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New Electric Citi Bikes in New York City: What Are the Dangers?

Row of city bikes for rent at docking stations in New York City, USAIn late August, electric bicycles became available in New York City through Citi Bikes, the popular exchange where people with a membership can rent bicycles.

The electric bicycles will be available at the same Citi Bike docking stations where regular (i.e., foot-powered only) Citi Bikes are available.

The electric bikes are referred to as “pedal assist” bikes, because they use a pedal assist motor around the front wheel, which give the bikes an electric boost. Riders press a power button on the battery when the bike is stationary, and then begin to pedal when the lights are on.

The bikes can go faster than regular bikes. The speed for electric bikes can be as fast as 18 mph, compared with 11-12 mph with regular bikes. (Of course, the speed might be less depending on traffic.) The faster speeds can be very convenient for riders who are commuting to work — or just want to get where they are going faster than they can with a regular bike!

Are Electric Bikes More Risky?

Electric bike riders should, of course, be mindful of safety. Increased speeds could put bicyclists at increased risk of accidents, for several reasons.

First, stopping takes longer when any vehicle is going faster, bikes included. Bike riders need to factor in how long they need to stop with the new, faster bikes. In fact, it’s a good idea to practice in a place with low traffic density first, to get used to the new speeds.

Second, both motorists and pedestrians likely calculate their own actions with the speed of a regular bicycle in mind. Their decisions to pull out in front of you, turn, and stop are likely all based on those speeds, so bicyclists should keep those in mind as well.

Third, any accident you have may be more severe if you are going faster. If you run into an object at a greater velocity or are going with greater velocity and fall off, the impact of the accident may be greater. This is also true if an object, other vehicle, or person hits you when you are going at a greater speed.

All of these reasons are added to the already-existing need of all bicyclists to ride safely.

Rules for Riding Safely

Citi Bike reiterates these rules for riding safely on its electric bike website:

  1. Always wear a helmet
  2. Brake gradually in the electric bikes, with both hands.
  3. Be very cautious in traffic. Remember to obey safety rules, such as speed limits, right of way, and traffic signals.

If You Need a Bike Accident Lawyer in New York City

Even with the best bicycle riding and safety precautions, accidents on bicycles happen. If you or a loved one has been hurt or even killed in a bicycle accident in New York City or state, contact Edelman, Krasin & Jaye today. We have practiced in New York state for more than five decades.

Call us today for a complimentary consultation. Our NYC bicycle accident lawyers will give you information on the ramifications of your legal case and work to garner just compensation. We also make house calls if traveling is difficult.

Additional Resources:

  1. Citi Bike. Electric FAQs. https://www.citibikenyc.com/how-it-works/electric-faqs
  2. Citi Bike. Say hello to the electric Citi Bike bicycle. https://www.citibikenyc.com/how-it-works/electric
  3. Haas, Ryan. The Average Bike Riding Speed. September 11, 2017. https://www.livestrong.com/article/413599-the-average-bike-riding-speed/

Trick or Treater Safety Tips for Halloween

Little children in Halloween costumesIt’s nearly that time of year for haunted houses, costumes and trick or treating with the family. While Halloween promises tons of spooky fun, this popular holiday also carries safety risks as children wander darkened streets in close proximity to traffic.  Did you know that kids aged 5 to 14 are four times more likely to be killed in a pedestrian/ car accident while trick or treating compared to any other night of the year?

While your little ghosts and goblins are collecting goodies this Halloween, Edelman, Krasin & Jaye offers a few practical tips to keep your trick-or-treaters safe and out of harm’s way.

Halloween costume safety tips

From superheroes and Disney characters to fairy princesses, your child’s choice of Halloween costume is an important aspect of safety. While some residential areas offer daytime trick-or-treating, most kids are prowling the streets after 5:30 p.m., when visibility is poor. If your kid is on the hunt for sugary satisfaction after dark, follow these tips:

  • Put reflective tape on their costume or treat collection bag
  • Avoid masks that can obstruct vision
  • Avoid costumes or props that can impair vision or mobility
  • Ensure footwear fits properly and is comfortable
  • Go for brighter costume material to enhance visibility
  • Make sure the costume is sized right to prevent trips and falls

General precautions & road safety

Younger children (12 and under) should always be accompanied by an adult, but regardless of age, it’s always a good idea to ensure your child has a basic understanding of road safety before heading out.

Traffic and road safety tips:

  • Cross the street at corners, using crosswalks or traffic lights
  • Look both ways before crossing
  • Stick to pedestrian paths and sidewalks and always walk facing the traffic
  • Never dart out into the street or between parked cars
  • Watch for vehicles that are backing out of driveways
  • Stick to well-lit, familiar neighborhoods and streets
  • Always walk, don’t run
  • Carry a flashlight to be seen by drivers
  • Avoid dark, isolated paths

There is some measure of safety in numbers, and it’s always more fun to trick-or-treat in groups. Ask your kids to put away their smart phones and avoid other distractions while walking.

Pedestrian accident attorneys serving NYC

Every year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects vital crash data, which has increasingly shown the dangers facing trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Nearly 25 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involve drunk drivers, whose blood alcohol level is above the legal limit.

Edelman, Krasin and Jaye wishes everyone in our extended community a safe and happy Halloween. When a negligent driver causes injury or death, our Long Island pedestrian accident attorneys will ensure that justice is served. To schedule a free consultation, call today.

Additional Resources on Trick or Treater Safety:

  1. Mayo Clinic, Halloween safety: Tips for trick-or-treaters https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/halloween-safety/art-20044976
  2. SafeKids.org, HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS https://www.safekids.org/tip/halloween-safety-tips

Not If but When: Self-driving Cars Are Coming, but Will They Be Safe?

self driving carNews reports frequently tell us about tests of automated cars. Some self-driving cars have been tested in California and Arizona. While they are not yet fully operational or legal to drive — they have been intended as tests only — they do point to a future where, at some point, cars may drive us rather than us driving cars.

But why are self-driving cars being developed, and are you likely to see them soon on a highway near you?

The Why: Safety and Other Benefits

The chief reason self-driving vehicles are being developed is safety. Automobile accidents killed more than 35,000 people in 2015, the last year for which statistics are available, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An overwhelming number, 94%, are caused by human error. Self-driving technology has tremendous potential to reduce and even eliminate driver error.

Self-driving vehicles, for example, will regulate much of the driving. Drivers going over the speed limit, a frequent cause of crashes, could be eliminated. Driving under the influence of alcohol, a major contributor to impaired judgment, would become a thing of the past. Cars will be equipped to sense when there is not sufficient room to turn safety, or when traffic has suddenly slowed.

Although safety is the paramount reason, it should also be noted that car accidents contribute to economy costs, and that these could be greatly reduced. Collisions cost a total of $242 billion in 2010. Lost productivity in the workplace alone cost $57.6 billion and lost life and eroded quality of life cost $594 billion.

The When: A Continuum Leading Toward the Future

The question of when self-driving vehicles will become a reality can’t be answered with complete certainty. Self-driving technologies need to be fully tested, reviewed, and likely regulated by both the state and the U.S. government.

One useful way to think of self-driving technologies is as a continuum. At one point in the twentieth century, for example, cars were not required to include seat belts. Then, due to safety tests that clearly indicated a safety advantage, they were mandated as part of a car’s equipment. Anti-skid devices, power brakes, and more all followed the same path.

More recently, video cameras give drivers a panorama that allows them to back up more safely. Cruise control features have become more sophisticated.

The NHTSA forecasts that vehicles will gradually phase in more and more automated features through 2025. The car itself will do more, but drivers will still drive. Fully self-driving vehicles are not expected until after 2025.

Hurt in a Crash? Talk to a Car Accident Attorney at EKJ

While improving safety on the roads is a laudable goal, accidents caused by negligence are still likely to occur, even if cars do become more automated. When accidents happen, you need an experienced car accident lawyer in New York state.

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye will discuss your case and potential next steps. Our initial consultation is free. Call today to discuss your case with seasoned New York City and Long Island car accident lawyers today.

Additional Resources:

  1. Automated Vehicles for Safety. U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://www.nhtsa.gov/technology-innovation/automated-vehicles-safety.
  2. Driver Assistance Technologies. U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/driver-assistance-technologies.

How To Speak To the Elderly About Driving Safety

senior citizen man elderlyPeople aged 65 and older are at higher risk or injury and death if they are in a car crash due to their fragility. There are certain conditions related to aging, such as fading or impaired eyesight or hearing or drowsiness-inducing medications, that may make elderly drivers less able to drive safely.

Over 200,000 drivers 65 and older were injured in a vehicle collision in 2016. Over 3,500 were killed. On average, because of the increases in longevity, senior citizens become unable to drive safely in roughly the last 7 to 10 years of their lives.

Only 17% of Senior Citizens Have Spoken to Family Members About Car Safety

It’s important for senior citizens to plan for what the Automobile Association of America (AAA) terms “driving retirement” before a precipitating incident such as an injury or crash occurs. Yet AAA statistics indicate that only 17 of senior citizens have had discussions with their families about safe driving as they age. In other words, almost 83% of drivers aged 65 and older haven’t had any conversations about safe driving and aging, either their family members or doctors.

Even the senior citizens who have had these conversations have overwhelmingly (15%) had them only when a vehicle accident or violation of traffic laws has occurred.

Clearly, the safer course is to actively plan for the eventuality of an older person not being safe while driving or able to drive before it occurs.

How to Have a About Driving with an Elder

But family members may not know how to broach or discuss this issue. The AAA recommends the following.

1. Be proactive and positive

Try to initiate a conversation early. Be supportive and positive about ways to keep your older loved one safe as they drive. Research other possible forms of transportation.

2. Focus on specifics

Don’t generalize about the ability of older drivers. Focus on your loved one’s skills and abilities.

3. Have a one-to-one conversation

A trusted family member should speak to the senior citizen. You want to avoid feelings of anger or anxiety.

4. Stick to facts

Don’t discuss the situation as if all older drivers need to be stopped. The AAA recommends focusing on specifics about the senior citizen’s situation, like eyesight or prescriptions that may affect driving and make it less than safe.

5. Include the senior citizen

Senior citizens need to be active in making a plan for driving retirement. Don’t dictate, but plan jointly.

If You Need to Talk to a Car Accident Attorney

If you or an elderly loved one has been in a car accident in New York state, the experienced car accident lawyers at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye can help.

Our initial consultation is free; we will discuss your case and potential next steps. Call 1-800-469-7429 for a free consultation with a seasoned New York City and Long Island car wreck lawyer today.

Additional Resources:

  1. Automobile Association of America. AAA Newsroom. “More than 80 Percent of Older Drivers Aren’t Talking About Driving Safety.” August 14, 2018. https://newsroom.aaa.com/2018/08/older-drivers-talking-driving-safety/
  2. Automobile Association of America. Driver Planning Agreement. https://seniordriving.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Driver-Planning-Agreement.pdf.

Teens Behind the Wheel: How To Keep Them Safe

teens driving while texting distracted drivingFor teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly 100,000 teenagers in that age group are injured yearly. Almost 2,000 teenage drivers every year are killed in vehicle crashes.

Parents play a role in keeping their children harm-free. Here are three steps you can take to make sure that your teens are safe when they’re behind the wheel.

1. Teach Them Safety Tips

Teens need to be taught good driving practices and safety tips from the minute they begin to drive. If you teach your teenager how to drive, be sure and inculcate good safety practices. Emphasize the importance of following safety rules and regulations, such as obeying the speed limit, stopping at stop signs and red lights, and yielding the right-of-way appropriately.

Many schools and organizations offer defensive driving classes for new drivers. While these are frequently a method of obtaining discounts on car insurance, remember that the more important focus is, of course, to teach drivers to take into account potential errors in the behavior of other drivers, such as signaling for a turn and then driving straight. Motorists who pull out in front of a car expecting it to turn as the signal indicates are sometimes unfortunately surprised by being in a collision.

2. Emphasize the Dangers of Drunk Driving

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10% of high school students admit that they drink and drive. Driving under the influence of alcohol causes the likelihood of vehicle accidents to rise.

In fact, for drivers 16 to 20 years old, a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08% or above, the legal limit for a DUI, makes them 17 times more likely to be in a fatal crash.

Emphasize that teens who have been drinking should never get behind a wheel. Set up a system for a nondrinking friend to drive, for parents to pick up kids after a party, or for a taxi or car service to be called.

3. Publicize the Dangers of Distracted Driving, Especially Texting

All ages love their cell phones, and no one is more active on them than teenagers. Unfortunately, texting or e-mailing while driving is extremely dangerous.

A new study published in August reports that roughly 40% of teen drivers in the U.S. say that they text and drive. Texting is one of the chief components of distracted driving, in which drivers aren’t fully attentive to the road.

Even more frightening, over half of teenagers who are 15 years old or under say they have driven while texting or e-mailing within the past month.

Be clear with teens: distracted driving of any kind jeopardizes their safety behind the wheel. Never text, e-mail, or make any other use of a cell phone while driving.

If You Need a Texting and Driving Accident Lawyer in New York

 If you have been injured because another driver was texting and driving, call the experienced New York auto accident lawyers at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye.

We will fight to see that justice is done if someone else’s negligence behind the wheel caused your injury. Your first consultation with a seasoned Long Island texting & driving accident lawyer occurs at no charge to you. Call us today at 1.800.469.7429.

Additional Resources:

  1. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs. Teen driving and drinking: a dangerous mix. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/teendrinkinganddriving/index.html
  2. Young, Sarah D. “Nearly 40 percent of teens text while driving, study finds.” Consumer Affairs. August 20, 2018. https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/nearly-40-percent-of-teens-text-while-driving-study-finds-082018.html

Red-Light-Running Accident Deaths on the Rise

Traffic light on red, Manhattan, New YorkIntersections have long been one of the most dangerous zones for vehicle accidents because they are where vehicles — and bicyclists and pedestrians — often come together.

One of the types of fatal intersection accidents, running a red light, rose 17% from 2012 to 2016. Throughout the U.S., 811 people died as a result of a red-light-running accident in 2016, versus 696 in 2012.

Increase in Accidents Caused by Running a Red Light

Running a red light is one of the most frequent contributors toward urban vehicle accidents. Over 50% of the fatalities in these type of accidents are bicyclists, pedestrians, or people in vehicles other than the one that ran the red light.

Sadly, red light camera programs have been shown to decrease red-light-running accidents, but many of these programs have been discontinued across the country. In fact, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicated that red-light-running accidents was 30% higher when cities discontinued use of the cameras than when they had an active camera program.

There were just 421 red-light programs in the U.S. in 2018, versus 533 in 2012, a more than 20% drop. Multiple factors have contributed to the discontinuance of cameras in red-light intersections, including financial constraints, a falling number of citations based on the cameras, and local opposition to the red-light camera programs.

New cameras are being added, but the number being stopped is greater.

Fighting the Rise of Red-Light-Running Deaths

To combat the rise of fatal and other crashes due to red light running, several U.S. vehicle safety organizations have joined together to develop a checklist on automated enforcement and its effect on safety. The organizations are the Automobile Association of American (AAA), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Safety Council.

While IIHS noted that factors such as robust economic times might also be contributing to the increase in red-light-running accidents, it noted that automated enforcement is a proven safety measure that reduces fatalities.

The checklist is designed to be used by law enforcement, policy-makers, and government officials.

Need an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in NYC or Nassau County?

All too tragically, running a red light can cause death and destruction to innocent bystanders. If you or a loved one has been killed or injured in an accident caused by running a red light, or caused by any other reason, call us today.

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are seasoned NYC & Nassau County car accident attorneys, broadly experienced in litigation and insurance payments stemming from vehicle accidents.

The first consultation is complimentary. Call 1-800-469-7429 for a free consultation with an experienced New York City and Long Island car accident lawyer today.

Additional Resources:

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Highway Loss Data Institute. Red light running. April 2018. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/red-light-running/qanda
  2. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Highway Loss Data Institute. IIHS News. “New guidelines for automated enforcement programs emphasize safety amid rise in red-light-running crash deaths.” July 24, 2018. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/new-guidelines-for-automated-enforcement-programs-emphasize-safety-amid-rise-in-red-light-running-crash-deaths

 

2,456 Deaths in 2016 Due to Not Buckling Up

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) once again collaborated with local law enforcement agencies nationwide to remind people to buckle up.  The agency recently kicked off its yearly “Click It or Ticket” safety campaign in an effort to increase seat belt use and prevent needless car accident fatalities.

Click it or Ticket Campaign

“Safety is our top priority, and this department is proud to stand with local law enforcement officials to help spread the word about the importance of buckling up,” said Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, in a May press release.

The initiative, which ran from May 21-June 3, had the support of more than 10,000 law enforcement agencies from across the country. The campaign featured national advertisements that warned about the dangers of driving or riding in motor vehicles while unrestrained, in the hopes of bringing attention to this important topic. It is mandatory to wear a seat belt in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. During the campaign, police officers were out in full force, issuing citations to any persons who were not buckled up.

Traffic deaths could have been prevented

The federal campaign has had a positive impact on traffic safety since its launch, as figures show a steady uptick in seat belt use in the past decade. Although seat belt compliance has saved thousands of lives (an estimated 15,000 in 2016 alone), the NHTSA cautions that there’s still room for improvement.

Recent crash data indicate that 2,456 lives could have been saved if every driver and vehicle occupant over the age of 5 had buckled up.

Key takeaways from 2016 crash data

There were 17,480 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016 – the majority in passenger cars. Among the fatalities for which restraint use was known, 48 percent were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident. The safety report shows that nearly half of all front seat passengers killed in crashes were not buckled up, and 57 percent of backseat passengers killed were not restrained.

The data also examined fatalities by vehicle type. Some 61 percent of unrestrained occupants who were killed were in pick-up trucks, while 42 percent of unrestrained passengers were in standard passenger vehicles.

Seat belts are extremely effective at preventing ejection from a vehicle at the time of impact. In all of the fatal crashes in 2016, only 1 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants wearing their seat belts were thrown completely from the vehicle, compared to 29 percent of those who were unbuckled. 

New York was the first state to pass a mandatory seat belt law in 1984. The state’s “observed seat belt compliance rate” hovers just over 91 percent. In 2016, 34 percent of all New York passenger vehicle occupants killed in accidents were not wearing their seat belt, underscoring the immense value of restraint use.

Legal representation in Suffolk and Nassau Counties

The law firm of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye supports any initiatives that bring attention to the importance of seat belt use. Buckling up is one of the best defenses against distracted, reckless and impaired drivers and can increase your chances of surviving a serious collision.

Our award-winning legal team is dedicated to helping injury victims in New York recover just compensation from negligent parties. Call 1-800-469-7429 to schedule a free, private consultation with experienced car accident lawyers in Nassau County.

Additional Resources on Traffic Safety & Seat Belt Use:

  1. NHTSA, Buckle Up. It Could Save Your Life. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/buckle-it-could-save-your-life
  2. NHTSA, 2016 Traffic Safety Facts https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/buckle-it-could-save-your-life

New Jersey School Bus Crash Kills Two

The town of Mount Olive, New Jersey was the site of a deadly collision last Thursday. According to officials, a teacher and a student were killed when a school bus they were riding crashed into a dump truck on Interstate 80 westbound near Route 206 – approximately 50 miles outside of New York City.

Student and teacher killed in school bus collision

Witnesses told CBS2 News that the bus, which was taking middle schoolers on a field trip, missed an exit and was attempting to make a U-turn when the accident occurred. The school bus, from Paramus’ East Brook Middle School, was carrying a group of fifth graders and their teachers. A total of seven adults and 38 students were aboard the bus when the vehicle was broad sided by a dump truck. The grisly collision left 2 dead and 44 injured, of which 43 were hospitalized.

The two fatalities included Jennifer Williamson, a 51-year old teacher at East Brooke Middle School, and a student whose identity has not yet been confirmed. The collision occurred less than one mile from the field trip destination: Waterloo Village. As authorities continue to investigate the crash, traffic experts are raising concerns about school bus safety, particularly in relation to their performance in side-impact collisions like this one.

According to federal figures, school buses are among the safest passenger vehicles on the road. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show a rate of 0.2 fatalities for every 100 million miles driven by school buses, compared with 1.5 deaths for every 100 million miles driven in standard passenger vehicles.

While all school buses in New Jersey are equipped with seat belts, this safety measure did little to protect the occupants. The bus was “sheared apart” during the impact, with part of the ravaged vehicle left in the median at a 45-degree angle. There were passengers entrapped in the wreckage and others who were ejected from their seats.

“I have never seen anything like that. I can only describe it as horrific,” said Mount Olive Mayor Robert Greenbaum.

Liability issues in bus accidents

There are important factors to consider when determining liability in a school bus accident. Was one of the drivers negligent in their actions? Were the standards of care met? Was a driver distracted or speeding? Was a mechanical issue to blame? Was the bus in safe operating condition? Was an illegal maneuver or traffic violation committed?

There are comprehensive state and federal standards that apply to the licensing of school bus drivers, their requirements and their training. Only thorough investigations of accident reports can identify liable parties and if standards of care were truly breached.

If a bus driver’s actions or inactions contributed to an accident, a number of parties may be held responsible in a court of law. These include:

  1. The school district
  2. The bus driver
  3. Insurance company
  4. Third-party contracting company

Other potential defendants in bus collisions include another negligent driver or vehicle parts manufacturers who distributed faulty or defective parts that contributed to the crash.

Accident attorneys New York residents trust

Here at Edelman, Krasin and Jaye, we have the experience and resources to help clients navigate complex legal matters involving vicarious liability, government immunity and cases involving multiple defendants. When you need a skilled school bus accident lawyer in NYC or throughout the Tri State area, you can count on our law firm for superior advocacy and client support.

Put your trust in an award-winning law firm with hundreds of millions in verdicts and settlements. Call 1-800-469-7429 to speak with a NY school bus accident lawyer today.

Additional Resources on NJ School Bus Crash:

  1. Yahoo News, NJ school bus collision leaves 2 dead, some critically hurt https://www.yahoo.com/gma/school-bus-collides-dump-truck-jersey-injuries-reported-150103465–abc-news-topstories.html
  2. CBS News New York, Student, Teacher Killed When School Bus, Dump Truck Collide In Mount Olive, N.J. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/05/17/mount-olive-school-bus-crash/
  3. NorthJersey.com, Why was Paramus school bus crash so violent? Buses vulnerable to side impact, experts say https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/transportation/2018/05/19/paramus-school-bus-crash-buses-vulnerable-side-impact/624350002/

4 Reasons to Love Driverless Cars

self driving carPlenty of predictions made by science fiction writers have already come true. Like the iPad (predicted by Arthur C. Clarke), organ transplants (predicted by Mary Shelley), flat-screen TVs (predicted by Ray Bradbury), and an apocalyptic alien invasion, predicted by H.G. Wells. Well, perhaps not the last one, but driverless cars (predicted by many, including Isaac Asimov) are definitely reality now, and that’s great news for transportation safety and insurance costs.

More lives saved and injuries prevented

Driver error of any kind is the most common reason for car crashes. It includes dangerous behaviors like drunk driving, driving while substance impaired, driving while fatigued, and driving while distracted, as well as speeding, tailgating, and making unsafe lane changes. When drivers no longer have to drive, all of these errors can presumably be eliminated. In the U.S. alone, the widespread use of driverless cars is expected to save countless lives, and prevent injuries both minor and major.

In fact, it’s thought that driverless cars could slash accident rates by up to 90 percent by the year 2050.

Lower insurance premiums

Many drivers have a love-hate relationship with auto insurance. The monthly premium is a nuisance, but when a crash happens, it’s sure nice to have the policy. As autonomous cars become increasingly prevalent and car crash rates decline, it’s expected that insurance carriers will adjust their premiums accordingly. Some experts think that there may be two types of auto insurance packages: One for manual cars, and one for autonomous cars. Since driverless vehicles have a greatly reduced risk of crashing, these premiums would naturally decline.

Safer commercial transportation

In addition to safer passenger vehicles, commercial transportation accidents are expected to greatly decrease when automated big rigs become commonplace. This is similar to what has already happened in the aviation industry. Pilots are primarily responsible for take-offs and landings, but during the actual flight, they mostly put the plane on autopilot. Industry experts envision the same thing happening for commercial truck drivers. This possibility is particularly exciting for safety advocates, as big rig crashes are among the deadliest.

Less time wasted in traffic jams

In some ways, computers are smarter than humans. When a driver tells an autonomous car to get him from Point A to Point B, the car can automatically generate current traffic pattern information and determine the most efficient and timeliest way to get to Point B. The widespread use of driverless cars could potentially result in less traffic congestion, fewer hours wasted sitting in traffic, and presumably, fewer road rage incidents.

Tomorrow’s technology, today’s problems

Car manufacturers have been steadily increasing the focus on safety technology in new model vehicles, and the prevalent use of driverless cars could certainly help keep the roadways safer. But it’s still going to be years before a significant number of drivers have autonomous cars, and in the meantime, far too many accidents happen every day.

If you’ve been involved in a car wreck on Long Island or anywhere in the 5 boroughs of NYC and require legal representation, you can turn to the seasoned team at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye. Request your confidential, one-on-one consultation with one of our Nassau County car accident lawyers today by calling 1.800.469.7429.

More information on the benefits of driverless cars:

  1. Bloomberg, Self-Driving Cars Will Kill Things You Love (And a Few You Hate), https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-13/self-driving-cars-will-kill-things-you-love-and-a-few-you-hate
  2. Business Insider, The 3 biggest ways self-driving cars will improve our lives, http://www.businessinsider.com/advantages-of-driverless-cars-2016-6/

Pedestrian Deaths Down in NYC

There’s good news for bicyclists and pedestrians in New York City: the streets are slowly becoming safer when it comes to vehicular traffic.

The New York Times reports that Queens Boulevard, a busy thoroughfare that has claimed 186 lives since 1990, has not had a single fatality since 2014. A large part of this recent downturn in pedestrian deaths is due to the efforts of Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose ambitious Vision Zero initiative has proven that proactive measures and safety improvements can help prevent needless accidents and deaths.

Queens Boulevard no longer a death zone

Once known as the “Boulevard of Death” Queens Blvd. is no longer one of the city’s deadliest streets. Mayor de Blasio says the moniker should be changed to the “Boulevard of Life,” a testament to the progress of Vision Zero. The ultimate goal is to eliminate all traffic deaths, which Blasio deems to be entirely preventable. Despite a stalled take-off, the campaign has garnered praise for its impressive roster of changes, including the lowering of the speed limit to 25 miles per hour on major arteries like Queens Boulevard.

In addition, the City poured substantial financial resources into the redesign of Queens Boulevard, with a view toward reducing pedestrian dangers. More than $4 million was invested in adding more crosswalks, median waiting areas, bike lanes, and high-tech cameras to catch speeding motorists. Engineers also re-tooled the 10 car lanes to mitigate the congestion between local and through traffic.

For residents like Lizi Rahman, whose 22-year-old-son was mowed down by a truck while riding a bike on Queens Boulevard 10 years ago, the changes have come a little late.  Since her son’s fatal accident, she has been a strong advocate for bike lanes on the well-traveled artery. “It won’t bring my son back, “ she told The Times. “Maybe other people will be safe.” Next year will see even bigger changes to the so-called Boulevard of Life, with the addition of wider, tree-lined medians, a continuous path for pedestrians and lots of benches.

Other dangerous streets still need attention

According to deputy director of Transportation Alternatives Caroline Samponaro, New York City still has “plenty” of other hazardous streets in need of attention. As the de Blasio administration continues its work on Vision Zero, this past year’s traffic deaths are suggestive of a positive trend.

As of late November 2017, NYC had 198 total traffic fatalities, a slight decline from the same time of the previous year. Ninety-two of these deaths involved pedestrians and 19 involved bicyclists.

Anyone has ever been knocked down by a vehicle while on foot or bicycle, knows the life-changing injuries that can result. Broken bones, concussions, and traumatic brain injury are just some of the types of harm regularly inflicted upon victims.

If you or someone you love is in need of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in New York, we invite you to contact Edelman, Krasin & Jaye for a free case review.

Our attorneys provide superior legal representation to residents throughout Long Island and the greater NYC area, and can outline your options for maximum financial recovery. Call our offices at 1.800.469.7429 to get started today.

Additional Resources:

  1. New York Times, No Longer New York City’s ‘Boulevard of Death’ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/nyregion/queens-boulevard-of-death.html?_r=0
  2. New York Times, De Blasio Outlines Steps to Eliminate Traffic Deaths https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/nyregion/de-blasio-unveils-plans-to-eliminate-traffic-deaths.html?_r=0