New York State DMV Urges Drivers Not to “Catch ‘Em All” While Driving

Citing a growing number of car crashes related to playing Pokémon Go behind the wheel, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, along with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, recently issued a statement reminding drivers not to play the game and to focus on the road. This was reported by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

Since the game launched on July 6, there have been pedestrian-related accidents as a result of people being distracted by the game but now, many people are bringing their mobile devices with them in their vehicles so they can “catch ‘em all.” Here … Read the rest

City Raises Fines for Safety Violations at Construction Sites

In the wake of a recent accident in which a crane fell, killing a passerby, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler announced new rules to ensure the safety of those working at or walking by a construction site.  This includes an increase in monetary fines.  Mayor de Blasio said these measures are necessary because “no building is worth a person’s life.”

With numerous safety provisions already in place, the spotlight is now on stricter enforcement.  As part of the new plan, there will be a greater number of inspections, especially … Read the rest

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, as reported in a study published in the August issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention that centered on injuries related to mobile phone use among pedestrians. Using data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission on injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents that required treatment 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 … Read the rest

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 (June 19, 2013) 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 motor … Read the rest

Study of Factors Predictive Of Outcome of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Accident Victims Shows Danger Lurks Even in Supposedly Safe Places

In 2012 in New York City, there were 274 traffic deaths, the most in four years. In 2010, 11,000 pedestrians and 3,500 bicyclists were injured in motor vehicle accidents in New York City. Road safety constitutes an international crisis, so states a study by doctors at NYU Langone Medical Center of pedestrians and bicyclists struck by motor vehicles in New York City’s central business district and surrounding area between December 2008 and June 2011. The intent of the study was to identify the demographic and behavioral factors predicting the outcome of patients, including considering the Injury Severity Score (ISS).

Sidewalk … 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

NYC Makes No Bones About It: Obey The 30 MPH Speed Limit or You’ll See a Skeleton

Throughout New York City and other places, drivers are becoming accustomed to seeing radar-equipped speed boards that tell them how fast they’re going, and flash when their speed exceeds the speed limit. This past week Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that some of the speed boards will now also show the words SLOW DOWN and the image of a healthy pedestrian turns into a skeleton on electronic signs when drivers exceed the city speed limit. As long as a driver obeys the city’s 30 mph speed limit, no skeleton will appear. The signs … Read the rest

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. TA’s stated mission is to reclaim New York City’s streets from the speeding 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 TA’s 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 … Read the rest

New York City Council to Consider Licensing Procedure for Pedicabs

Anyone walking the streets of Manhattan is aware of the prevalence of pedicabs, pedal-powered tourist-friendly tricycles. Pedicab owners estimate that there were about 1,000 pedicabs in the city. But what if someone suffers personal injuries while a passenger in one or is involved in an accident with one? Who will pay for the injuries and damage caused?

New York State has financial responsibility requirements for motor vehicles and motorcycles. Not so for pedicabs. In an effort to change that, the city will move forward with its long-stalled regulation of pedicabs by establishing a licensing procedure. Licenses would be issued to … Read the rest

Bill Creating the Offense Careless Driving Introduced in New York to Protect Pedestrians, Bicyclists and Other Vulnerable Road Users

Known as The Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez Law, bills have been introduced in the Assembly (A.7917) and the Senate (S.5292) establishing the offense of careless driving under a new section 1146-b to the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL), and imposing penalties when a violation results in the serious injury or death of a vulnerable user of a public way.

The law defines careless driving as driving without due care or in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property. A vulnerable user is defined as a pedestrian, highway worker, person riding an animal, … Read the rest