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Snowbanks to Blame for Spike in Crashes

/ Car Accident, Winter Hazards /

Snowbanks to Blame for Spike in CrashesBUFFALO, N.Y. – Law enforcement has been busy this winter; not necessarily just enforcing the law but responding to traffic crashes as well. Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard reported a 35 percent increase in right-angle crashes this winter and many can be blamed on towering snowbanks.

“Drivers can’t see over these snowbanks at some intersections in Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “When a driver is turning right, they don’t have the same line of vision they would have during the summer.”

According to Buffalo’s TWC News, the problem is now being handled by the New York State Department of Transportation and county transportation crews. Even though temperatures are now reaching above freezing for the first time in over a month, authorities say the snowbanks are still too high in many areas.

“Buffalo, Rochester and surrounding areas are just now starting to thaw out,” Barnes said. “Even just a little bit of melting snow would’ve helped this winter and those areas just didn’t get it.”

Buffalo car crash attorneys suggest all drivers be a little more careful around intersections until the snow completely melts. For those stopped at a stop sign or turning right at a red light, authorities suggest stopping short then inch the vehicle forward into traffic to give a better line of sight. Other cars should still be on alert for vehicles hidden behind the snowbank at the next intersection.

Study: The Ides of March Lead to Injuries

/ Construction Accidents /

Ides of March Lead to InjuriesNEW YORK – In the lines of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, a soothsayer warns the emperor “Beware the Ides of March.” Of course, Caesar ignores that message and today, the Ides of March still hold an ominous meaning to millions of Americans and researchers are once again sending the same warning after the second Sunday in March.

Every year, that is the time most Americans push the clock forward an hour. It sounds harmless but a 2009 research paper from Michigan State University states Daylight Saving Time has a striking correlation with workplace injuries.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety, the researchers found workplace and construction accidents spiked nearly 6 percent and workplace injuries resulted in significantly higher rates of lost work days.

“That one hour can really make a huge difference. Tests show again and again that a worker’s attention to detail drops off if the body doesn’t get enough rest and with so much construction in the city, workers should be urged to get some sleep in New York,” construction accident lawyer Ross Cellino said.

Researchers at Michigan State pointed out that it wasn’t uncommon for workers to complain how tired they were in the week following the lost hour of sleep however workers would rarely blame an accident on sleep loss.

“Employers set the guidelines and standards so these injuries don’t happen,” Cellino said. “Unfortunately, we’ve had cases where employers don’t follow their own guidelines in order to meet a quota or there isn’t enough supervision to enforce the guidelines a company has in place.”

Biology shows the body can undergo drastic changes after a loss of time, even as little as one hour. Take jet lag for example: many travelers complain of fatigue after returning from a west coast flight. In essence, the same thing happens to millions of Americans every March.

New York construction accident attorneys suggest safety first in the days following a time switch. Heed the warning signs. After all, Caesar didn’t (and we know what happened to him). Et tu, Brute?


Drowsy Driving is Deadly Driving

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

Drowsy Driving is Deadly DrivingNEW YORK – The numbers don’t lie. That is, until they do lie. Although official statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggest that drowsy drivers only account for 1-3 percent of all motor vehicle accidents, researchers at AAA came up with different results.

A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study suggests drowsy driving is much more prevalent than the government leads on. AAA researchers found about 17 percent of fatal crashes involved a drowsy driver and the problem is getting worse.

“I don’t think most drivers realize the effect sleep and rest has on the human body. Too many people are getting behind the wheel without getting enough rest in places like New York,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said.

The newest numbers could mean as many as 328,000 crashes are caused by sleepy operators resulting in more than 6,000 deaths. These numbers are up about 5 percent from the foundation’s previous study in 2010.

“The problem is, we can’t accurately tell why these drivers are getting in their cars,” Barnes said.

Study administrations wrote, ‘too many people are inclined to apply their knowledge of drowsy-driving risks to others, but not themselves.’

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety hopes to improve outreach efforts and offer driving strategies for managing drowsy driving and hopefully, change drivers’ behaviors.

The All-to-Real Consequences of Stepping on the Gas

/ Car Accident, Personal Injury /

Stepping on the GasBUFFALO, N.Y. – Most drivers will, at some point in their lives, get a speeding citation. It’s estimated that 25 percent of Americans were handed a ticket last year alone racking up more than $6 billion in fines. Yes, it’s frustrating to look in the mirror and see those red and blue lights flashing but statistics also show speeding is a deadly crime.

In Buffalo and its surrounding suburbs, more than 1,200 crashes can be attributed to speeding drivers each year. Seven counties in New York have larger populations but Buffalo’s Erie County has one of the highest rates of speed-related crashes in New York State, accounting for more than 10 percent of the state’s total.

“I think this shows how dangerous speeding can be, especially in places with open roads like Buffalo,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Some drivers have a propensity to drive as fast as possible but the speed limits are in place for a reason: to keep everyone safe.”

Half of all speeding crashes involve more than one vehicle and car accident lawyers say those accidents can be the most dangerous due to the laws of physics.

“When you have a two-ton vehicle is traveling 60 miles per hour, it could crash with a lot more force than if it were going the 40 miles per hour speed limit,” Barnes said. “We see some of the worst injuries stem from speeding accidents.”

Statistics from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles show a slight decrease in speed-related crashes but of those same crashes, more result in fatal injuries each year.

Melting Point Makes for Icy and Dangerous Commute

/ Car Accident, Winter Hazards /

Icy and Dangerous CommuteROCHESTER, N.Y. – Whether you’re driving to work or walking to your neighborhood store, the sudden rise in temperatures is creating an extremely dangerous environment for anyone outside their homes.

Rochester NBC affiliate, WHEC reports chunks of ice fell from the Powers Building and others downtown and Rochester Police responded to several accidents Wednesday morning due to slick road conditions.

“You might look down because you’re worried about slipping on the ice but when you look up, you may wonder when an icicle is going to fall. This time of year is dangerous for anyone outside on the roads and sidewalks in northern cities like Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said.

Just 32 miles outside Rochester, Route 63 was shut down due tractor-trailer crashes in the Genesee County town of Bethany.

The National Weather Service reported a wintry mix of drizzling rain and snow flurries in Western New York at the time of these accidents, making roads extremely icy.

“We get many calls this time of year because of the melting snow and refreezing ice,” Cellino said. “Studies have shown the best thing to do is stay inside.”

Forecasters expect the temperatures to drop into the teens and low twenties heading into the weekend but by Monday, temperatures could hit 40 degrees. With over 90 inches of snow for the season, Rochester has a long melt down ahead.


The Shoes on the Street More Dangerous than Wheels

/ Car Accident, Pedestrian Accident /

Shoes on the Street More Dangerous than WheelsNEW YORK – In a city of more than 8.4 million people, the statistics may be surprising: the Big Apple doesn’t have a lot of car accidents per capita. The obvious answer to this anomaly is due to the high percentage of people who walk or use transportation and in those categories, injuries are way up.

According to data from the New York Police Department, about 64 percent of all fatal car crashes in Manhattan involved a pedestrian. In comparison, the state’s second largest metropolitan area, Buffalo, only 20 percent of its car crash fatalities were people outside a vehicle.

“It’s more dangerous walking around now than ever before because there are so many more distractions to take a driver’s attention off the road and these kinds of accidents are starting to be widely publicized in Manhattan,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said.

Recently, the New York Post reported on a woman who was ‘sandwiched’ between two cabs, severely injuring her legs. The NYPD will conduct an official investigation but witnesses told reporters one of the cab drivers was distracted.

It’s not the first time this kind of accident happened on Manhattan streets. Every year, nearly 3,000 people are hit by a car in New York City.

“These victims are often defenseless,” Barnes said. “There’s no airbag, no seatbelt and no bumper to absorb the impact; these are very, very serious injuries.”

There is some good news: last year, 132 pedestrians died in traffic accidents, according to the New York Times. The number is a historic low for New York City following the introduction of the Vision Zero plan. The approach views all car accidents as preventable injuries and the plan’s goal is to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024.

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