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Attention Spans Now Shorter Than… Ooh a Goldfish!

/ Construction Accidents /

Attention Spans Now ShorterBUFFALO, N.Y. – Take a good look at that picture. Go ahead, click on it. Examine the goldfish for as long as you can. Look at the detail of its scales and the elegant contours of its fins. If you look long enough, its dark glassy eye may appear to widen and you may even notice a smile, or at least a smirk, emerge from its stony frown.

If researchers are correct, odds are you didn’t do any of that. They’d say you probably couldn’t read through the first paragraph, since it would take an average of 15 seconds to read. Your attention may have been diverted to another website or thumbing through your phone to read a new text message. The goldfish stayed with us.

If researchers are correct, your attention span is shorter than that of a simple Cyprinidae. You could run that word through Wikipedia but you’d only be proving their point: you can’t pay attention to just one task anymore. The goldfish stayed with us.

If researchers are correct, our attention span lasted an average of 12 seconds in 2000. Today, we can focus on a task for only eight seconds. The goldfish stayed with us.

If researchers are correct, our ability to focus during repetitive activities is sharply declining and more people are displaying “addiction-like behaviors” when it comes to mobile devices. Most of you will reach for your phone when you’re bored. The goldfish stayed with us.

If researchers are correct, most of us need to check our phones every 30 minutes or less and nearly all of us multi-task; using our mobile devices while watching other electronics like TV or using the computer. The goldfish is gone; off to eye its reflection or another morsel of food that still hasn’t made it to the bottom of the fish bowl.

If you made it this far, you could be one of the special few. With a laser-sharp focus and a strong determination unwavered by distractions. Kudos! You have a longer attention span than a goldfish.

Recently, Microsoft Corp. surveyed 2,000 Canadians and made these concerning findings in an effort to help marketing departments reach their multitasking audience. Buffalo construction accident lawyers say these distractions can influence safety in the workplace as well.

“Whether you’re in a car or on the job, cell phones can become a major safety hazard because it takes a person’s attention off the task at hand; we’ve seen several instances like this in Buffalo,” construction accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “When a person is distracted, they may not react fast enough to avoid a workplace accident.”

Several universities across the country are currently trying to combat distracted walking. Pedestrians with their eyes glued to their mobile devices have been, on many occasions, seriously injured or humiliated because they weren’t paying attention.

“If a worker is operating any type of heavy machinery, including a car, mobile devices can be very dangerous,” Cellino said. “However, we’re just starting to uncover how dangerous multitasking is; workplace falls, walking into walls or hitting your head on a low ceiling can all be caused by distractions.”

Critics of the digital world now have another reason to justify their fears of a technology-driven society. After all, who’s proud of our shockingly low attention spans? On the other hand, researchers believe this could be just another natural step for… oh look, the goldfish is back.

Are Ladies Making Roads Safer?

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety, Personal Injury /

Ladies Making Roads Safer?ROCHESTER, N.Y. – There are now more women driving on American roads and highways than men. According to a new study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the percentage of female drivers has gradually risen since the 1960’s. Today, 50.5 percent of all drivers are women.

Researchers say the growing number of female drivers will shape road safety and the auto market for years to come. Rochester car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Cellino & Barnes said women are statistically safer drivers than men and polls show women value safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

“Safety now plays a major role when buying a car in Rochester,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Safety-related technologies like backup cameras, blind-spot detection and security sensors used to only exist in luxury vehicles but they’re now becoming industry standard features.”

Autotrader, an online marketplace for vehicles, reported women are putting those safety features on their “must-have” lists when shopping for a new vehicle. Auto dealers also report that women tend to buy a car out of necessity and therefore tend to focus on the most fuel-efficient, cost-efficient and safest vehicles on the market.

The study suggests there will be a shift in the way vehicles are marketed. At a time, automakers touted the horsepower, acceleration and cornering of their vehicles. However, vehicle performance is much less important to women than men, study researchers suggest.

“When you look at the statistics, it’s clear that women tend to take the safer road,” Barnes said. “Women can sometimes pay a lower insurance premium because insurers consider them a lower risk and nearly twice as many men admit to speeding.”

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) polled both genders about their driving habits and discovered some alarming disparities between male and female drivers.

          -Men were twice as likely to believe that it’s okay for them to drink and drive as long as they feel capable.

          -13% of men admitted to ignoring speed limits versus just 6% of women

          -Men were found to be twice as likely to have fallen asleep at the wheel

          -Women were less likely to use a cell phone without a hands-free device

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that men, in every age group, were more likely than women to be speeding at the time of an accident.

Although there are more women behind the wheel today than men, the guys still account for 71 percent of all traffic fatalities.

“Safety is increasingly becoming more important to families,” Barnes said. “Recently, states have introduced texting while driving laws, increased their penalties for drunk driving, and added strict regulations for certain drivers. This shows Americans, both men and women, consider safety a top priority.”

 

Making Chronic Pain a Distant Memory

/ Car Accident, Personal Injury /

Chronic Pain a Distant MemoryROCHESTER, N.Y. – For more than 100 million Americans, treating chronic pain can be frustrating. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain persists for weeks, months and sometimes years after an injury and may require patients to take dangerously addictive drugs to combat the dull aching and discomfort. However, researchers believe they may be on the verge of a treatment that could eliminate chronic pain from our medical encyclopedias.

Dopamine, a chemical commonly found in the brain, is usually associated with movement and memory but it could also be the key to treating chronic pain for millions of people, according to researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas.

The researchers traced pain signals between the spinal cord and the brain in lab mice. They discovered removing groups of dopamine-saturated cells reduced chronic pain. Their hope is that a similar treatment could be just as effective in humans.

“Many people who have been in a car accident or suffered a workplace injury can experience severe chronic pain for the rest of their life,” personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “Chronic pain can sometimes factor into how much of a settlement a person can get after an accident because of the extreme costs associated with treating the pain for years or even the remainder of a lifetime.”

In people who experience this condition, nerve cells relay pain signals to the brain, even when there is no injury present. Why? Doctors and scientists are currently trying to answer that question and while they all have theories, the exact cause of chronic pain is unknown.

Current treatments for chronic pain are often expensive and many doctors hesitate to prescribe medications because some of the drugs can be considered very addictive. Drugs like hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl are common opiate pain relievers used to treat chronic pain but doctors are usually encouraged to try other treatments before prescribing opioids.

“Not only are some of these drugs highly addictive but they can also impair a person’s judgement, which could cause more accidents if these medications are not used as directed,” Cellino said.

Researchers said the study of dopamine-saturated cells should eventually lead to more effective, and cost-saving treatments.

The Institute of Medicine estimates chronic pain contributes to more than $600 billion in medical costs and lost productivity each year.

A Most Dangerous Turn

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

Most Dangerous TurnNEW YORK – Weaving and turning though rush hour traffic can be a challenge in itself. Add a few hundred pedestrians to busy streets in urban areas and it could be a recipe for disaster. A recent study conducted by the New York City Department of Transportation aimed to prove left-hand turns can be some of the most deadly maneuvers on the road; not for drivers but for pedestrians.

In 2013, more than 40 pedestrians were killed after being struck by a left-turning car in New York State.

“Left turns can be difficult for drivers because there are several judgements that need to be made in a very short period of time and there can be more factors on the busy streets of New York,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said.

Cellino, a co-founder of the Law Offices of Cellino & Barnes, said left turn crashes outnumber right turn crashes in the city by a ratio of 3:1.

“When a driver is making a left-hand turn, they’re looking for a gap in traffic,” Cellino said. “They also know the traffic light won’t stay green forever and they can face pressure from other drivers behind them.”

According to studies, this additional pressure can force drivers to accelerate across oncoming lanes and into a crosswalk and sometimes, the driver gives little thought to the pedestrians using that crosswalk. In fact, 5 to 11 percent of drivers don’t look for pedestrians in the crosswalk at all.

New York car accident attorneys say left-turning drivers are plagued with other dangerous factors such as blind spots and traffic signals.

“Some signals have green arrows, allowing traffic to move left without having to search for that gap in traffic,” Cellino said. “At some signals, pedestrians will have a ‘walk light’ at the same time drivers are told to turn left at an intersection.”

Most vehicles have blind spots in the 10 o’clock direction called an “A-pillar.” For a moment, pedestrians crossing the street can be obscured by this particular blind spot while a driver is attempting a left-hand turn.

The maneuver is so dangerous UPS plots delivery routes in right-turning loops. The parcel delivery company encourages drivers to eliminate left turns altogether. The company claims the strategy saved 10 million gallons of gasoline and reduced CO2 emissions by 100,000 metric tons (or 5,300 passenger cars off the road for a year).

Currently, traffic safety officials are testing ways to make pedestrian crossings safer and several New York City streets are due to receive millions of dollars for safety upgrades.

Minor Accident, Major Costs

/ Car Accident /

Minor Accident, Major CostsROCHESTER, N.Y. – Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) records more than 10 million car accidents: ranging from deadly interstate pileups to minor parking lot fender benders. According to a recent NHTSA study, Americans paid over $870 billion each year in damages, medical bills, legal fees and other expenses.

“Even minor crashes can be costly in cities like Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “On top of the repair costs, it can sometimes raise your insurance premiums or aggravate a previous injury.”

Car Repairs

Repairing a vehicle can cost drivers hundreds or thousands of dollars, even with comprehensive insurance coverage. Although another driver may be at fault in your accident, you may still be required to pay a pricey deductible.

Rochester car accident attorneys suggest having an emergency savings fund to cover these expenses if they are not covered by insurance.

Higher Premiums

On average, drivers will pay 40% more for insurance after just one claim. Some insurance providers won’t raise your premiums after a minor accident but others will, even if the accident is not your fault.

If your insurance bill does go up after a minor crash, it might be time to start shopping for a new insurance company. The insurance industry is very competitive and another provider may offer a better deal.

Medical Expenses

If you are hurt in a crash, the Rochester car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say it is extremely important to keep accurate records.

A trip to the emergency room can be intimidating and expensive but with detailed records of hospital visits and follow-ups with your doctor, insurance companies should cover most or all of the costs associated with your crash.

“When a client has every record, it can make the disbursement process much smoother and more efficient,” Cellino said.

If you are injured in accident, it may also be worth your time to call a personal injury attorney. At Cellino & Barnes, the consultation is free and you could receive additional payments depending on your injuries.

 

Drug Driving Incidents Getting High

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

Drug Driving Incidents Getting HighBUFFALO, N.Y. – Impaired driving has long been a problem in the United States since the invention of the horseless carriage. All 50 states have enacted legislation requiring a driver’s blood alcohol level (or BAC) to be under 0.08% but when a driver is under the influence of a substance other than alcohol, law enforcement agencies are forced to use more resources to tackle the problem.

Recently, Buffalo Police reported a crash that injured three people, including the driver of the vehicle. Officers told news reporters the driver and the passengers all passed out in the car as the result of heroin use.

“Drug driving can be even more dangerous than drunk driving and police are reporting these incidents more often around the city of Buffalo,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said.

Cellino, a co-founder of the Law Offices of Cellino and Barnes, said drug driving cases can cause severe injuries not only to the drivers and passengers under the influence of the drug but also to other drivers or pedestrians who can inadvertently get involved in a wreck.

“It is literally an everyday thing with the accident rate going through the roof,” Erie County Sheriff Deputy Simon Biegasiewicz told WKBW-TV.

In Western New York, police agencies are relying on specially-trained drug recognition experts to identify the substance an individual is high on so first responders can properly test and provide treatment for overdoses.

“These experts are often called to the scene of an accident,” Cellino said. “It can get even more complex when drivers are on multiple opiates and in many cases, they don’t have car insurance and that can leave their victims with few places to turn to pay for their medical bills.”

Current statistics show drug driving could be just as common as or even more common than drunk driving. This is due, in part, by an increased number of prescription and over-the-counter medications that often advise against the operation of motor vehicles.

Transportation Spending Bill Would Block Traffic Safety

/ Driver Safety, Truck Accident /

Transportation Spending Bill Would Block Traffic SafetyNEW YORK – The trucking industry is on the rebound and the number of trucks on the road has steadily been increasing since 2010. Although the trend is still far from the industry’s peak in the 1990’s, there’s reason for optimism in the nation’s capital.

A multi-million dollar lobbying push may open U.S. roadways to bigger tractor trailers and, according to some industry watchdogs, more dangerous traveling conditions.

Currently, federal commercial vehicle standards mandate trucks to weigh-in at less than 80,000 pounds and less than 29 feet in length. However, a $55.3 billion transportation spending bill would increase the length restrictions to 33 feet.

“Generally, the larger the vehicle, the longer it takes to stop,” truck accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Adding more weight to a tractor trailer could make highway travel more dangerous without the proper driver training.”

In 2012, large trucks were involved in thousands of crashes, killing 3,921 people and the number of deaths has steadily increased each year since hitting an all-time low in 2009.

In addition to larger trucks, the bill would extend the suspension of the 2013 restart changes to the hours of service rule until the DOT can demonstrate the changes lead to “significant improvement in all outcomes related to safety, operator fatigue, driver health and longevity, and work schedules.”

Currently, drivers can stay behind the wheel of a large truck for up to 82 hours in eight days.

“Driving logs can be some of the first things our lawyers look at when evaluating a truck accident,” Cellino said. “If a truck driver exceeds the maximum amount of time on the road for the week, it’s not only illegal: it can also drastically increase the chances of a serious accident.”

The House Appropriations subcommittee in charge of setting the 2016 DOT budget recommended the plan to a full committee; which can make changes and/or recommend the bill for a later vote on the House floor.

 

How Much Money Did Sober Drivers Save You?

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

How Much Money Did Sober Drivers Save You?ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The message is clear: drunk-driving is not only dangerous, it’s often deadly. Each week, law enforcement agencies across the country attribute hundreds of deaths to drunk driving. However, the number of deadly crashes caused by intoxicated drivers has dramatically decreased since the mid-1980’s.

In an analysis published in Injury Prevention, researchers estimated the number of alcohol-fueled car crashes was cut by about 50 percent between 1984 and 2010. Researchers calculated the economic costs associated with these kinds of crashes using a complex formula that took several factors in account.

For example, car crashes can cause significant financial losses for people and companies but the research authors said it can also benefit certain businesses:

“In general, a reduction in traffic injuries benefits employers by reducing their costs, but the extra medical cost from injuries provides extra sales to the health care sector, which in turn, means more sales for industries that provide supplies and services to the health care sector.”

After crunching the numbers, the analysis revealed the reduction of deadly, drunken crashes saved the U.S. economy $20 billion and increased national income by $6.5 billion. Fewer crashes also created 215,000 new jobs and raised the gross domestic product in the U.S. by an estimated $10 billion.

“Serious crashes can take hard-working and intelligent members of society away from their families and careers. That lost time could have drastic financial impacts for cities like Rochester,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “When a serious crash can be avoided, that person saves their job and their wages; and the government can continue collecting taxes, which adds to the overall economic impact.”

Although the number of alcohol-related crashes have been drastically cut, nationwide legislation continues to aim toward a goal of having zero crashes.

The authors of the analysis concluded, “the next major step forward in the USA, now implemented in more than 10 states, is thought to be mandatory installation of ignition interlocks in cars driven by people with impaired driving convictions.”

Client Thanks

I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.

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