Buffalo Car Accidents Caused By Black Ice

12
Feb 2018
By:

Buffalo auto accident attorneyWhen it comes to winter driving in New York, motorists in Buffalo are old pros. But even pros are no match for the dangers posed by black ice.

What may look like clear wet pavement might actually be a thin sheet of ice. Unlike snow and slush, where usually at least one tire will maintain some traction or steering ability, black ice can leave a vehicle uncontrollable and unstoppable. Even four-wheel drives are no match for this serious winter threat.

We reported last month on the dangers of intersection collisions during winter weather. While black ice may be present at intersections or on surfaces  where moisture is present in below-freezing temperatures, it is most common on bridges and overpasses.

Icy Conditions Are a Common Threat on New York Roads

Your only clue may be that the pavement will appear slightly darker and duller than the rest of the road surface, according to a recent report in the New York Times.

Experienced auto accident attorneys in Buffalo know the safest course of action is to just assume that black ice is present whenever traveling in freezing temperatures, especially at night.

Authorities advise those who do hit black ice to keep their foot off the gas. Hitting the brakes or turning the steering wheel can make matters worse.

Determining Fault in Winter Traffic Collisions

While winter weather can be a factor in many traffic collisions, it doesn’t alleviate a driver’s responsibility to use due care and maintain control of their vehicle. This can mean reducing speed, not following too closely, taking extra time to slow down when approaching turns or intersections, and otherwise making allowances for road and weather conditions.

New York Civil Law, Article 14-A-(1411-1413), follows a comparative negligence model. What this means is even if you are found partially at fault for a collision, you may still be able to make a recovery against the at-fault party. While this may make recovery possible, it can also make such cases more complex.

Damages can also be a tricky element to prove, especially if you don’t seek immediate medical attention. Defendants may have room to argue that your injury was not causally related to the crash or not as serious as you claim. Obtaining prompt medical treatment is important to help you document your injuries.

Consulting with an experienced auto accident attorney in Buffalo is important whenever a serious collision occurs, and especially so when weather is being blamed as a factor in a traffic accident. Quickly and carefully documenting conditions will be important as the evidence can literally melt away.

Because black ice can render a vehicle uncontrollable, a car may veer off the road, increasing the risk of serious injury. Such incidents may also result in collisions involving private property and property damage.

Leaving yourself a little extra time and using a little extra care can help keep you safe. Fortunately, spring is just around the corner.

Buffalo Intersections a Primary Winter Accident Threat

15
Jan 2018
By:

Buffalo auto accident attorneysIntersections are natural points of conflict on the roads. They are the place where traffic risks comes to meet.

A dangerous intersection in Amherst, NY, nicknamed “death corner,” is receiving special attention from the local traffic safety board, according to ABC7. Neighbors report numerous serious collisions, including rollover and entrapment accidents.

But when you add winter weather to the mix, traveling through intersections is the most dangerous thing most of us will do over the next few months. Most winter accidents in Buffalo can still be prevented, but extra vigilance will be critical.

Winter accidents in Buffalo – Safety and Liability

Poor weather only complicates the job of determining fault after an intersection collision in Buffalo. Intersection accidents are often already complex cases. Failure to yield, following too closely, running red lights, speeding and distracted driving are all common causes. Bicyclists and pedestrians are frequently involved. And involved motorists are sometimes entering or exiting private drives or parking lots.

Following an accident, there are many actions you can take to help your claim. Carefully documenting the scene with cell phone photographs is a good first step. But when winter weather is a factor in a serious or fatal collision, consulting an experienced Buffalo injury lawyer in a timely manner becomes even more critical.

Documenting weather conditions before they disappear is challenging. But the critical need to determine causation and identify all at-fault parties does not change just because of ice and snow. In fact, proving an at-fault party failed to use reasonable care can be even more critical when poor weather is partially to blame.

For instance, something as simple as clearing ice and snow from your hood and windshield can have a significant impact on accident risks, both for you and for other motorists on the road.

New York law is in flux on the issue of a motorist’s responsibility to clear ice and snow from their vehicle, with lawmakers having introduced several pieces of legislation in recent years. As of the start of 2018, the trucking industry is opposing a measure that would apply specifically to tractor trailers and other large commercial vehicles.

Resolving to be a safe driver will not only improve your odds of avoiding a weather related collision, but also reduce the chances you will be found at fault if a crash does happen.

Tips for safe driving this winter

Plan to stop well before reaching an intersection and remain alert for pedestrians or other points of potential conflict. Always be prepared to yield the right of way. Don’t assume an approaching motorist can or will stop even if you have the legal right to proceed.

Obey all traffic control devices and signals. Running yellow lights becomes particularly dangerous during bad weather, especially when visibility is reduced, because motorists require more stopping distance.

Overall, safe winter driving starts with planning. Lake effect snow can be particularly dangerous in Buffalo, where the weather is known to deteriorate rapidly. Buffalo News and AAA provide winter-driving safety tips.

Planning includes having your vehicle properly serviced. Nothing is more basic than appropriate tires and a good battery. During the first cold spell of the year, AAA reported more than 2,600 calls from motorists stranded in Central or Western New York because of a dead battery.

Travel with an emergency kit, a charged cell phone and at least half a tank of gas.

Beware of the dangers of black ice. Roads that appear clear, particularly bridges and highway exit ramps, may be covered in ice. Contact an experienced Buffalo auto accident attorney if you have been injured in a winter weather crash.

Buffalo Drivers Are Endangered by Truck Driver Fatigue

27
Dec 2017
By:

Buffalo truck accident attorneyTruck accidents can be among the most injurious of all crashes on the roads of New York. This is because large, heavy vehicles create more powerful force in a collision, and therefore cause more damage than smaller passenger vehicles. While fatigued driving is dangerous for any motorist (it’s been likened to alcohol impairment), it is particularly problematic for commercial truck drivers. The advice of a Buffalo truck accident attorney can help improve victims’ access to compensation for their injuries.

New Yorkers Suffer Real Losses as a Result of Fatigued Truck Driving

The consequences of truck driver fatigue have proven severe for New York motorists.

For one example of the potential damage, consider a recent report from The Drive, which detailed a truck accident in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn early one morning. The operator of a private garbage collection company truck fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed into 13 parked cars. Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but the accident caused thousands of dollars in damage to the cars involved. It is unknown whether the garbage collection company carried sufficient insurance coverage to pay for the extensive damages caused by its driver. Surprisingly, the New York Police Department confirmed that the driver was neither arrested nor ticketed as a result of the incident.

Unfortunately, the consequences of fatigued truck drivers are not limited to monetary damages. Some families will never see their loved ones again as the result of a fatal truck accident caused by a tired driver. This is what happened after a devastating hit-and-run accident in Lancaster, New York. According to WKBW, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a Canadian truck driver, who told police he fell asleep behind the wheel and woke from the force of the impact. The trucker also told police that he stopped a short distance later, but “didn’t see anything.” He thought the small crack in his bumper was from a deer. He was arrested after his truck was spotted at a port of entry between New York and Quebec.

What is Being Done About Fatigued Truck Driving?

For years, federal regulations have restricted the hours of service a commercial truck driver may work. These regulations create required rest breaks and sleep periods and limit the number of hours that may be driven in a given day or week. Now, the Federal Register reports that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking permission to conduct a study into excessive hours on the road by those employed in the commercial motor vehicle industry. The results of this study could provide life-saving insight into the causes of commercial truck driver fatigue.

The problem of commercial truck driver fatigue is best addressed by instilling a sense of personal responsibility in truckers and the transportation companies which employ them. Because truck drivers are often paid by the mile, not the hour, many drivers have a financial incentive to push the boundaries of safety and squeeze in as many miles as possible. Some transportation companies even encourage their drivers to engage in such safety violations. Such behavior puts other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians at risk wherever the truck happens to travel. It is important for injury victims to hold truck drivers and transportation companies accountable for this dangerous conduct. Consult with a Buffalo truck accident attorney as soon as possible after any traffic accident to protect your important legal rights.

New Safety Technologies Can Prevent Thousands of Truck Accidents Every Year

18
Nov 2017
By:

For years, truck accidents have been a significant public safety hazard on American roadways. Drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians are all at risk when encountering large trucks.

Due to the size and weight of large trucks, the damage and injuries caused by an accident can be devastating. But new and improved safety technologies may offer important opportunities to substantially reduce the number of truck accidents in New York state.

Life-Saving Safety Technology

As safety technologies are developed, improved, and made prevalent in new vehicles, research has focused on how effective these new systems are at preventing accidents and injuries. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently conducted an investigation into four such technologies.

Researchers concluded that onboard video based safety monitoring could prevent up to 63,300 crashes per year. All other systems investigated were also found to prevent accidents and save lives. They include: lane departure warning systems, automatic emergency braking, and air disc brakes.

Electronic Logs to be Required on Trucks

Another potentially monumental change involves holding truck drivers and carriers accountable for honest reporting of hours. This ultimately drops the risk of fatigued trucking accidents. For years, commercial truck drivers have been required to keep travel logs of the time and distance they drive each shift. However, hard copies of these pen-and-paper logs are not always accurate. The system relied on honest self-reporting from truck drivers. Because truck drivers are often paid by the mile – not the hour – truck drivers had a financial incentive to push the federal limits for daily driving, and squeeze in as many miles as possible.

Now, federal law will require that commercial trucks be equipped with electronic logging devices (ELDs), to relay tamper-proof data directly from the vehicle. This will allow federal inspectors to ensure that drivers and companies are complying with federal laws – restricting the number of hours a trucker can drive within a 24 hour period.

Trucks.com reports that all commercial trucks must be equipped with ELDs no later than December 18, 2017. Electronic logging devices do not change the number of hours a truck driver can drive in a single day. Rather, they provide a more accurate reporting system, to ensure that drivers are complying with the law. Commercial truck drivers are currently limited to eleven hours per day. ELDs link to a truck’s engine to monitor its run time, and send alerts when it exceeds the federal limit.

There are many ways in which truck drivers and transportation companies can reduce the risk of accidents. Failure to do so may constitute negligence, which creates a legal obligation to compensate truck accident victims for financial losses. Contact an experienced Buffalo truck accident attorney as soon as possible after any type of injury. Truck accident victims have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries and financial losses.

Speeding as a Major Factor in Buffalo Accidents

30
Oct 2017
By:

Speeding is a Major Factor in Buffalo Auto Accident Fatalities

With so much media attention on drunk driving, it can be easy to forget that one of the greatest dangers faced on the roads is simple speeding.

Speeding increases the force generated by a collision, which in turn increases the severity of injuries sustained, and also increases the likelihood that those injuries will be fatal. The World Health Organization reports that an injury victim is twenty times more likely to die in an impact at 80 kilometers per hour (49 mph) than impact at 30 kilometers per hour (19 mph).

After any auto accident, an experienced Buffalo car accident attorney will help injury victims identify all contributing factors and all parties responsible for causing their injuries, to secure the fair legal compensation to which they are entitled. At The Law Offices of James Morris, we work tirelessly to ensure each victim gets the maximum compensation that they deserve.

Speeding Fatalities Are on the Rise

After the economic crash of 2008, fewer vehicles were on the road, and traffic fatalities experienced a corresponding drop. The Washington Post reports that United State traffic fatalities hit an all-time low in 2011. Unfortunately, traffic fatalities have been steadily climbing ever since. Now, in 2017, more than eighteen thousand people died on the road between January 1 and June 31. Another 2.1 million people were seriously injured in car accidents during that same time. Despite some improvements in safety, hundreds of injury victims die on the roads of America every day. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding accidents caused more than one hundred thousand deaths in the United States between 2005 and 2014.

Speeding and speeding-related accidents are more likely to occur in areas which do not use photo enforcement programs. The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a longitudinal review of studies which measured the efficacy of automated enforcement technology programs. Of twenty-eight studies reviewed, every single one reported a lower number of crashes after implementation of a speed enforcement technology program. Bloomberg reports that such technologies are widely acknowledged to be an effective deterrent to speeding, but that they are currently only used in fourteen states and the District of Columbia. Their efficiency has caused the National Transportation Safety Board to recommend that states remove laws which prohibit the use of such technologies.

What You Can Do to Avoid Speeding-Related Accidents

The reason photo enforcement technologies are so effective is that they hold drivers accountable for their driving behaviors with definitive, visual proof of their actions. Until an individual driver accepts personal responsibility for safe driving habits, no amount of enforcement will reduce speeding accidents.

Friends and family members should speak up when a driver’s speed is not safe, especially when it becomes a habit. While this can be an uncomfortable discussion, it is one that can save lives. There are also immediate benefits to eliminating speeding in your personal driving behaviors. Section 1180 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law prohibits driving a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the current conditions and hazards.

Violation of this law can not only result in a traffic citation, but it can also make the driver legally responsible for causing any accident which occurs as a result. If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent driver, contact an experienced Buffalo car accident attorney as soon as possible. You have the right to be compensated for your injuries. Contact us today.

New York State Considers Measures to Curb Distracted Driving

27
Sep 2017
By:

Distracted driving has become an increasingly pervasive threat to public safety in recent years. Now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking measures to make it easier for law enforcement officers to cite drivers who have violated laws banning mobile device use while driving.

The hope is that this measure will drive down the number of distracted driving accidents in NewTextalyzers considered for New York State York. Given that distraction is cited as the primary reason for the uptick in traffic accidents nationally, addressing it is paramount.

Know also that following a distracted driving crash, those injured have legal rights which must be protected. At James Morris Law, we provide just that.

How to Test for Distracted Driving: the Textalyzer Test

Business Insider reports that Governor Cuomo’s order directs the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to examine a new device which allows officers to quickly check for recent mobile device use after an auto accident. This technology is known as the “textalyzer”, and in many ways, it is legally similar to the use of a breathalyzer to check for impairment after an auto accident. The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has been tasked with reporting on the technology, civil liberties issues surrounding its use, and the privacy implications of such a device.

Mobile phone manufacturers are also attempting to address this problem by improving and enhancing “do not disturb” features on smartphones. As usual, Apple has been at the head of this trend. Business Insider reports that the iOS 11 operating system for iPhone – due for release in late 2017 – will include a comprehensive “do not disturb while driving” function. This function will automatically detect when a user is driving and engage itself. The user receives no notifications and cannot access the home screen until he or she stops driving. The user can override this setting by following a series of prompts. While this override feature is necessary in the event that a user is the passenger (not driver) of a vehicle, it leaves open the concerning possibility that users can override the feature and use a fully accessible smartphone while driving.

How Motorists Can Curb Distracted Driving

Do Not Disturb features raise a broader discussion into the issue of distracted driving. Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries every year. In fact, Apple’s move to introduce the comprehensive function for iOS 11 comes after it was sued for failing to include such features in earlier versions. According to the Guardian, Bethany and James Modisette sued Apple for the wrongful death of their five-year-old daughter, who was killed in a car accident by a driver using FaceTime while driving. The Modisettes alleged that Apple held patents on technology to lock out iPhone functions while driving, but had failed to implement them in their products, thus contributing to their daughter’s death.

While the improvement and expansion of Do Not Disturb features can certainly help target the problem, it falls to each individual driver to accept personal responsibility for implementing safe driving habits. No technology can completely eradicate the dangers of distracted driving. No Do Not Disturb feature can be forcefully implemented in every driving situation. Only a personal commitment to avoiding distractions can prevent a driver from becoming distracted. Passengers should speak up when they notice their driver is becoming distracted. Parents should implement and enforce specific guidelines for their teen drivers, whose inexperience makes distracted driving particularly dangerous for them.

 

Back To School Safety Tips For Buffalo Students and Parents

29
Aug 2017
By:

Back to school is an exciting time of year for Buffalo families. It’s also packed with potential hazards, as an influx of buses, heavy school zone traffic and high concentrations of inexperienced teen drivers significantly increase the risk of sustaining auto accident injuries. According to the National Safety Council, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location. back to school safety

Accidents Put New York Students in Danger

There are many dangers which New York students face in and around school zones. One young girl in Springville died after being pinned under a school bus. According to WKBW, the incident was noted as a “a tragic accident.” In another case, an 11-year-old Watertown boy was struck in a crosswalk near Case Middle School. The Watertown Daily Times reports that the 22-year-old driver of the Ford Escape which hit him said she simply did not see him. The boy was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

In Bayside, New York, a woman from Queens was speeding through a school zone at thirty-five miles per hour- faster than the posted speed limit. The New York Daily News reports that she crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a car carrying a mother and her two daughters. All three were killed. The wrong-way driver was sentenced to twenty-two years in prison.

How Buffalo Students, Parents, Teachers and School Staff Can Stay Safe

  • Familiarize yourself with drop off and pickup procedures at your child’s school before the school year starts. Heavy traffic and impulsive children can make it difficult to know where to go once school is in session.
  • Do not double park or otherwise block visibility. In crowded conditions, it is especially important that drivers be able to around other vehicles.
  • Teach your teen driver to be particularly cautious in and around their high school. High schools have high concentrations of young, inexperienced drivers. Teen drivers should be prepared to respond to erratic movements, pedestrians, heavy traffic, and other hazards they will face at their school.
  • Do not make impulsive or unexpected movements. In a crowded parking lot, other drivers will often have no space nor time to react to your movements. Signal movements well in advance, and execute movements slowly to ensure your path is, indeed, clear.
  • Be prepared to react to sudden movements from both other vehicles and children entering or exiting the school. Young children are especially impulsive, and do not always follow proper safety protocol near schools. Allow yourself enough time and space to react to any unexpected obstacles.

School zone safety is dependent upon everyone in the area. By staying alert, slowing down, and implementing safe driving habits on a consistent basis, the school zones of Buffalo can be made safe for everyone.

In September 2003, the Vehicle & Traffic Law was amended to alter the hours of operation as well as the maximum length of a New York school speed zone (0.25 miles), as well as regulations about speed limit posting in school zones. The minimum school speed limit is 15 mph.

After any accident, injury victims have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries. If you or your child has been injured in a school zone accident, contact a Buffalo car accident attorney as soon as possible. They have legal rights which must be protected.

Riding Safe to Avoid New York Motorcycle Accidents

There’s nothing like a summer motorcycle ride in Upstate New York. With less traffic, a patchwork of historic villages, and scenic farmland, it’s an ideal landscape for a motorcycle tour. But with all its picturesque beauty, these roads can prove to be deadly places for many riders.motorcycle safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 154 people were killed in New York motorcycle accidents last month–an increase of 7 percent from just one year earlier. Every year, motorcycle fatalities in this state account for roughly 15 percent of the total, an outsized amount because motorcycles only comprise about 2 percent of the total number of registered vehicles. But as the NHTSA notes, you are 29 times more likely to die if you’re operating a motorcycle as opposed to a passenger car.

Buffalo motorcycle accident attorneys at The Law Offices of James Morris know that those on bikes are simply more vulnerable than other road users.

Motorcycles Not Covered Under New York No Fault Law

Although New York is one of 12 states to abide by a so-called No-Fault system of auto insurance, motorcyclists are not covered by the typical plan that most drivers would be. That means they are free to pursue bodily injury liability claims against at-fault drivers that might not otherwise pass the “serious injury” threshold required of other drivers under the no-fault system.

Still, you always run the risk that the other driver may not have the minimum bodily injury liability coverage required by New York Law of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. In other cases, the at-fault driver may have coverage, but it isn’t enough to fully compensate the motorcyclist for his or her injuries. For this reason, it’s generally recommended that motorcyclists obtain larger uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Keeping Safe on a Motorcycle in New York

While a significant number of motorcycle accidents are caused by careless drivers of passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, being so vulnerable, need to make sure they use extra caution and drive defensively.

That means following the laws (failure to do so can diminish the amount of damages you can recover), using reasonable care and common sense.

Some summer safe riding tips include:

  • Wear a helmet. This is a hotly-debated issue among motorcycle enthusiasts, but the fact is, motorcycle helmet use is required in New York for all riders.
  • Wear eye protection. This too is required for all riders.
  • Use a daytime headlight.
  • Use no mere than one earphone in helmet speakers.
  • Ride no more than two motorcycles side-by-side in a single lane.
  • Be alert. This includes not just avoiding driver fatigue, but also driver impairment. You must be completely sober in order to safely operate a vehicle. While this fact alone may not eliminate your odds of recovering damages, it could certainly limit it.
  • Watch for potholes, ruts and other irregular road conditions. This a concern that is far more outsized for motorcyclists than those operating passenger cars. A single pothole may be a minor annoyance to someone in a car, but it can be fatal to someone on a motorcycle.
  • Use extra caution in work zones.

If you have any questions about liability or how to pursue damages after a motorcycle accident in Buffalo.

Older Cars Four Times More Deadly Than Newer Models, Study Says

23
Jun 2017
By:

Buying your teen an older car? A new study may give you reason to reassess.

Researchers in Australia looked at how older-model cars (those made before 2000) stand up to the newer ones. Of course it stands to reason that even all else identical, any newer car would be safer than an older one with more miles an wear. But beyond that, newer models come with the benefit of years of engineering technology advancement and increased safety features like forward collision warning and rearview cameras.

But even beyond that, researchers say, there is structural integrity. In a test between a 1998 Toyota Corolla and its 2015 counterpart, the results weren’t even close. The ANCAP showed how the older vehicle was quickly reduced to a crumpled heap, the front wheel smashed inside the front cabin, the door frame collapsed and the roof buckled. Meanwhile, the front cabin of the newer vehicle was largely intact. The door could still be opened.

While the newer model occupant would likely have survived unscathed, the driver of the older car would have either died or suffered severe traumatic injuries to the brain, chest and legs. It should be noted the older vehicle didn’t have airbags (which were mandated standard in the U.S. by that time, but not in Australia or New Zealand), though researchers concluded in this particular case, that wouldn’t have made a huge difference.

By today’s standards, that older model car – just 17 years older than the newer one –  would receive a zero-star safety rating, with the 2015 model would get 5 out of 5 stars.

Older Cars Overrepresented in Fatal Crashes

The data underscores what we already know about fatal car accidents in Buffalo and elsewhere: The older the car, the more likely it is to be involved in a fatal crash. This is especially concerning when we consider that older cars are more likely to be driven by two of the most vulnerable motorists: Teenagers and elderly drivers.

Research published in a 2014 issue of the journal Injury Prevention revealed more than half of teens killed in crashes between 2008 and 2012 were in vehicles that were 11 years or older. Eighty-two percent of those who died were in vehicles that were at least 6-years-old.

The Australian researchers found that while older cars represented roughly 20 percent of cars on the road, they account for 33 percent of fatal crashes. In comparison, newer model cars account for 31 percent of cars on the road, yet are involved in 13 percent of fatal crashes.

Recovering Damages

Because older cars are more likely to be involved in crashes that are fatal or life-threatening, it’s imperative that drivers keep them well-maintained and properly insured. Although maintenance isn’t likely to improve the structural integrity of your older car, it can likely help to make sure your risk isn’t higher. Consider too that if some improper vehicle maintenance plays a role in the crash, you could be deemed liable, or at least comparatively negligent. (In New York, N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 1411 holds that comparative negligence won’t bar recovery for damages, but it can proportionately diminish the amount to which you are entitled).

You may also want to consider higher-than-average UM/ UIM (uninsured/ underinsured) motorist coverage. Such coverage isn’t required under New York law, but especially for drivers of older cars, it’s recommended.

If you or your teen driver suffer injury Buffalo car accident, our injury lawyers will work to help you identify every viable avenue for compensation.

New York Aggressive Driving Leads to Road Rage, Personal Injuries

16
May 2017
By:

Photo of driver honking in traffic

New York state is known for having some of the most aggressive drivers in the country. Triggered by a bad morning, a personality quirk, or frustration with other drivers, the screaming, shouting and gesturing you often see on the road became known by a simple descriptor: “road rage”. And it kills. One study by the Affinion Group found that New Yorkers’ behavior was especially prone to agitation on the road and they were likely to provoke or intimidate other drivers through impulsive, often irrational behavior.

More recently, the gun violence focused non-profit news organization The Trace, reported that cases of road rage involving a firearm more than doubled from 247 in 2014 to 620 in 2016. In the three-year period examined, there were at least 1,320 road rage incidents involving guns, resulting in 355 injuries and more than 135 killed.

Aggressive driving is deadly in and of itself. When it escalates and turns into hostility with a target, the stakes on a drivers’ life are even higher. From an injury law standpoint, road rage can be more complicated than aggressive driving because most auto insurance companies won’t cover damages for injuries that are inflicted intentionally.

Specifically, the Insurance Information Institute cites that road rage incidents are often listed as an exemption in many auto insurance policies because it’s not considered a true “accident.” For this reason, as well as your own personal protection, it’s best to drive defensively, especially if you notice any signs of potential aggressive driving from surrounding drivers, such as:

  • Tailgating
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Running stop signs/ lights
  • Racing another driver
  • Lane blocking
  • Illegal passing
  • Excessive speeding or erratic changing of speeds

Extreme acts of aggression between drivers are considered “road rage” and are a major cause of (often fatal) accidents.

There are several triggers for road rage. More drivers are on the road, and congestion can lead to delays and mounting frustration with traffic, and other drivers. Rushing is another cause; drivers that believe in the need for speed in order to make up lost time can often become the accident that causes rubbernecking traffic. That’s why it’s so important for drivers to give themselves as much time as they can to get to their destination. It will lower stress levels and decrease the chances of unsafe and aggressive acts behind the wheel.

Distraction is another cause for aggressive driving. Those on their cell phones aren’t paying close attention to their surroundings or their own actions. While their actions may not be intentionally aggressive, it can come across that way and it may spur frustration and aggression in other drivers.

In many cases, these actions aren’t intentional, and are simply impulsive responses to frustrating situations not personally aimed at another driver. Even if they are, responding with more aggression only escalates the situation. By being polite and courteous (even when the other driver isn’t) we help protect ourselves and those around us.

New York state does not specifically have an aggressive driving statute. However, as our Buffalo car accident lawyers can explain, New York Reckless Driving (V.T.L. 1212) outlines the consequences for reckless driving, which can include a fine of up to $500, and possible jailtime.

From a personal injury standpoint, reckless driving resulting in injury is likely compensable.

New York follows a “no-fault” system of auto insurance coverage, meaning if you are injured, you will first file a claim for damages with your own insurer through your personal injury protection (PIP) plan. Persons who suffer serious personal injury may take action against other covered persons at-fault in the crash.

If you’ve been injured by a reckless driver, you need a ruthless attorney on your side. Representation is key when it comes to receiving proper and deserved compensation for your injuries. We aim to help restore your quality of life, and get you the justice you’re entitled to. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. No charge, no risk, no focus on anything else but your needs.