On September 24, 2013, safety advocates and two parents who unintentionally hit their children when backing up sued the DOT, asking a court to order the agency to promptly issue a safety rule mandated by Congress in 2008 to set federal standards on vehicles’ rear visibility through backup cameras or other means. Each year, more than 200 individuals are killed and 18,000 injured in “backover” crashes. Each week, on average, 50 children are injured, two fatally, by backover crashes. Drivers using all three mirrors cannot see a blind zone several feet high directly behind their vehicles. Forty-four percent of those killed in backover incidents are children under 5 years old. By DOT’s own estimates, its delay past the three-year statutory deadline has so far allowed between 237 and 280 preventable deaths – almost half of which have befallen young children – along with thousands of preventable injuries.
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New York received a failing grade and was ranked 45th in the nation on the nursing home report card published by Families for Better Care, a Florida based nursing home resident advocacy group. New York was the only state on the eastern seaboard that received a failing grade. The state failed half of the measures and mustered only one above average grade. Direct care staff hours and professional nurse services graded particularly poorly. New York's nationwide nursing home standing is similar to its 46th place finish in the 20th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems of Reason Foundation.
U.S. Labor Statistics Show 12 Workers A Day Died On The Job In 2012; New York Region Leads Country in Work Fatalities
Preliminary results from the recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) show a reduction in the number of fatal work injuries in 2012 compared with 2011. The 2012 total represents the second lowest preliminary total since CFOI was first conducted in 1992. The statistics are analyzed by different categories: worker characteristics, type of incident, industry, occupation, state and metropolitan statistical area ( MSA). The MSAs with the most fatal occupational injuries in 2012 were New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island with 178. Fatal work injuries in construction and extraction occupations rose for the second year in a row. The prevalence of fatal occupational injuries in New York and the increase in fatal wok injuries in construction and extraction occupations should go a long way to debunking the current push in Albany to ease the protections of the Labor Law.
The past few months have seen New York take the initiative in enacting legislation to make the roads safer and reduce motor vehicle accidents. These pieces of legislation include increased fines for distracted driving violations that include texting-while-driving, using a cell phone while driving, and increasing the penalties for younger drivers engaging in these types of prohibited activities. New legislation also updates the current Leandra’s law to make it a felony to drive drunk on a conditional license. Finally, legislation was signed into law permitting New York City to establish a five-year demonstration program to monitor school speed zones in New York City with speed cameras and to allow evidence captured on camera to be used to impose liability for speeding. Mayor Bloomberg has declared speeding to be the number one cause of fatal accidents.
Nothing to be proud of. Although moving up one notch from last year, New York’s state highway system ranked 45th in the nation, according to the 20th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems of Reason Foundation, an organization focused on policy research. The highways’ infrastructure is not impressive particularly when it comes to bridges, narrow lanes and the condition of both urban and rural roads. But there is good news when it comes to safety: the State’s fatality rate was the 7th best in the nation. New York has the 16th largest state-run highway system in the nation.
Walking While Texting, Like Driving While Texting, Puts Pedestrians at Risk of Accident, Injury or Death
Research shows that pedestrians, similar to drivers, experience reduced situation awareness, distracted attention and unsafe behavior when talking or texting on their mobile phones. Using data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission on injuries in hospital emergency rooms from 2004 through 2010, the study found that injuries to pedestrians using mobile phones increased in numbers and as a percentage of total pedestrian injuries from 2004 to 2010. The study found that the number of injuries increased yearly during that time, to 1,506 in 2010 from 559 in 2004. In 2010, the number of pedestrian injuries exceeded those for drivers using cell phones.
Multiple Pedestrians Injured in East Village Accident Demonstrates Merit of Propsed Legislation Regarding Disclosure of Underinsurance Coverage
Just two days after eight people in New York City’s East Village on Wednesday morning were injured when a motor vehicle allegedly being driven by a drunk driver mounted a sidewalk and struck them, the New York State Senate failed to pass a bill that would have required disclosure to purchaser's of insurance of the availability of coverage that could have provided additional insurance to the victims. Called Supplementary Uninsured Motorist's ("SUM") coverage, this coverage can potentially provide compensation where the wrongdoer either has no insurance or has less insurance than the victim. In the recent accident it appears that the vehicle had insurance, but it is unclear how much. Whatever the amount, it will have to be shared by all of the injured, which may not leave enough money to adequately compensate all (or any) of them for their injuries, including their pain and suffering.
“Serious Injury” Threshold of No-Fault Law Held Not to Apply to Passenger Negligently Left Overnight Seat-Belted in School Bus
In Rivera v. Outstanding Transp., Inc., a handicapped person was, instead of being transported by bus to his home was, left in the bus as it was taken to a depot in Brooklyn where he remained overnight, unattended and unsupervised, in frigid temperatures. The driver subsequently pled guilty to Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person. Motions for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the ground that the plaintiff did not sustain a “serious injury” as defined in the Motor Vehicle No-Fault Insurance Law were denied by Justice David I. Schmidt of Supreme Court, Kings County. The court reasoned that the bus was not the instrumentality that produced the injuries but instead the injuries were the result of the defendants' abandonment of the handicapped person and his exposure to cold temperatures for an extensive period. These injuries would have occurred if the passenger was left outside the vehicle.
NYC Comptroller's Office 2013 Claims Report Makes Recommendations to Reduce Motor Vehicle Accident Claims; Cites Increase in Claims Against Police
Earlier this week, the New York City Comptroller’s Office, which is responsible for settling and adjusting claims for and against the City, released its fiscal report for the year 2012. In FY 2012, the City paid out $485.9 million in personal injury and property damage tort settlements and judgments, 12 percent less than in FY 2011. In FY 2012, the costliest personal injury claims category was medical malpractice. The second costliest category was motor vehicle claims. Civil rights claim settlements and judgments were the third costliest. The fourth costliest category was police action claims. In FY 2012, medical malpractice settlements/judgments accounted for 34 of the 79 tort cases that settled for $1 million or more.The Comptroller's report also cited as cause for concern the growing number of tort claims filed against the NYPD, which reached an historical high of 9,570 claims filed, and cost the City 464.4 million, in 2012.
Go onto the U.S. Department of Labor’s website and you will find much to read about what OSHA is attempting to do to reduce the exposure of workers to chromium, and more particularly hexavalent chromium. It is estimated that 558,000 workers are potentially exposed to hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] in the United States. Job tasks that may expose workers to Cr(VI) include spray painting, sanding, grinding and abrasive blasting. Hexavalent chromium targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes. It is known to cause lung cancer and nasal and sinus cancer. Other health effects of exposure include eye, nose and throat irritation , nasal septum ulcerations and perforations, gastritis, gastrointestinal ulcers, contact dermatitis, irritation, ulcers, and sensitization from skin contact.