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Study: Hockey Helmets Do Little to Protect Against Concussion

/ Brain Injury, Personal Injury /

Hockey Helmets Do Little to Protect Against ConcussionBUFFALO, N.Y. – It’s been 18 years since a pro-hockey player skated on the ice without a helmet during a game. The National Hockey League began mandating that all players wear protective head gear in 1979. Even then, the league knew helmets could protect players from severe brain injuries but a new study suggests hockey helmets are in fact, unsafe.

Engineers at Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering recently examined football helmets and the impacts that cause traumatic brain injuries. Their findings helped change the sport, making it safer for athletes. The school has now developed new research for the sport of hockey and its initial findings were mind-jarring.

Virginia Tech released its five-star ratings for hockey helmets, judging their abilities to prevent concussions. Of the 32 brand-name helmets engineers tested, zero had a perfect score. In fact, none of the helmets could even get four stars. The highest rated helmet had just three stars. The 31 other head accessories tested earned just adequate or marginal scores.

“What we’re seeing here is a severe lack of attention to the biggest problem in sports today: concussions,” personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “Many of these helmets are costing consumers $100 to almost $300 and they’re doing very little to protect skaters from brain injuries.”

According to Virginia Tech engineers, cost had no impact on a helmet’s safety rating.

Researchers tested each of the helmets a total of 48 times, pummeling the headwear with battering rams a total of 2,000 times both in a laboratory and on an ice rink. The vast majority of the helmets tested scored zero or one star.

“We’re learning more about concussions and other brain injuries every day,” Cellino said. “We’ve seen how these injuries suffered in a car accident or in sports can change someone’s life forever so it’s important that these findings be used to develop better protective equipment and safer strategies to limit an athlete’s exposure to these hits.”

Researchers plan to analyze helmets for baseball, softball, lacrosse. and youth football in the next decade.

Expecting Wintry Roads on Spring Weekend

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety, Winter Hazards /

Expecting Wintry RoadsROCHESTER, N.Y. – After a week of warmer temperatures the region hadn’t seen in over a month, road crews are reaching for the snowplow keys once again.

This time, wintry weather is sweeping across the northeast bringing rain, snow and sleet, making roads extremely slippery heading into the weekend.

“Drivers might think they’d be used to it by now but this time of year poses different driving challenges in wintry weather around Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “That snow that melted can flash freeze into ice and the rain can wash away the chemicals crews used to pretreat the roads.”

The back and forth mixture of rain and snow make for some of the most dangerous road conditions. In the Great Lakes region, fog can further limit visibility for drivers and increase the likelihood of an accident.

“There’s a recorded spike in the number of accidents when the weather is anything but sunny,” Cellino said. “We’ve had several clients suffer head, neck and back injuries after a crash that happened in wintry springtime weather.”

Car accident lawyers advise all drivers and passengers inside vehicles to wear a seat belt this weekend. If a car or bus driver loses control, a seat belt improves the chance of avoiding serious injury. Drivers are also advised to be aware of other drivers, especially those behind them.

“Nearly one in every four accidents are caused by tailgaters,” Cellino said. “In this kind of weather, avoid those who are following you too closely.”

Drivers are advised to always travel in their designated highway lanes and to safely move over for faster traffic.

Why Safety Belts Should be Used In Back Seats

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

Why Safety Belts Should be Used In Back SeatsNEW YORK – The message has been kicked, punched and shoved into our brains for decades and the seat belt campaigns have paid off. In 1983, only 10 percent of drivers and front-seat passengers wore safety belts. Today, Nearly 90 percent of those riding in the front of a vehicle are strapped in.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates seat belts have saved over 300,000 lives but there are still many drivers and passengers who fail to use the safety feature.

“More than half of those killed in crashes last year weren’t wearing seat belts. It doesn’t matter if they were in the front seat or the back, many of these lives could’ve been saved by wearing a seat belt in New York,” personal injury lawyer Steve Barnes said.

A total of 20 states and the District of Columbia require seat belts to be used in all seating positions.

New York State only requires drivers and front-seat passengers to wear a safety belt. The state has few regulations for passengers riding in the back seat of a vehicle.

Despite this, more passengers are wearing belts today than 10 or 20 years ago but car accident lawyers believe there would be fewer car accident injuries if safety belts are utilized in every seat of a vehicle.

“Some of these passengers get ejected during a crash and more than75 percent of the time, they get killed in that scenario,” Barnes said. “Sometimes, not wearing a seat belt can affect a personal injury case too.”

New York Lawyers said typically, whether a client was wearing a seat belt or not doesn’t come into evidence in a personal injury case but on rare occasions, courts can determine that not wearing a seat belt played a major role in the seriousness of an injury.

New Study Reveals Areas Where Vehicles Hit Children Most

/ Bus Accidents /

Where Vehicles Hit Children MostROCHESTER, N.Y. – An alarming number of children are getting hit by cars in America and what’s even more disturbing is where these accidents are happening. According to new research presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), almost every child struck by a vehicle was near a school or a bus stop.

Statistics show over 500 children are killed each year after getting struck by cars, trucks or buses and another 22,000 kids are treated in emergency rooms following this type of accident. Researchers said most of these accidents occur while children are unsupervised.

“School zones are really not as safe as most parents would think in many U.S. cities like Rochester,” bus accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “This study shows our schools really can and should be a lot safer than they are right now.”

According to the new research, children are most vulnerable around school zones during afternoons and evenings in spring months; specifically March, April, May, and June.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show some of these children are struck by school buses but there’s little data to support concrete explanations as to why these accidents are happening.

Doctors with the AAOS hope their new findings this month can help guide future prevention strategies.

“Most areas already have school zone speed restrictions and some have crossing guards,” Barnes said. “Is that enough?”

Spring into Road Repairs

/ Driver Safety /

Spring into Road RepairsBUFFALO, N.Y. – Although it may not feel like it, spring has arrived in Western New York. The season also kicks off several major New York State highway projects and various road repairs.

The New York Thruway Authority will spend $75.5 million on four Western New York projects including work to the southbound North Grand Island Bridge on Interstate 190.

“With all these projects getting underway, you can expect to see more workers on the roads for the next few months in Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Drivers need to be extra cautious in these construction areas and slow down.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation records over 87,000 work zone crashes each year resulting in more than 37,000 injuries. Most accidents were recorded between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., causing many states, including New York, to implement a Driver’s First Initiative. The program strives to complete most road repairs overnight.

“Stats show a roadside worker is still injured every 14 minutes,” Cellino said. “These work zones could be much safer if drivers just slowed down and paid attention.”

In 2010, there were 514 fatal crashes in U.S. work zones. These 514 crashes resulted in 576 deaths. Authorities reported speed or alcohol was a factor in half of these accidents.

Buffalo car accident lawyers note that nearly all of these accidents are preventable if drivers adjust their speed and pay attention in a work zone. Work Zones must also follow state and municipal workplace laws to ensure the safety of all roadside employees.

March Madness: Busted Brackets and Busted Drivers

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

Busted Brackets and Busted DriversBUFFALO, N.Y. – Millions of college hoops fans are scratching off the losses and circling the wins on their brackets this time of year. It’s estimated that over $2 billion will be waged on the 64 team tournament. Millions of dollars will also be spent battling drunk driving.

Police agencies across the country are planning to have extra patrols or DWI/DUI checkpoints throughout the tournament, which lasts until April 6th.

“Whenever there’s a big sporting event like the college basketball tournament, statistics show there tend to be more drunk drivers on the road in cities like Buffalo,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “It’s incredibly important for drivers to raise their awareness this week.”

Drunk driving patrols are most often widespread across a county or police jurisdiction but police also put extra focus around college and university campuses. For schools that have teams in the race for the national championship, statistics have shown that the number of drinkers can spike before, during and after that school’s game.

“It’s okay to have a good time but if you’re not careful and responsible, a good night can change instantly because of a drunk driver,” Cellino said. “About one in five accidents are caused by drunk drivers and these crashes increase on Friday and Saturday nights.”

Police say getting a safe ride home is easier than ever before due to the number of taxi services available, including the recent emergence of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. Car accident lawyers say a busted bracket hopefully won’t cost you all that much cash but a DUI arrest can cost a driver thousands of dollars in fees.

Two Seconds of Distraction

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety, Texting While Driving /

Two Seconds of DistractionROCHESTER, N.Y. – We don’t need researchers or studies to tell us that driver distractions are at an all-time high. Drivers today have more gizmos and gadgets inside their cars than ever before and heavy rush-hour traffic doesn’t help a waning attention span either.

What you may not know is that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds can raise the risk of an accident up to 24 times. According to new research, simple tasks like eating a cheeseburger, sipping a drink, smoking, or adjusting the radio can cause severe and sometimes deadly crashes.

“Texting and driving is one of the worst distractions for drivers on the road today. It’s been shown to be just as dangerous as being drunk behind the wheel and police records show many drivers are texting while behind the wheel in Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said.

The study of 3,000 teenage drivers found that interactive presentations can be a more effective way to raise awareness than in traditional classroom environments. Researchers suggest teenagers taking driving classes will often listen passively and therefore, do not grasp the seriousness of distracted driving.

“You might think it’s not going to happen to you,” Cellino said. “When an accident happens, it can be too late; education and awareness are some ways we can avoid these collisions right now.”

The study, administered by Oregon State University, most notably found that “hands-free” devices are no safer than a hand-held cell phone. Researchers say the real distraction is the person on the phone, who is not in the car and oblivious to the traffic ahead.

Women were also noted to be more likely to use a cell phone while driving, and men are more likely to look away from the road while talking to others in the car.

Researchers concluded that increased driver training is crucial in the quest to curb distracted driving.


“Smart” Signals May Alleviate Traffic, Prevent Crashes

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

Smart” Signals May Alleviate TrafficNEW YORK– The thought crosses the minds of most daily commuters every day: what’s the traffic like? Usually, the answer to that question is “awful.” However, experiments with new computer software coupled with cameras, sensors and timers could alleviate the moderate gridlock and perhaps, prevent car accidents.

The BBC recently reported some areas in the United States are experimenting with new traffic control devices that could save drivers hundreds of hours every year.

“On the surface, gridlock should be a minor frustration,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “In reality, that frustration can sometimes escalate into road rage for some drivers and others simply stop paying attention to the road.”

In theory, smarter traffic signals would keep the lanes flowing, reduce commute times and hopefully reduce the number of accidents during rush hour.

Just across the Hudson River, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission has been implementing the Meadowlands Adaptive Signal System for Traffic Reduction (MASSTR) since 2010 and the commission is now beginning to record its results.

The MASSTR uses traffic signal controllers, detection devices, radio transmitters, and computer servers to program traffic signals to constantly adjust to real-time traffic situations and it’s the largest of its kind to be implemented in America.

According to the commission, the MASSTR is expected to reduce delays in the Meadowlands by 1.2 million hours every year and save drivers more than 1.2 million gallons of gasoline. The system, composed of 74 signals in the region, has the ability to recognize a car accident and reroute traffic to relieve congestion, if necessary.

“Too many times, drivers will drive past a crash and look it instead of keeping their eyes on the road,” Barnes said. “If traffic can be diverted away from an accident, that can not only save time but it could save lives as well.”

Many of these ‘smart traffic systems’ are still being tested for their true effectiveness. In the Meadowlands, engineers say there’s a considerable improvement in traffic since the system’s completion last year. However, other areas researching similar systems question the effectiveness of smart signals versus the cost to implement them.


Study: Car Accidents may Trigger Heart Attacks

/ Car Accident /

Car Accidents may Trigger Heart AttacksNEW YORK – There’s a question singer and songwriter, Michael Bolton asked in 1983: “How am I supposed to live without you?” Clearly, he found a way but a new study suggests a broken heart can indeed have deadly consequences.

A group of researchers set out to identify the factors that can result in the onset of Takotsubo Syndrome, also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy. Doctors say it’s a temporary and sudden weakening of heart muscles, often triggered by emotional stress or constant anxiety.

“A car crash can put someone on an emotional roller-coaster,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “It can take weeks, months or even years for a victim to emotionally recover from an accident.”

Researchers found that most patients experienced emotional or physical stressors before the onset of Takotsubo Syndrome. The stressors, the study notes, could be anything from a bad break-up to being a survivor of a car crash.

“We’re not only concerned for the folks who survive a horrific accident, their families can experience health issues too,” Cellino said. “Severe injuries or the loss of a loved one can be devastating to family members.”

The sudden emotional stress can cause abnormal contractions of heart muscles. Researchers said these contractions usually disappeared one to four weeks after a catalyst but it can sometimes persist, leading to more serious complications and even death.

The onset of Takotsubo Syndrome was found to be particularly dangerous to individuals with psychological disorders, pulmonary diseases and cancer. Researchers concluded the condition needs to be studied further so doctors can better treat this broken-heart syndrome.

2015 St. Patrick’s Day by the Numbers

/ Car Accident /

2015 St. Patrick’s Day by the NumbersNEW YORK – Every year, millions of Americans head into the streets (and their local taverns) to celebrate the feast day of Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick but many of the origins are seldom known.

For example, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. Before sainthood, the man we now know as “Patrick” was born in Roman-occupied Britain and was brought to Ireland as a slave. Patrick would eventually convert much of the country from pagan beliefs to Christianity before his death on March 17, 461.

Today, more than 33 million Irish-Americans and descendants celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by combining corned beef and cabbage with green cocktails and pints of Irish beer.

While it all seems like good fun, the celebration is often ruined by drunk driving incidents.

“Over the last five years, there have been dozens of deadly crashes on St. Patrick’s Day in New York,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Statistics show that most car crashes that happen on St. Patty’s Day involve a driver who is two times over the legal limit.”

According to WalletHub, a drunk driver will cause a deadly crash every 46 minutes on the Irish holiday. 

“Drunk drivers can get slammed with DUI charges or worse: vehicular manslaughter,” Barnes said. “The costs of fighting those charges are astronomical and it’s so much cheaper to call a cab.”

New York car accident attorneys suggest drivers be extra cautious on St. Patrick’s Day. Not only are police aware of the increase in drunk driving; sober drivers should be aware there could be more drunk or reckless drivers on the roads.

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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