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Buffalo Traffic Accidents & Hands-Free Cell Phone Risks

15
Apr 2014
By: James Morris Law

Many drivers try to do the right thing by using a hands-free system when they use their phones in the car. Hands-free control makes it possible for people to talk on the phone, but also to text, read or send emails and do other tasks on electronic devices.

Unfortunately, the reality is that you aren’t any safer using a hands-free device than you would be using a cell phone and holding it. You still take your focus off the road, which makes you more likely to cause a motor vehicle collision. You could hurt yourself or others and be held legally responsible for injuries. Texting accident driving attorneys in Buffalo can help those injured by distracted drivers.

Hands-Free Systems Still Can be Dangerous

According to Cars.com, 80 percent of drivers surveyed across the United States said that they believed that it was safer to use a hands-free phone system than to use a handheld phone system while driving. Around 70 percent of motorists who currently use hands-free systems said that they do so because of safety concerns.

These hands-free systems may be making things worse because drivers assume they aren’t at risk and are more comfortable spending a longer time on the phone. This problem is made worse because state laws lend support to this idea. As USA Today reports, there are total bans on using handheld devices in 12 states and there are bans on texting in 43 states. There are not any bans anywhere on the use of hands-free devices, so drivers just naturally assume that they are OK to be on the phone.

These drivers don’t realize that the center of their brain devoted to seeing visual activities is 1/3 less active when there are using their hands-free kit. As the National Safety Council (NSC) shows, the brain can’t multitask but is forced to switch back and forth between the phone use and the focus on what’s going on in the car. The brain doesn’t do this really effectively and around 50 percent of the visual information you should see outside your windshield is missed.

The result is that motorists on hands-free kits are just as likely, if not more likely, to crash. Recent studies have suggested that a person using voice-to-text is more distracted than someone who is texting using the handheld phone. Voice-to-text can also take longer to complete than just sending a regular text, so drivers are less focused on the road and are distracted for a longer time.

Around nine percent of drivers on the road at any given time are using a hands-free device, and these drivers are responsible for a lot of accidents. In total, there were 3,327 driving deaths because of distracted driving in 2012 and around 26 percent of the total number of motor vehicle collisions nationwide involved a driver on a phone.  

Most safety experts believe the best way to solve this is a total ban on all phone use, including with a hands-free device. Until the law changes, though, drivers will just have to police themselves and make the commitment to turn their phones off or keep them out of reach in the car.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9040.  Attorney advertising.

Distraction a Common Factor in Buffalo Collisions as New York Weighs Options

States including New York are considering regulation of a device called Google Glass, which looks like a pair of glasses and allows users to surf the Internet, take photographs, check-email and even watch videos – all with a blink.

The technology is pretty amazing – but perhaps not so much while driving. State lawmakers have requested direction from the department of motor vehicles on how a behind-the-wheel ban on the devices might be enforced.

Buffalo accident lawyers at The Law Offices of James Morris recognize that as it stands, distracted driving is a major factor in automobile collisions.

How many accidents are caused by distracted drivers?

The issue of driver distraction may be even more serious than previously anticipated. New research indicates that many crashes caused by distraction are instead categorized simply as “careless driving” in traffic citation records.

There may be some instances wherein drivers are cited for prohibited use of a handheld device (New York state bans texting and the use of all handheld cell phone devices while driving), more often than not, distraction can be difficult to prove.

For one thing, it’s not like drunk driving, where a test can determine whether drivers were negligent at the time of a crash. Phone records, witness statements and other evidence may be used to piece it together, but there is often no definitive determination.

Plus, there are more forms of distraction today than ever.

Let’s start with cell phones. In May of 2011, 35 percent of Americans owned a smartphone. By May 2013, 56 percent of people owned a smartphone.

Then there are devices like Google Glass. While it offers features like navigation, these elements have proven distracting to the person behind the wheel. But again, it can be tough to prove. A woman in California was pulled over and cited by a state trooper for “having a TV screen visible while driving.” Some 37 states and the District of Columbia have laws against it. However, the ticket was eventually tossed because there was a lack of evidence to prove the device had been enabled while she was driving.

Studies shed light on dangers of in-dash vehicle technology

More than ever, technological devices are coming standard-issue with the latest models of vehicles in the form of “infotainment” centers build right into the dash. Common features include GPS mapping technology, hands-free dialing and speech-to-text, Internet searches and even videos and games.

While car manufacturers have promised that these systems are safe and will actually help to reduce distractions, the research that is emerging suggests those assertions fall short of the truth.

For example, a recent AAA study indicates that speech-to-text phone or e-mail systems, the kind that are common in the latest infotainment offerings, are even more dangerous than listening to the radio or using a handheld cell phone.

Where companies are working on ways to integrate even more speech recognition software into vehicles, AAA warns that this will make the roads inherently more dangerous.

Anytime your hands are off the wheel or your eyes and attention are off the road, there is a danger. It need not be technologically-driven. Distraction comes in many different forms, be it your children in the back seat, the pets in your lap or the Google Glass on your head.

For the most part, whatever it is can wait until the car is in park.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9040.  Attorney advertising.

Reducing New York Traffic Deaths Aim of “Vision Zero”

New York City Mayor Michael de Blasio has recently made headlines with his controversial “Vision Zero” plan to eliminate traffic deaths.

Of course, what’s riling folks is not that the plan seeks to dramatically reduce the number of car accident fatalities. Rather, the controversy stems from the fact that, per the mayor, this goal should be a greater priority for law enforcement officials than other anti-crime efforts.

On the surface, this may seem cold. But when you start to delve into the numbers, accident attorneys in Buffalo know the numbers support the mayor’s focus.

In 2011, state law enforcement officials report there were a total of 770 murders reported in New York. That represented a decrease of 11 percent from just a year earlier.

Meanwhile that same year, the National Highway Transportation & Safety Association reports that there were 1,169 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in New York State. This represented a reduction of just 3 percent from a year earlier. What’s more, it’s nearly 52 percent higher than the number of murders committed that year.

When you tally up the total number of crashes in New York state in 2011, there were approximately 308,000. As a result, more than 128,000 people sustained injuries and another 179,000 were left with property damage.

Meanwhile, there were a total of 77,000 people who were victims of violent crime.

Again, this is no small matter and certainly deserves our attention. But when we explore the best allocation of resources, it becomes clear that traffic safety exacts a higher human toll.

This is the argument upon which de Blasio’s plan is based. Perhaps other cities in New York would do well to take a page from his playbook.

The “Vision Zero” initiative is undoubtedly a big undertaking, involving more than 60 actions that range from reducing the city’s speed limit from 30 miles-per-hour to 25-miles-per hour to installing “black box” data recorders in taxicabs to document the speed.

While the issue has been one de  Blasio has stressed throughout his political career, it is one that gained momentum following numerous deaths in a series of high-profile crashes. At a single intersection, three people were killed over the course of a 10-day span.

Modeled after a Swedish traffic safety plan, Vision Zero will involve increasing the New York Police Department’s Highway Division to 263 officers – a significant boost from the 190 that are currently in place. More officers in each precinct will be devoted to traffic safety enforcement, and the department will be instructed to purchase more “speed guns” in order to catch speeding drivers.

The plan will also incorporate the dedication of enough funds to redesign some 50 streets and intersections every single year with the goal of improving accessibility and safety not just for drivers, but also bicyclists and  pedestrians. This will involve the installation of speed bumps, electronic flashing speed warning lights, wider shoulders and improved lighting.

More residential “slow zones’ will be established, where drivers will be required to slow to 20-miles-per-hour, and pedestrians will get the benefit of additional crosswalks, curb extensions and median islands.

Finally, penalties for dangerous drivers will be increased.

If you’ve been injured, contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9040. Attorney advertising.

Elderly Fall Accidents Target of New Federal Bed Rail Guidelines

The dangers of adult bed rails to the elderly – particularly those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia – have been known for some time.

However, as The New York Times has reported, despite more than 150 deaths and and nearly 37,000 emergency room treatments from bed rail injuries, neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nor the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission had done anything about it. Both agencies bickered over which hadregulatory authority, warring over whether the rails were medical devices (the FDA’s territory) or consumer goods (under the CPSC’s purview).

FDA Rules That Bed Rails Are Medical Devices

That is now changing. The Buffalo personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of James Morris note the FDA has assumed oversight of the rails, deeming them medical devices. They are now working to organize a committee to update voluntary standards for manufacturers.

Bed rails, if you aren’t familiar, are the plastic or metal bars that are used on some hospital beds and in home care to help patients pull themselves up or help them get out of bed. They can also prevent people from falling out of bed.

However, they have proven to be especially dangerous to adults with dementia.

The FDA reports that of those adult bed rail deaths reported over the last decade, most occurred at home. However, 25 happened at nursing homes, 15 at assisted living centers, and 3 at hospice facilities.

How Bed Rails Can Be Dangerous

The most common causes of death or injury related to bed rails were falls and entrapment.

In cases of entrapment, victims were reportedly stuck, wedged, caught or trapped between the mattress and the rail bars or between the toilet and the rail. In some cases, victims were stuck between the floor and the rail or the headboard and the rail. Most commonly, it was the head and/or neck that was caught. Other injuries were seen to the lower leg and foot, as well as to numerous scrapes and cuts and sometimes broken bones.

Falls, on the other hand, generally happened when a person fell off the rail, climbed over it or fell because the rail wasn’t properly raised.

The new FDA committee will be steered by ASTM International, which is responsible for developing and publishing voluntary technical standards for a large array of products.

It remains to be seen whether a new set of updated voluntary standards for the product will have much impact. Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., has been an outspoken advocate for reform with regard to adult bed rails. He called the response “tepid,” saying that voluntary standards were implemented before, and people have continued to suffer injury and death. He’s skeptical that this effort will be different.

The FDA first received warning of numerous deaths involving the devices back in 1995. Four years later, the agency formed a working group that involved manufacturers, patient advocates and researchers. At the time, the FDA mulled whether to require warning labels, but decided against that after receiving heavy push back from manufacturers.

Voluntary guidelines were implemented back in 2006, directing nursing homes and hospitals on safe use. However, there have been more than a half dozen deaths since then.

While we await new guidelines, it is recommended before installation that caregivers and nursing homes understand that not all bed rails are interchangeable. Bear in mind, they are not to be used as restraint devices, but rather to aid getting in and out of bed and preventing falls.

Anyone whose loved one has suffered a bed-rail-related injury in New York should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact the Law Offices of James Morris in Buffalo today for a free consultation. Call 800-477-9044 or visit www.jamesmorrislaw.com. Attorney advertising.


Buffalo Teen Car Accident Risks on the Rise

One 15-year-old was killed and her 13-year-old sister critically injured recently in a New York car accident, when their 19-year-old brother reportedly struck another vehicle while making a U-turn.

After the initial hit, investigators say the older teen struck several parking meters and then a utility pole. The youngest of the three was ejected. The 15-year-old was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

At The Law Offices of James Morris, our Buffalo car accident lawyers haveseen far too many cases where young lives were lost prematurely due to negligence on the roads. We don’t yet know the cause of this crash – that’s still under investigation. What we do know is that with prom and graduation right around the corner, it’s imperative that parents initiate a conversation with their teens about safe driving.

Other Teens Remain a Significant Distraction for Young Drivers

One of the biggest issues for teens to overcome is distraction. One of the greatest distractions? Other teens.

When a young driver has a group of peers in the vehicle, the risk of a crash rises with each additional passenger. In fact, most teens who are killed in auto accidents are passengers in vehicles driven by other teens, according to the New York State Department of Health.  This is particularly relevant as we approach spring, with formal dances and graduation parties galore. Arranging for a professional driver (a limousine for formal event, maybe a taxi for informal events) may alleviate your fears regarding this issue.

Bear in mind too that as of February 2010, it’s been illegal in New York State for a junior licensed driver to have more than one passenger under the age of 21 in his or her vehicle absent a parent, guardian or driving instructor.

As a parent, you may consider extending that rule until your child reaches the age of 18.

The other biggest distraction, of course, is the cell phone. Research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development indicate that teens who text and drive are nearly four times as likely to crash as a teen who isn’t texting. Dialing a phone was even worse, making teens 8.3 times more likely to crash than peers who weren’t dialing. (Compare that to experienced drivers, whose risk was 2.5 times greater than their non-dialing counterparts.)

Those same researchers, whose work was recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine, learned that teens start out very cautious when they begin to drive. However, as time passes, they start to engage in riskier and riskier behaviors, like texting, talking to passengers and eating. Specifically, during the first six months of having a license, teens were far less likely than experienced drivers to engage in secondary tasks. However, between months 7 and 15 of having a license, teen drivers matched their older counterparts in secondary tasks. During months 16 through 18, they had exceeded more experienced drivers in distractions.

In other words, their sense of confidence behind the wheel quickly becomes inflated.

New York has one of the toughest cell phone laws on the books, banning all drivers – not just teens –  from using handheld phones and texting behind the wheel.

The other major issue for teen drivers, particularly around prom and graduation, is drinking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2011, 32 percent of drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 who were killed in crashes had been drinking.

Parents should make sure their teens understand that there will  be zero tolerance for such actions, but also that your teen can call you without retribution to come get him or her and avoid either driving drunk or riding with a drunk driver.

Contact the Law Offices of James Morris in Buffalo today for a free consultation. Call 800-477-9044 or visit www.jamesmorrislaw.comAttorney advertising.

Buffalo DUI Accidents – How to Reduce the Risks

21
Jan 2014
By: James Morris Law

Drunk driving remains a major cause of injury and death in the U.S., despite the fact that a lot of progress has been made to reduce the number of people dying due to intoxicated motorists. Just recently, the Republic indicated that a western New York driver was sentenced to between one and three years of prison time because of a fatal drunk driving accident that he caused while driving southwest of Buffalo. Statewide in New York throughout 2012, a total of 344 people were killed by drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

These incidents in Buffalo aren’t the only ones that occur annually. A total of 40 percent of all fatal collisions in the country result from the actions of intoxicated drivers. Someone is killed in a drunk driving collision every 30 minutes. Drunk driving injuries happen even more frequently, with someone getting hurt once every two minutes.

Reducing the serious risk of injury or death remains a top priority and the National Safety Council (NSC) recently published some important information on different techniques that have been effectively used to stop drunk driving. Drunk driving accident lawyers in Buffalo know that laws and regulations can only do so much, even if they are relatively effective. Ultimately, the choice rests with every driver to make a decision to call a cab or call a friend rather than drive home drunk. Making the right choice could save a life.

Techniques to Reduce Intoxicated Driving

The techniques that the NSC discussed to reduce the risk of intoxicated driving included:

  • Screenings and brief intervention. More than 360 different studies in the past have shown that screening and intervention are the lowest cost effective methods of intervening when people have alcohol problems. Employers are often in the best position to offer screenings and can do so as part of employee benefit programs and also to reduce the risk of liability that could result from an employee causing an accident while drunk on the job. Screening and brief intervention can help people with alcohol problems to get the treatment they need and reduce the chances of high-risk behaviors like drunken driving.
  • Public enforcement of drunk driving laws. Everyone knows that drunk driving is illegal, but highly-visible enforcement reminds drivers of how easy it is for them to get caught. Sobriety check points are one possible method of public enforcement, but campaigns around the holidays such as “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” also are effective at reducing intoxicated driving since motorists become more aware that there are a lot of police on the roads enforcing the laws.
  • Ignition interlock devices. These stop cars from starting when a driver has a BAC that is above the legal limit. The National Transportation Safety Board has recently been recommended that IIDs be required for all motorists convicted of driving drunk, even first-time offenders. Around 1/3 of people who are arrested driving drunk each year had already been convicted of an intoxicated driving offense in the past, so an IID could go a long way towards stopping repeat offenders and making the roads safer.

These are just some of the different techniques that could help to reduce the risks that drunk drivers present on the roads. Those who are injured in accidents with an intoxicated motorist also need to understand their legal rights and take action to hold the drunken driver accountable for injuries.

Contact the Law Offices of James Morris in Buffalo today for a free consultation. Call 800-477-9044. Attorney advertising.

Buffalo Traffic Accidents & Drowsy Driving this Holiday Season

19
Dec 2013
By: James Morris Law

Driving while you are fatigued is a dangerous behavior that could result in you falling asleep at the wheel or experiencing delayed reaction times that significantly increase your risk of an accident. Evidence indicates that a person who stays awake too long can start to lose focus and experience other impairments similar to someone who has driven drunk. As a result, a drowsy driver could endanger himself and could put other motorists, pedestrians and motorcyclists at risk.

Unfortunately, many people do drive while they are fatigued because a lot of people aren’t getting enough sleep. Car accident attorneys in Buffalo know that about a third of all American adults are overtired, and about 20 percent of annual car accidents are attributed to drowsy drivers because so many people aren’t well rested. You don’t want to be one of those drivers who is drowsy and who causes a crash, so you should make it a priority to get a good night rest if you find yourself routinely feeling too tired to drive safely.

Tips for Staying Safe from Drowsy Driving Accidents

Avoiding drowsy driving crashes requires you to get enough sleep to stay awake and alert when you are behind the wheel. The Fiscal Times has provided a few key things that you can do in order to get a better night sleep so that you are less likely to become involved in a drowsy driving accident.

To ensure you are getting the best night sleep possible and making the most of the time you do have to get some rest:

  • Put your mind in the right mode to rest. One of the worst things that you can do right before you go to bed is use a smartphone, tablet or other electronic device. The bright white light on these devices makes your brain think that it is time to be awake and alert, making it harder to fall asleep.
  • Don’t drink or eat things that affect your sleep. If you drink a caffeinated drink within six hours of the time you plan to go to bed, you will have a much harder time falling asleep and may have your sleep disrupted. Both alcohol and spicy foods are also bad for sleep. Alcohol could help you to fall asleep initially, but as it metabolizes in the body, you’re probably going to wake up.
  • Exercise in a way that helps you get rest. You should engage in vigorous exercise if you can, since when the body works hard the brain will know that it deserves some rest.  However, don’t exercise too soon before bed or you’ll have a harder time falling asleep.
  • Remember that regular bedtimes are for everyone. Going to sleep and getting up at the same time each day helps your body to establish a sleep routine. Don’t mess that routine up by sleeping late or staying up late on the weekend nights. Instead, if you want to rest on the weekends, take short naps throughout the day.
  • Consider a sleep study if you need one. A sleep study can help you to identify and solve problems that prevent you from getting rest.

Finally, remember that it is often a bad idea to rely on sleeping pills. New studies show that those who take them only fall asleep about 20 minutes before people who took a placebo pill. Unfortunately, sleeping pills can also leave you feeling groggy and make your morning commute very unsafe if the pills fog your head so you aren’t alert behind the wheel.

Car accident lawyers in Buffalo can help if you’ve been hurt in an accident. Contact the Law Offices of James Morris today for a free consultation. Call 800-477-9044. Attorney advertising.

Buffalo Traffic Accidents and Winter Safe Driving

26
Nov 2013
By: James Morris Law

Winter is coming fast to Buffalo and at least one car accident has already occurred because of icy roads.  More than 20 cars lost control as a result of early ice in November, causing an overnight pileup on the I-290 ramp leading to I-190 South.  WIVB 4 reports that black ice was the cause of the crashes, which occurred on a road that the salt trucks had not yet visited. Drivers were surprised by the slick road and witnesses to the scene indicated that they “saw one car after another, badly damaged and being towed away.”

Car accident lawyers in Buffalo know that this crash, unfortunately, is likely one of the first of many that icy weather will cause this winter. Driving on snow and ice is always an adjustment when winter strikes each year and motorists need to remember how to stay safe on slippery roads.

Staying Safe from Accidents Caused by Snow and Ice

To help prevent crashes from occurring as a result of bad weather, drivers should consider the following safety tips:

  • Check the weather report before heading out. The weather and traffic alerts will usually let you know if you can expect snow or ice on the roads. You can use this information to postpone unnecessary trips and knowing the roads are likely to be icy can also help you to make smart choices when you drive.
  • Remember that black ice is most likely to form on bridges and overpasses. When traveling over these areas, be extra careful to look out for ice on the roads.
  • Slow your speed to current weather conditions. In the winter, sometimes driving the speed limit is not enough to stay safe. You need to adjust your speed and go slower if the roads are slick or if visibility is impacted by snow.
  • Leave extra room between your car and the vehicle that is in front. You don’t ever want to tailgate, but following too closely is especially dangerous in the winter. If you are too close to the lead vehicle and that car spins out of control, you are likely to be unable to stop before you too become involved in the crash.
  • Make sure your car is in good condition. You should have your tires (and tire pressure) checked and ensure that your wipers are working well before heading out on the roads. Car maintenance problems like faulty tires or failing windshield wipers are especially dangerous during bad winter weather.
  • Brake gently in order to avoid skidding on slippery roads and ease up on your brakes if you feel that your car is beginning to skid.
  • When going down a hill or in a situation where you are worried about losing traction, use low gears.
  • Never pass a snow truck or a truck salting the road. Not only do these drivers have limited visibility but the roads in front of these trucks are likely to be in much worse condition.

By following these winter safety tips, hopefully you can reduce the risk of a deadly crash and stay safe through the cold winter driving months in Buffalo.

Car accident lawyers in Buffalo can help if you’ve been hurt in an accident. Contact the Law Offices of James Morris today for a free consultation. Call 800-477-9044. Attorney advertising.

String of Motorcycle Accidents Has Safety Experts Decrying “Safety Nightmare”

There have been 13 fatalities in Western New York motorcycle accidents since May, with the crashes attributed to driver error, visibility issues and speeding.  The string of motorcycle accidents in the area has the Buffalo News reporting a “safety nightmare.”

Motorcycle accident lawyers in Buffalo know that there are a lot of factors that contribute to causing motorcycle accidents, with some crashes caused by driver error and others resulting from mistakes made by motorcyclists. Everyone on the roads needs to do their part to reduce the risk of accidents, especially as the fatality number has risen so dramatically in Western New York.

Motorcycle Accidents in Western New York

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of motorcycle accident deaths has increased each year for the past 14 years with the exception of 2009. This increase has occurred at a time when the overall number of accident fatalities has declined. In New York, the fatality rate has also been generally trending upward as well, although there was a slight decrease in deaths from 2010 when 180 people motorcyclists lost their lives as compared with the 168 motorcyclist deaths in 2011.

The recent string of accidents in the Buffalo area, however, shows just how deadly a motorcycle accident can be. The NHTSA estimates that a motorcyclist is 30 times as likely to die and five times as likely to be injured in an auto accident.

In Western New York, the motorcycle riders were found to be speeding in two of the recent deaths while five accidents were attributed to the inability of the motorcyclist to go around a curve. Drivers, however, were also responsible for causing some of the recent deaths and several crashes were attributed to unsafe lane changes or U-turns. Unsafe lane changes are one of many common accident causes including:

  • A failure to yield. The Gold Wing Touring Association estimates that two-thirds of all motorcycle crashes involving multiple vehicles occur as a result of a passenger car turning into the lane of a motorcycle rider or as a result of a driver otherwise failing to yield the right-of-way as required.
  • Drivers failing to see motorcyclists. A program called Look Twice, Save a Life, aims to reduce the dangers of this type of accident.

Driver intoxication, driver distraction and aggressive driving are other top causes of motorcycle accidents.  Motorcyclists are also more vulnerable to road defects that can cause their bikes to go out of control.  The Gold Wing Touring Association, for instance, indicates that around two percent of motorcycle accidents occur because of a problem on the roadway.

With so many accidents occurring in Buffalo, both drivers and motorcycle riders need to understand top crash causes and need to follow good safety practices including obeying the rules of the road; paying attention to other traffic; and staying in their own lanes.

Car accident lawyers in Buffalo can help if you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident. Contact the Law Offices of James Morris today for a free consultation. Call 800-477-9044.

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Buffalo Bicycle Accident Tragic Reminder of Autumn Risks

18
Sep 2013
By: James Morris Law

In late August, the Buffalo News reported on the tragic death of a 12-year-old bicycle rider who had become trapped beneath a car on Sheridan Drive. Passersby who witnessed the crash rushed to the scene to try to free the boy from beneath the car and the heroic efforts of first responders and witnesses actually lifted the vehicle off the boy so he could be taken to a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, the injuries from the wreck were too severe and the boy died.

Bicycle accident lawyers in Buffalo know that bicycle accidents are often deadly for riders because they have essentially no protection from the force and the impact of the collision.  Unfortunately, this was one of many bike accidents that involved young riders, and it is an important reminder of the fact that both bicyclists and drivers play a critical role in avoiding fatalities and keeping the roads safe.

Bicycle Accidents Cause Serious Risks for Riders

Unfortunately, this fatal bike accident is one of many that is likely to occur over the year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 677 cyclists were killed and 48,000 injured in 2011, with bicyclist deaths making up around two percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. In New York alone, there were 57 fatalities of bicyclists in 2011.

Nationwide, 10 percent of those who were killed on bicycles were in the 16-and-under age group just as the bicyclist was in the Sheridan Drive crash. Men were also more likely to be killed or injured, accounting for 85 percent of all bicycle accident deaths.  Many of those individuals who were killed, of both genders, did not have helmets on at the time. The boy who was killed in the Sheridan Drive crash also was reportedly not wearing a helmet.

Safety Tips to Prevent Bicycle Accidents

It is important to remember that bicycle accidents often can be avoided if both riders and drivers do their parts.

When possible, bicycle riders need to avoid riding on busy roads and/or should stick to areas where there are bike lanes. Bicycle riders need to yield the right-of-way to drivers. Riders should wear helmets and bright-colored clothing so they are easier to see.

Drivers, on the other hand, need to pay attention to the road, stay off their cell phones, drive within the speed limit and also yield to bike riders who are crossing. If bicycle riders and drivers both make a commitment to share the road safely, hopefully more tragic accidents can be prevented.

Personal injury lawyers in Buffalo can help if you’ve been hurt in a car accident. Contact the Law Offices of James Morris today for a free consultation. Call 800-477-9044.

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