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Drunk Drivers Banned For Life

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

Drunk Drivers Banned For LifeROCHESTER, N.Y. – Nearly 4,000 New Yorkers are banned from driving because of alcohol violations, according to data from the Department of Motor Vehicles. These permanent revocations were put in action three years ago when New York State adopted some of the harshest laws battling drunk drivers.

Among the changes, drivers with three or more DWI convictions can have their license suspended and the worst offenders (those with five or more alcohol-related convictions) could get a lifetime ban on New York roadways.

Rochester car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes said the harsher laws are already making streets safer by taking thousands of irresponsible drivers off the streets.

“If a person has been convicted of driving while intoxicated five or more times, that’s a person who can be a danger to everyone in Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Hopefully taking these drivers off the roads will bring down the number of alcohol-related crashes.”

The number of deadly alcohol-related crashes had steadily decreased since the 1980’s but this number has relatively plateaued since the early 2000’s when New York State recorded a yearly average of about 450 alcohol-related deaths.

“Hundreds of people are still killed by drunk drivers every year,” Cellino said. “These are all accidents that can be prevented by taking drunk drivers out of their cars and today, authorities can keep you off the road forever.”

In 2013 however, the number of deadly crashes reported to the DMV was higher than any other year after 2006. A total of 387 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes that year and another 6,019 people were injured.

In addition to the near 4,000 lifetime bans on drivers with DWI convictions, another 3,500 drivers will be denied license renewals for the next five years. These offenders had three or four alcohol convictions in the past 25 years and when they finally do get their license back, they may be required to install an ignition interlock, a device which tests a driver’s blood-alcohol level before the vehicle can be turned on.

“New York State is taking drastic measures to keep drivers safe,” Cellino said. “The fatality rate in cities like Rochester is consistently lower than rates in other states and the harsh penalties and laws could be playing a major role.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers New York’s STOP-DWI program as model for the rest of the nation and the 2014 crash statistics are expected to show a decline when they are released later this year.


Cracking Down on Speeding in Parks

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

Cracking Down on Speeding in ParksBUFFALO, N.Y. – A tragic crash in the city’s Delaware Park recently killed a young boy and injured others. Following this incident, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered an immediate reduction of speed on State Route 198, also known as the Scajaquada Expressway.

Now, some Buffalo residents are questioning if this measure is enough to make public parks like Delaware Park safer for everyone, especially the pedestrians and bicyclists using these areas.

Buffalo car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say in many cases, speed is often a factor contributing to a crash in these areas.

“Walkways and bike paths often run parallel to these roads and that can expose parkgoers to a variety of dangers in Buffalo,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “This was the case in the Scajaquada accident.”

Investigators believe the driver of the vehicle had fallen asleep at the wheel but Buffalo car accident attorneys believe this accident and many others in Western New York parks can be prevented with proper safety precautions and education.

“Speed is consistently a factor in crashes; not just in parks but construction sites as well,” Cellino said. “Statistics have shown that when drivers abide by speed limits, especially in areas with a high number of pedestrians, fewer accidents happen.”

In 2013, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles recorded nearly 30,000 speed-related crashes, resulting in over 350 deaths and nearly 19,000 injuries.

Of the 250 drivers that were killed, 237 of them (or 95%) were speeding drivers.

“Hundreds of pedestrians are struck by speeding drivers every year in New York State and dozens of others are killed,” Cellino said. “If speed limits are enforced and adhered to, many of these lives could be saved.”

City and state officials are currently going over proposals to change the Scajaquada Expressway into a parkway and permanently change the speed limit to 30 miles per hour, down from 50 miles per hour before the deadly accident.

What New York City Agency has the Most Crashes?

/ Car Accident, Personal Injury /

What New York City Agency has the Most Crashes?NEW YORK – City administrators have been trying for some time to make streets safer for everyone using them. Last year, the New York Police Department investigated about 50,000 motor vehicle crashes involving over 130,000 vehicles resulting in nearly 70,000 injuries. The numbers are staggering.

A new report found that roughly 5 percent of all the cars and trucks involved in New York City accidents are actually operated by city agencies and departments. That’s just the “on-the-books” percentage. The number of agency-involved crashes is actually much higher since NYPD is withholding crash details from the city’s database.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer reported NYPD consistently tallies more pedestrian-related personal injury claims than any other city agency. So, if NYPD were included in city data, 10 percent (or more) of the city’s crashes could involve a public vehicle.

New York car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say these statistics can serve as a warning to anyone driving on city streets.

“It’s really a numbers game for drivers in New York,” car accident attorney Erica Tannenbaum said. “What we’re seeing here is the departments that are on the streets are also involved in more accidents.”

According to city data, the Department of Sanitation recorded nearly 2,500 crashes in 2014. The sanitation department not only operates typical cars and trucks; they also own a variety of heavy vehicles such as snowplows and garbage trucks.

“After a large snowfall, it’s not unheard of for a snowplow to sideswipe a buried car,” Tannenbaum said. “These vehicles are also working non-stop shifts in some of the worst weather and on some of the ugliest road conditions.”

In fact, most of the recorded crashes were sideswipe accidents but these rarely resulted in any injuries.

Surprisingly, city records show most of the injuries incurred as a result of a crash that happened on dry, clear days. The city also noted nearly half of all the crashes were preventable by the city driver.

However, that’s not all: 10 percent could still be an understatement. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, for example, is not considered a city department but it is heavily funded by taxpayer dollars.

“Bus accidents happen every day and, as we’ve seen recently, train accidents can be a concern as well and all these accidents can add up,” Tannenbaum said.

The new information is a first-of-its-kind report and the city’s Fleet Management plans to advance the reporting in the future to ensure the city continues its downward trend of vehicle accidents.


The Deadliest Driving Behaviors

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The number of deadly car crashes in American has been steadily declining since it peaked in the mid-1970’s. Still, dozens of deadly accidents happen on the roads each day. It’s estimated that over 30,000 people are killed each year.

Recently, the Auto Insurance Center wanted to analyze why so many lives are lost to car crashes. Researchers delved into driving behaviors and studied the specific causes leading to deadly accidents.

Fatal Crash Causes – Overview Via: Auto Insurance Center

The study found the dominant factor was failing to stay in a proper lane. Researchers said even the slightest contact across lanes could cause a deadly crash when two vehicles are traveling at high speeds.

Buffalo car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Cellino & Barnes said speed can often result in crashes with higher impacts, putting every driver and passenger at risk.

“It’s very rare to have a person treated for serious injuries when they’re involved in a low-speed crash in Buffalo,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “As speed increases, crashes can be exponentially more dangerous because there’s much more force during an impact.”

Researchers also ranked the states from most dangerous to least dangerous for each factor leading to a deadly accident:

Fatal Crash Causes – By State Via: Auto Insurance Center

Once again, speeding was consistently a factor in states with higher speed limits while New York, Michigan, Connecticut, and other northeastern states recorded some of the fewest speed-related crashes per capita.

Once again, speeding was consistently a factor in states with higher speed limits while New York, Michigan, Connecticut, and other northeastern states recorded some of the fewest speed-related crashes per capita. Montana was statistically the deadliest state for speed-related crashes. In fact, only four states have higher speed limits than Big Sky Country’s 75 miles-per-hour but not for long: Montana’s governor recently approved a bill that will make the speed limit on rural interstate highways 80 miles-per-hour despite the state being one of the deadliest in the nation.

New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey maintain some of the lowest maximum speed limits in the nation. In Washington D.C., the maximum speed is capped at 55 miles-per-hour, lower than any state.

Fatal Crash Causes – Crosswinds vs Sleet Via: Auto Insurance Center

The latest study also analyzed what type of weather was most dangerous in each state. Crosswinds were prevalent in the southwest while sleet proved more dangerous east of the Rocky Mountains.

Fog was consistently a dangerous weather factor in the south and along the Pacific Coast while snow contributed to more crashes in the northeast, the Great Plains, and in states with higher elevations.

When comparing rain and snow, researchers found rain caused more deadly crashes in 39 of the 50 states.

“There are so many variables to consider when you’re behind the wheel,” Cellino said. “In New York State, we often think of snow as a dangerous condition but statistics show rain can make driving conditions just as dangerous.”

Fatal Crash Causes – Snow vs Rain Via: Auto Insurance Center

Buffalo car accident attorneys say the factors that contribute to deadly car crashes are very common, such as rain. Although not every crash is deadly, Cellino & Barnes car accident lawyers said it’s important to remember every crash can potentially be fatal.

The Deadliest Driving Areas

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Americans strive to make their lives easier and safer every day. At least, that’s what we hope for when we turn the ignition and head out on the roads. Unfortunately, crashes remain one of the leading causes of premature death in the country and several studies aim to find out why.

The Auto Insurance Center began analyzing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find out which counties were the deadliest and which counties were the safest for drivers in America.

America’s Deadliest Driving (Counties & States) Via: Auto Insurance Center

Researchers concluded the East Coast “seems to be a haven of safety,” noting the safest counties in the country usually have lower speed limits.

Buffalo car accident attorneys say speed is often a factor in crashes and statistics consistently show a direct correlation between speed and safety.

“Northeast states typically maintain speed limits of no higher than 65 miles-per-hour, which is the case on the I-90 outside Buffalo,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “States is the south and west enforce speed limits as high as 80 miles-per-hour and those states tend to have more accidents per capita.”

Researchers concluded that rural areas were the greatest concern for drivers despite intimidating driving scenarios in city traffic. Researchers said when high speeds are combined with varied terrain and limited local resources, it makes conditions ripe for dangerous and even deadly car crashes.

What Dogs Bite? Study Sheds New Answers

/ Dog Bites /

What Dogs Bite? BUFFALO, N.Y. – Doctors, pediatricians and veterinarians across the country are aiming to curb the number of children hospitalized as a result of dog bites and they’re using numbers to promote their cause.

A new study conducted by Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. found more than 50 percent of dog bite injuries treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital came from dogs belonging to an immediate family member.

“The biggest warning from this study is that familiarity with a dog may confer a false sense of safety,” said Ramin Jamshidi in a statement. Jamshidi (MD) is a senior author on the study and a pediatric surgeon at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Medical Director of Pediatric Trauma at Maricopa Medical Center.

The study analyzed over 650 dog bite incidents; 282 of which required evaluation by a trauma or ambulance team. The most common dog to attack children were pit bulls; causing lacerations (often to the face), fractures and severe neck and genital trauma.

Researchers found both girls and boys were equally affected and the most common age for a dog bite victim was 5 years-old but children as young as two months and as old as 17 years were also hospitalized within a six year time frame.

Buffalo dog bite attorneys said these findings can serve as a warning to all parents that children are not necessarily safe around any dog.

“It is very important to supervise children around any animal in Buffalo,” dog bite attorney Steve Barnes said. “Just because an adult is familiar with a pet doesn’t mean it won’t attack a child; in fact, this study shows familiar dogs attack just as often.”

When there is a family dog in the home, the Injury Prevention Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital recommends families follow some of the below tips:

  • Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog, including the family dog
  • Make sure all dogs in the home are neutered or spayed
  • Take time to train and socialize your dogs
  • Keep dogs mentally stimulated by walking and exercising them
  • Teach children appropriate ways to interact with animals

Doctors and pediatricians hope the study will help develop national dog bite prevention and education campaigns with the goal of decreasing the incidence of pediatric dog bites.


Construction Culture Needs To Build-Up Safety

/ Construction Accidents /

Construction Culture Needs To Build-Up SafetyNEW YORK – Construction workers in the 1930’s were having Lunch atop a Skyscraper (see right); without hardhats, without harnesses, without hardly any of the safety standards abided by today. It’s safe to say modern construction has come a long way.

The iconic picture tells the story of America’s construction prowess and the potential perils of progress in the early 1900’s. What the picture fails to show is the many accidents that happened on construction sites, many of which are deadly.

“Construction is certainly safer today around the country and specifically, in New York,” construction accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Unfortunately, there’s a worksite culture that leaves safety in the background when it still needs to be the top priority.”

Thousands of construction accidents still occur every year. A report released by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health found up to 71 percent of construction accidents are height-related and half of all construction accidents are falls.

“There’s technology currently in place to prevent all accidents on a worksite; every one of them,” Barnes said. “However, these safety techniques can be costly and developers often avoid using them.”

The Port Authority on New York and New Jersey noted the construction on One World Trade Center used a safety system that cost $9 million.

Almost 400 miles away in Buffalo, construction employment is at an all-time high and safety advocates fear it could be a recipe for disaster if the proper safety procedures are ignored.

Germain Harnden, executive director for the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health wrote to the Buffalo News:

“The April jobs report should permanently put to rest the old canard that we cannot have both strong jobs growth in the construction industry and strong safety laws to protect workers.

Construction employment is up 11 percent over the last year and is now at an all-time high for the Buffalo Niagara area. According to big business lobbyists, though, that kind of hiring should not be possible, thanks to the Scaffold Law.

That law holds contractors and owners responsible when they break lifesaving safety rules, but for years, lobbyists have wanted to gut the law so as to shift the blame for construction accidents from those who actually control work sites to the men and women who follow orders and do the work.

Last week’s news makes clear we do not have to sacrifice safety for jobs. That is no surprise. The Scaffold Law has been on the books for more than 100 years, through booms and busts. Nearly every building you see across New York State was built, successfully, under its guidelines.

Putting workers’ lives at risk should never be on the table. As the April jobs report makes clear, it never has to be.”

New York construction accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say all construction accidents are avoidable with the proper oversight and safety features.

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