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Tips for Teen Drivers to Stay Safe in the Summer

19
Aug 2021
By:

A young teen texting on his flip-phone as he drives down the road. Mirror shows that his eyes are on the phone, not on the road. Blurred motion out the windshied and speed on the speedometer show that he's really driving. Phone screen says "lol".

Our law firm explains what drivers in Buffalo and Western NY need to know

Public safety advocates refer to the time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the “100 deadliest days of summer,” according to Bankrate. That’s because teenagers are involved in more car accidents during the summer months than at any other time of year.

How risky is summer for teen drivers?

Approximately 30% of motor vehicle fatalities involving teen drivers happen during the summer months, according to AAA. Between 2010 and 2019, more than 7,000 people (roughly seven people per day) died in motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers nationwide during the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.”

But the rest of the year can be just as dangerous for teen drivers. Among teens ages 15 to 18, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And among all teenagers 13 to 19 years old, motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each year, more than 2,400 teenagers die in motor vehicle accidents nationwide.

The problem is just as bad in New York. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens ages 16 to 17, according to the New York Department of Health. And each day, approximately 10 people are killed or seriously injured in accidents caused by teen drivers in New York.

What are the most common causes of teen driver accidents?

Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research, noted that “teens tend to have more unstructured time behind the wheel” during the summer.

AAA and Bankrate cited several other reasons why there are so many accidents involving teenagers during the summer, including:

  • Immaturity and inability to assess risks on the road. Many teens are unaware of “the grave consequences of their actions,” according to Bankrate.
  • Speeding, which plays a role in approximately 30% of traffic fatalities involving teen drivers.
  • Drowsy driving along with inexperience. That’s because unlike more experienced drivers, teens may not realize when they’re too tired to safely operate a motor vehicle.
  • Distracted driving, which plays a role in more than 60% of accidents involving teen drivers. Using a cellphone or texting while driving is a common problem, but the biggest distraction for teenagers is other teenagers. By simply having another teen in the vehicle, the odds of a teen driver causing a crash double. If there are two or more teenager passengers, a teen driver is three times more likely to cause a crash, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute.
  • Inexperience driving at night. The fatal crash rate for drivers ages 16 to 19 is four times higher at night versus during the day. That rate is also nearly three times higher than the accident rate for drivers ages 30 to 59.
  • Drunk driving. Even though teenagers cannot legally drink, drivers ages 16 to 20 with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% to 0.079% are 12 times more likely to be killed in an accident than sober teen drivers. In addition, the CDC noted that 24% of teenagers who caused fatal accidents were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
  • Lack of seatbelt use. Approximately 60% of teen drivers killed in accidents were not wearing a seatbelt. And compared to other age groups, seatbelt use among teens is the lowest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What to do if you get hit by a teen driver

If you were in an accident caused by a teen driver (or any driver, for that matter), make sure you take certain steps to protect your well-being and your legal rights, such as:

  • Call 911 so the police can respond to your accident.
  • If you or anyone else is injured, ask for an ambulance.
  • While you’re waiting for police to arrive and if it’s safe to do so, take pictures and/or video of the crash scene (be sure to include all property damage, vehicle damage, tire marks, street signs, traffic signals, and any visible injuries).
  • If someone witnessed what happened, get their name and contact information. Eyewitness testimony can be a powerful piece of evidence when determining who or what caused an accident.
  • Get the other driver’s full name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Do not discuss the crash with the other driver. Anything you say could later be used as evidence to deny your injury claim. Even something that may seem harmless like “I’m sorry” could be interpreted as an admission of fault.
  • Get checked out by a doctor. Even if you were evaluated at the crash scene by an EMT, you should still see a licensed medical professional within 24 hours of your crash. Some injuries aren’t immediately noticeable in the moments after a crash. Your adrenaline can mask pain, and inflammation may not set in until well after the collision. Failure to seek prompt medical attention after a car accident also opens the door for an insurance company to question the severity of your injuries and minimize your claim.
  • Contact a lawyer as soon as possible to learn your legal rights and options.

How a car accident lawyer can help you

We have experience countering the tricks insurance companies play. That’s why we have such a strong track record of success in Buffalo and throughout western New York. Our dedicated legal team has the tools and the resources to investigate your crash and build a strong case. We then present our case to the insurance company and aggressively advocate for the compensation you need and deserve. Learn more about how an experienced car accident lawyer can help you. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation at our office in Buffalo today.

Keeping Kids Safe in Buffalo This Summer

30
Jun 2021
By:

father and two children jumping into pool

Tips to keep your family safe

Summer is here, and with the COVID-19 pandemic in full retreat, families throughout Western New York are eager to make up for lost time. This is undoubtedly good news, but it also comes with all the usual risks of hot weather, outdoor activities, and potential accidents that can cause injuries to children. Keep these tips in mind to make sure your family’s summer is safe and memorable.

Supervision is critical

Kids should never be in the water, whether a pool or natural body of water, without adult supervision. Whether or not there is a lifeguard on duty, parents and guardians need to take responsibility for supervising the kids. If multiple adults are present with a group of children, one responsible (and sober) adult needs to be designated as the point person to watch the kids. Too many accidents happen when several adults all assumed that someone else was supervising play.

The same principle applies to other outdoor activities, such as playing on playgrounds. Accidents can happen quickly, and the watchful eyes of a responsible adult are important to keep kids from getting seriously hurt. Make sure kids only play on age- and size-appropriate equipment, and especially in the afternoon, touch metal surfaces first to make sure they aren’t too hot.

Stay safe in the heat and the sun

Know the signs of heat exhaustion or heat cramps, and be prepared to take immediate action if a child seems to be showing warning signs of heatstroke. Kids are more vulnerable to dehydration than adults, so they need to stay hydrated on hot days. Wear light, weather-appropriate clothing to avoid getting too hot. Never leave a child unattended in a car — at any time of year, really, but especially in the summer when the greenhouse effect can cause temperatures to rise quickly.

Make sure you’re applying sunscreen of at least SPF 30, and remember to reapply every 3 hours or immediately after swimming or playing in water. Waterproof sunscreen protects skin while in the water, but not after you dry off.

Be safe around fireworks

With the Fourth of July coming up, remember that children should never touch or light fireworks. Thousands of children under 15 go to emergency rooms every year with fireworks-related injuries.

In New York, the only legal fireworks are sparkling devices — a broad category that includes devices that burn at up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, more than enough to cause devastating burns. If your celebrations involve sparklers, make sure a responsible adult reads the instructions and handles the devices appropriately.

We are honored to stand up for children injured by negligence

Most parents do everything they can to keep their children safe, but there is always a risk that a child can be harmed by a negligent driver, property owner, or another party. When that happens, the injured child and their family have recourse under New York law. That’s why it’s critical that you talk through your legal rights and options with an experienced personal injury lawyer. If your child has been hurt, contact the Law Offices of James E. Morris today for a free, confidential consultation.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

19
May 2021
By:

Two people riding a motorcycle on a rural road

Peak riding season has arrived in Buffalo and Upstate New York, and with that will come an increase in the number of motorcyclists we see on our roads and highways.

As traffic throughout the U.S. starts to return to pre-pandemic levels, drivers are being reminded that we all need to watch out for and share the road with bikers.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and as we make our way into the summer, here’s what you can do to avoid causing a motorcycle accident.

Fatal motorcycle accidents in New York State went up in 2020

According to a recent report by WGRZ-TV, fatal motorcycle accidents in New York State increased by over 30% in 2020 when compared to 2019. In 2019, there were 132 fatal motorcycle crashes that resulted in 133 deaths. For 2020, there were 172 fatal motorcycle wrecks that caused 179 deaths, even though there weren’t nearly as many motorists out on the road due to restrictions related to the pandemic.

“Despite fewer vehicles on the road last year, we saw a startling increase in deadly motorcycle crashes, and every life lost was someone’s loved one,” said Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Chair and DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “Everyone sharing the road whether in a car or on a motorcycle has a responsibility to help stop these tragedies. As the weather warms up and we continue making progress battling COVID-19, there will be more traffic and more riders, so stay alert, avoid distractions, and never, ever drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

Earlier this month, a motorcyclist was hit by a car on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Buffalo and thrown into the oncoming lane of traffic before he was hit by a GMC truck. WKBW Buffalo reports bystanders used a jack to free the victim, who was transported to Erie County Medical Center.

Police are still investigating the cause of the collision, but tragic crashes like this are becoming more and more common in the Buffalo area and serve as an important reminder that motorcycle riders are the most vulnerable drivers on the road.

Safety tips for drivers

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation and AAA are working together to raise awareness and promote safe driving practices since the primary cause of most motorcycle accidents is negligence — by other drivers.

To avoid causing a motorcycle crash, other motorists should:

  • Slow down — Speeders won’t be able to react or stop quickly enough to avoid a collision with a motorcycle rider.
  • Keep a safe distance — It’s common for bikers to downshift or roll off the throttle to slow down, meaning the motorcycle’s brake lights won’t be triggered and there will be no visual warning that the rider is reducing their speed. Experts say to keep a following distance of about 3 to 4 seconds when driving behind a motorcycle.
  • Stay focused — Since motorcycles are a lot smaller than cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and commercial vehicles, it’s easy for other motorists to not notice riders until it’s too late. Add in the distraction of a cellphone, food, drink, GPS, or a chatty passenger, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind focused on the road ahead.
  • Use your turn signals — Turn signals are a form of communication to other drivers, including motorcyclists, that let them know where you’re going and what you’re intentions are. Always use your signals for a minimum distance of 100 feet when you’re going to make a turn or change lanes so other drivers can act accordingly.
  • Check your blind spots — Whenever you’re going to change lanes you should watch out for motorcycle riders in your blinds spots, which on most passenger vehicles are located around the doors and roof pillars. Use your signals, check your mirrors, and look out for motorcyclists, who may also blend in with other vehicles, bushes, fences, and bridges. Try to remember that it’s also hard to gauge how fast a motorcycle is going, which means you need to be extra cautious when waiting to make a turn. In fact, the most dangerous scenario for motorcycle riders occurs when other motorists fail to grant bikers the right of way, which is common when other vehicles are making a left turn at an intersection.

As for riders, the best motorcycle safety tips include wearing a helmet (it’s also the law in New York), wearing appropriate gear, taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course, being mindful of road conditions and hazardous weather, riding sober, and performing regular maintenance on your bike to keep it in good working condition (e.g., check the tire pressure, tighten loose bolts, replace damaged parts, etc.).

After a crash, you deserve justice

No matter how careful you are when riding your motorcycle, all it takes is one moment of negligence by another driver to cause an accident that leaves you severely injured — or worse.

If you were injured or a close family member died in a motorcycle accident that was someone else’s fault, you have recourse under New York law to pursue appropriate compensation for your damages.

The problem is other drivers and their insurance providers often have a bias toward motorcyclists and view them as reckless thrill-seekers who, when injured in an accident, must have deserved it because they were being careless. As such, it’s a widespread practice for insurance adjusters to downplay, dispute, delay, and flat-out deny injury claims brought forth by motorcycle riders.

At the Law Offices of James Morris, we know the games insurance companies play and we don’t put up with them. Founding attorney James Morris has been doing this for a long time (over 30 years) and knows how to fight for the compensation his clients deserve.

Find out how a highly skilled motorcycle accident lawyer in Buffalo, NY can help you. Contact us right now to set up a free case consultation.

Buffalo Car Accidents Distracted Driving Injury Risks

19
Jun 2018
By:

Buffalo personal injuryAuthorities and safety advocates are bracing for the summer travel season by cracking down on all manner of dangerous driving behavior, including drunk drivers, speeders, aggressive drivers and distracted drivers.

For teenagers, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day has the awful distinction of being the year’s 100 Deadliest Days. While year-end holidays get the headlines when it comes to road carnage, the trio of summer holidays continues to rank among the deadliest. In order to promote safer driving habits, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with a grant from New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, has defined distracted driving.

Distracted Driving in New York: Definition of Dangerous

New York law prohibits hand-held cellphone use while driving. The law includes talking on the phone, using text, web browsing or e-mail features, viewing or taking images or playing games. Fines range from $50 to $450, and up to 5 points on your driver’s license, which could result in suspension of driving privileges.

As state distracted driving laws go, New York’s is among the most stringent in the nation. However, the law still permits use of hands-free devices, which the National Safety Council and other safety advocates continue to identify as posing a serious safety threat because of the distraction inherent in having a phone conversation while operating a motor vehicle. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates drivers miss up to one-third of movement and half of what is occurring outside the windshield if they are engaged in a phone conversation – even with a hands-free device.

Other common causes of distraction include talking to passengers, dealing with children or pets, eating, drinking or grooming, and using GPS or other forms of onboard electronics or entertainment. Don’t forget external distractions as the summer road construction season begins. Construction zones are among the most dangerous areas on the road for motorists and workers alike.

Distracted Driving Liability in Buffalo

Whether a distracted driver is held responsible for damages resulting from an accident will have more to do with consulting an experienced Buffalo injury lawyer than it will with New York driving laws.

While a driver’s traffic infraction may go toward proving negligence under New York civil law, a criminal citation is not required. While not the same as carelessness, negligence under the law is failure to act as a reasonable person would to protect another from foreseeable risk of harm.

Proving negligence requires proving defendant owed a duty and breached standard of care, that breach resulted in injury, and that plaintiff incurred actual damages. Your personal injury lawyer will work to identify those responsible and their associated insurance coverage, while also working to identify the extent of your damages, which can include things like property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and cost of rehabilitation.

Tips to Keep Buffalo Drivers Safe

Buffalo auto accident attorneyBuffalo car accidents happen for many reasons. Distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding, and many other unsafe driving habits can increase the chances of causing a car accident. Buffalo’s infamous winter weather can linger well into April and also increase the likelihood of being injured in a car accident.

By understanding the common causes of auto accidents and addressing one’s own driving habits, vehicle operators can help keep the roads of Buffalo safe for everyone.

The Recommendations from the Experts

CTV News offers tips for safe driving. One driving instructor reminded drivers to go back to the basic skills that prepared them for their test. Use signals on every turn, make a full and complete stop at every stop sign, turn into the nearest lane of traffic, and follow other basic rules of the road. Many drivers have spent decades since their driving tests developing bad habits. Make an honest assessment of your driving skills and identify any areas which have become sloppy over years.

The driving instructor also discouraged drivers from practicing “target fixation” –  a visual technique in which the driver focuses solely on the road ahead. The safer practice is to scan all areas around your vehicle in order to ascertain traffic conditions on all sides. Perform regular checks of your vehicle’s rear-view and side mirrors. This is a technique borrowed from pilots, who must regularly inspect many different instruments. Monitor traffic and road hazards in the nearby roadway – even those which are not directly in your path of travel. This can help drivers plan an “exit route” in the event of a sudden obstruction in the roadway.

Many drivers do not leave adequate space between their vehicles and vehicles in front of them (an average of only .8 seconds). While two car lengths may be sufficient while driving in fair weather conditions, ice and snow can cause a vehicle to require a greater stopping distance. A safer rule to follow is four seconds of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This can be measured by allowing the vehicle ahead of yours to pass a fixed point (such as a building or sign), then timing how long it takes your vehicle to reach the same point. If the time was less than four seconds, slow down and create more space between your vehicle and those ahead of you. Buffalo’s cold climate often causes hazardous driving conditions (such as rain, hail, sleet, snow, and ice). Slow down and exercise particular caution in these circumstances.

Finally, drivers should be careful not to rely too heavily upon vehicle safety features, which can lull them into a false sense of security. Anti-lock brakes will not shorten the distance required for the vehicle to stop. Backup cameras cannot see all obstructions. Lane drift alerts may not be activated in time to avoid a collision. Drivers must not become so reliant on such features that they fail to exercise basic caution.

When drivers fail to act in a safe manner, innocent victims can be injured as a result. The legal advocacy a car accident attorney provides can help encourage Buffalo road users to become safer drivers. Filing personal injury claims with a negligent driver’s insurance company not only helps injury victims access the compensation to which the law entitles them, but also holds drivers accountable for dangerous behavior.

New Safety Technologies Can Prevent Thousands of Truck Accidents Every Year

18
Nov 2017
By:

Buffalo truck accident attorneyFor 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

Buffalo auto accident attorneyWith 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:

Buffalo car accident attorneyDistracted 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 New 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:

Buffalo auto accident attorneyBack 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.

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

Buffalo motorcycle accident attorneyThere’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.

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.