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July 21, 2011

Enforcement and Awareness of Distracted Driving Laws Reduces the Risk of Car Accidents in Manhattan, Elsewhere

Our Manhattan car accident attorneys know that New York City is one of the greatest tourists spots in the country but when tourists visit and are unaware of distracted driving laws in our state, and local residents ignore the law it creates a high risk for car accidents in New York City.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, New York is one of only 9 states that considers driving with a handheld cell phone a primary offense and motorists can be ticketed without other cause.
New York also prohibits text messaging by all drivers. Knowledge of state laws and awareness that you can be ticketed are key components in reversing what has become a public health threat in our country with an average of 15 deaths caused by distracted driving every day.

A pilot study in New York and Connecticut has provided positive results in reducing the number of distracted driving accidents occurring in Syracuse and Hartford. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advertising, public awareness through campaigning and heightened law enforcement throughout the two cities has shown a reduction in cell phone-related accidents throughout the four phases of the program.

Each program was provided $300,000 in state and federal funding to resource towards enhancing law enforcement throughout the city as well as using public address announcements and other forms of advertisement to sway motorists from talking on their cell phone while driving. The "Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other" slogan was campaigned throughout each city to drive the point home to motorists that if they chose to talk or text they would be pulled over.

The New York results:
-High visibility enforcement resulted in a decline of one-third less handheld cell phone use and texting practices while driving.
-9,587 violations were cited to drivers during the four phases of the program.

"The success of these pilot programs clearly show that combining strong laws with strong enforcement can bring about a sea change in public attitudes and behavior," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "We applaud the work of the men and women of the Syracuse and Hartford police forces, and call on state legislatures, law enforcement and safety advocates across the nation to follow their lead."

GHSA reports no state bans all drivers from using cell phones completely, meaning prohibiting both handheld and hands-free use of devices while behind the wheel. Instead, each state has addressed cell phone use and texting allowances on an individual basis.

This could all change very soon. According to an article in Auto Trends, the proposed Safe Drivers Act of 2011 is a bill that would call on the government to federalize banning cell phone use while driving nationwide. The only exception under the proposed bill would be to call for emergency help.

The downside if passed is that cognitive distractions would still exist because hands-free devices located in the vehicle would still be permitted. Once the Safe Drivers Act of 2011 is passed, states would need to mandate and comply with enforcing the law within two years or else risk losing considerable federal funding provided to the state.

A call for consistency is definitely needed to help motorists understand that distracted driving is not tolerated no matter where you live or where you visit. Finding a way to reduce deaths and injuries caused by distracted drivers using a cell phone is necessary and an important step in our future.

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May 23, 2011

Universal campaign aimed at reducing traffic fatalities in New York City car accidents

A new survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals most Americans want more laws and more action by the government to keep our roadways safe.

Our New York car accident lawyers are aware of the survey and know its release coincided with the United Nations kick off of 'Decade of Action on Road Safety', a global movement to decrease highway fatalities and injuries throughout the world.

"Despite shrinking federal and state transportation budgets and a public debate over the most appropriate role of government, it's clear that a majority of Americans want government officials to do more - not less - about highway safety," said AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet. "From passing and enforcing laws about teen drivers and distracted driving to programs that improve the safety of our roadways and add safety equipment to vehicles, there are many steps government can take to reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths in the U.S."

The survey was released just prior to the United Nations' official start of the 'Decade of Action for Road Safety' campaign. Its goal is to stabilize and then decrease global road fatalities by 2020.

"At a time when more and more U.S. highway safety agencies are adopting "Toward Zero Death" goals, it is very heartening to see motorist support for more, not less action by government to make our roads safer," added J. Peter Kissinger, President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, that commissioned this survey.

U.S. survey results include:

-62 percent of respondents think more laws are needed to prevent people from doing hazardous things while driving.

-57 percent of respondents agree their government needs to increase their effort to make their roads safer.

-86 percent of respondents feel all new drivers before getting their driver's license should be required to complete a driver education course.

-Most respondents agree that both the federal government and auto manufacturers need to make cars safer.

-Almost ¾ respondents think there should be stronger enforcement of driving safety laws.

Make Roads Safe, a campaign for nationwide roadway safety provided these statistics:

-Annually 1.3 million people die on the world's roadways.

-Another 50 million people universally sustain injuries on roadways each year.

-Annual roadway fatalities globally are predicted to increase to 1.9 million by 2020.

-Worldwide the #1 cause of death for young people is roadway deaths, this includes the U.S.

-In developing countries by 2015, roadway deaths will be the top health burden for children over the age of five.

"As the global community has initiated action to combat the public health crisis associated with motor vehicle crashes, the U.S. should lead by example and invest even greater resources in laws, education, technology and road design to reduce the daily highway carnage," said Kissinger.

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January 5, 2011

New York City cab accident seriously injuries family of pedestrians

A Baltimore family started their year off tragically Sunday evening while in Brooklyn visiting their family for the holidays. A mother and her twin baby boys were victims of a New York City taxi cab accident after a livery cab ran out of control. The three were run down by a truck pushed onto the sidewalk by the out-of-control cab.

Pedestrians are at high risk in New York City; a recent study found that pedestrian accidents in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the other boroughs are responsible for more than half of all traffic fatalities in the city.
CBS New York reports that the livery cab driver was driving erratically on Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park prior to hitting an illegally parked minivan. On impact the minivan proceeded to push an unoccupied pickup truck up on the sidewalk and into the family of three.

With no time to react, the mother and her two 9 month old babies were seriously injured in the accident with one of the twin boys in critical condition with severe head trauma. The cab driver and three passengers were also taken to the hospital with injuries. The police are still investigating but the cab driver (driving with a suspended license) was charged Sunday with aggravated unlicensed operation and reckless driving.

The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating both the fleet of vehicles as well as the drivers employed in New York City cabs. There are in excess of 100,000 drivers who operate more than 50,000 vehicles in the City.

The Commission has strict requirements for the drivers who are employed by the NYC cab companies. Not only does age, physical health, knowledge of geography, and good moral character come into play when applying for a taxicab driver's license but showing proof of identity and a New York State chauffer's license is required.

The Brooklyn accident happened so fast that there was little the mother could do to protect her children in this tragic incident. You certainly can't predict the behavior of New York cab drivers. At best, you can only hope that they drive with a standard that is expected of them by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission.

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