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

Hempstead Turnpike bears the unwanted distinction of being Long Island’s most dangerous road. In May of this year the New York State Department of Transportation (“NYSDOT”) announced a series of pedestrian safety improvements along the 16-mile Hempstead Turnpike. This week begins the implementation of the improvements based upon NYSDOT’s engineering analysis that examined crash data, traffic signal functioning, pedestrian markings, lighting conditions, vehicle speeds, bus stops and pedestrian behavior. NYSDOT reviewed every motor vehicle crash involving a pedestrian from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2011. There were 326 pedestrian crashes identified, including 20 fatalities.

Some pedestrian safety improvements concerning … Read the rest

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

This past Thursday the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) 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.

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. The app … Read the rest

New Traffic Laws in New York City 2012 – Part II

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 existing law disqualified people convicted of crimes including murder, rape and arson.

Under the new law, crimes for which a conviction would ban a person from becoming a school bus driver include:

  • aggravated manslaughter in the first or
Read the rest

Open and Obvious Defense Clarified in a Case of Optical Confusion

If I had a dollar for every time a defendant argued in a summary judgment motion that it was not negligent because the condition that caused my client’s accident was open and obvious. With words that every defense counsel (and Judge) should never overlook, the Appellate Division, First Department opened a recent opinion with the sentence: In this personal injury action, we reiterate the well-established principle that a finding of open and obvious as to a hazardous condition is never fatal to a plaintiff’s negligence claim. It is relevant only to plaintiffs comparative fault. Saretsky v. 85 Kenmare Realty CorpRead the rest

Study Shows Cost of Average Dog Bite Claim Has Grown By 37 Percent from 2003 to 2010

With National Dog Bite Prevention Week upcoming on May 15-21, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) has released a statement concerning the costs that result from dog bites based on an analysis of homeowners insurance data. I.I.I. statistics show that from 2009 to 2010, the average cost of dog bite claims rose from $24,840 to $26,166, up 5.3 percent, although the number of claims dropped 4.9 percent from 2009 to 2010 ($16,586 vs. $15,770). The decline in the number of claims was almost exactly offset by an increase in the average cost. Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all … Read the rest

The New Move Over Law Gets Personal

No, I didn’t get a ticket for failing to obey the new Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act that requires drivers to exercise due care to avoid colliding with an authorized emergency vehicle which is parked, stopped or standing on the shoulder of a road or highway with its emergency lights activated. More specifically, on parkways, interstates, and other controlled access highways with multiple lanes, drivers are required to move from the lane immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle, unless traffic or other hazards exist to prevent doing so safely. So there we were stopped on the shoulder of the New York … Read the rest

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Advises General Rules for Holiday Safety

Trees, snow, lights, candles, trimmings, fires and paper are all signs of the season. They are also potential hazards. With safety in mind, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has posted on its website a pamphlet with highly useful information about enjoying these seasonal activities.

Holiday Safety

The pamphlet includes some General Rules for Holiday Safety, as follows: Keep matches, lighters, and candles out of the reach of children. Avoid smoking near flammable decorations. Make an emergency plan to use if a fire breaks out anywhere in the home. See that each family member knows what to do. PRACTICE … Read the rest

Should You Have That Back Surgery?

Deciding whether to have back surgery after a motor vehicle accident or another type of accident is a decision our clients often have to make. It is usually not an easy decision. No doctor in his or her right mind will guarantee the results of a back surgery to the contrary, in making sure not to do so, many doctors scare their patients when rightfully advising them that they may feel worse after the surgery.

More than one client who had back surgery have lamented that they wish they never had the surgery, especially when spinal fusion has been performed. … Read the rest

June Through August is the Deadliest Time of Year for 15-Passenger Van Occupants

New research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found June through August to be the deadliest time of year for 15-passenger van occupants, due to rollover crashes. Statistics show that 31 percent of fatal rollovers involving 15-passenger vans occur during the busy summer travel months.

The NHTSA also emphasizes that conventional 12 to 15-passenger vans cannot be used as school buses because they are not certified to carry students on a regular basis, and thus cannot be sold or leased as new vehicles to carry students on a regular basis. NHTSA data shows a significant increase … Read the rest