicle display in all passenger vehicles by 2014 to help drivers see what is behind them.  By Wednesday the plans were put on hold to allow more time for “study and data analysis”.  Auto-lobbyists estimated that the required cameras would cost the auto industry $2.7 billion annually, or $160 to $200 a vehicle. They suggested car manufacturers be able to add expanded mirrors instead of the cameras.  If that would be good enough and economically feasible, where has the auto industry been all this time?

Social Hosts Held To Not Have Duty to Control Manner in Which Intoxicated Guest Drives Off Their Premises

Posted On Feb 19, 2012 @ 06:45 PM by Ira Slavit

In the Court of Appeals decision Martino v. Stolzman, the defendant attended a New Year's Eve party at a friend’s home where he consumed alcohol. At approximately 12:30 A.M., the defendant left the party and got into his truck, with another party guest in the passenger seat. The defendant backed his truck out of the home’s driveway onto the main road and collided with an oncoming vehicle driven by the plaintiff. Following the accident, a test revealed that the defendant had a blood alcohol content of .14 percent, nearly twice the legal limit. He later pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated. The Court of Appeals found that the hosts were no longer in a position to control the defendant when he entered his vehicle and drove away, and that they had no duty to assist the defendant as he pulled out of their driveway. The Court of Appeals also conclude that the hosts had no duty to assist the defendant as he pulled out of their

New Traffic Laws in New York for 2012 - Part 2

Posted On Dec 31, 2011 @ 12:10 AM by Ira Slavit

Effective February 12, 2012, a new law goes into effect in New York that expands the list of convictions that disqualify a school bus driver from either permanently or temporarily operating a school bus.  The law adds to the list of convictions that would either permanently disqualify an applicant from being a bus driver or disqualify the candidate for five years. The law also changes from a temporary five-year prohibition to a permanent prohibition vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, aggravated vehicular homicide, and promoting prostitution in the first, second, or third degree. Additionally, added to the list of crimes which would result in a five-year prohibition are forcible touching and criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance.

New Traffic Laws in New York for 2012 - Part 1

Posted On Dec 27, 2011 @ 09:02 PM by Ira Slavit

Three new traffic laws that will go into effect in 2012 include: (1) an expansion of the Move Over Law to include tow trucks and other hazard vehicles; (2) a rise from 2 to 3 points on a driver license for using a handheld phone or other portable electronic device while driving; and (3) a ban from being a school bus driver for anyone convicted of a wide range of crimes. 

Sun Glare Held Not To Create an Emergency for Driver Who Struck and Killed Pedestrian

Posted On Oct 26, 2011 @ 07:23 PM by Ira Slavit

In the case of Lifson v. City of Syracuse and Derek Klink New York’s Court of Appeals held that a driver who, while making a left turn, struck and killed a pedestrian whom he did not see until only a fraction of a second before hitting her because of sun glare, was not entitled to have the jury instructed on the emergency doctrine.   The court''s  majority and dissenting opinions battled  over whether the fact known to all that the sun sets in the west can excuse a driver who claims sun glare blocked his view.  If I were representing the pedestrian, I would argue that nothing prevented the driver from seeing my client before he began to make his turn.  The court's decision is silent as to that aspect of the accident, possibly for reasons that the record on appeal would make clear..

Criminal Charges Brought Against Driver of Tour Bus That Crashed in Bronx Returning From Mohegan Sun Casino On Same Day as State Inspector Generals Report Released

Posted On Sep 6, 2011 @ 12:31 AM by SEO Admin

The driver of the tour bus that crashed into a highway sign post on I-95 in the Bronx, killing 15 people and injuring seven others on March 12, 2011, has been charged with 15 counts each of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, plus reckless driving, assault and third-degree unlicensed driving. Ophadell Williams, Jr. plead not guilty, and his bail was set at $250,000. Alsolast Thursday, New York State Inspector General Ellen Biben today released an investigative report that found the bus driver was able to exploit weaknesses in the state regulatory system and obtain a commercial bus driver license and employment with tour operators despite

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