GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – Your cars have evolved over the last century but no improvement has saved more lives than the seat belt. With statistics in hand, the Department of Transportation has launched advertised, launched huge public relations campaigns and in most states, introduced legislation to convince Americans to buckle-up.
Even though we all know how important it is to use a seat belt, a whopping 11.5 percent of the nation’s drivers and passengers don’t click-it. That adds up to nearly 25 million people who ignore the DOT’s warnings, and the law.
“Seat belts are some of the most important pieces of equipment in your car and the law says everyone must wear one on Long Island,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Those who don’t wear seat belts not only put their lives at risk – they’re also setting a bad example for others.”
Consumer Reports recently polled readers on their seat belt usage and found that many of those who don’t wear seat belts grew up without having to wear them. These ‘baby boomers’ also watched their parents driving around without a seat belt for the majority of their lives.
Seat belts have been standard safety features in all cars since 1968, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s taken decades to get to where we are today with seat belt usage. Nearly 90 percent of the drivers and passengers on the road buckle-up but safety advocates say it’s still not good enough.
“Seat belt use can be a game changer in personal injury cases,”Cellino said. “If an accident does occur, experts could determine your injuries could’ve been prevented if you had been wearing a seat belt and that can drastically change the outcome of a case.”
The odds are simply not in your favor if you don’t buckle-up.
Statistics show that a driver or passenger is twice as likely to die in a crash if they aren’t wearing a lap/shoulder seat belt.
Still, only 49 states require it.
New Hampshire is the only state in the nation that doesn’t require seat belts to be worn in the front seats, although drivers and passengers under 18 are required to buckle-up.
“It doesn’t make sense, physically or financially to ignore seat belts,” Cellino said.
According to a 2010 study conducted by the NHTSA, car crashes cost the nation a whopping $242 billion. When pain and suffering is included, the bill reaches nearly $1 trillion.
Still need convincing?
Seat belts directly saved over 12,000 lives last year and prevented over 300,000 serious injuries. When seat belts are used, they can save more than $50 billion in medical care and other costs while passengers who aren’t buckled-up cost America over $10 billion.
Although drivers are required by law to use a safety belt, usage varies by state.
The NHTSA found that nearly everyone buckles-up in states like Oregon and Georgia, where 98 percent and 97 percent of drivers use them, respectively. Other states like Montana and Arkansas have lower percentages; around 74 percent of drivers wear belts in those states.
South Dakota remains the worst state for seat belt violators. Only 69 percent of South Dakotans report wearing seat belts.
“The bottom line is, it’s the single-most important safety feature in your car and it only takes three seconds to use it properly,” Cellino said. “The penalties and costs for ignoring those three seconds are immense and it’s simply not worth it.”
The Long Island car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes urge everyone to buckle-up in every car or truck. As proud supporters of the Long Island community, Cellino & Barnes hopes to make the roads a safer place for everyone. For more information on seat belts and other safety initiatives, follow Cellino & Barnes on Twitter.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Riding a motorcycle can be a great experience but it also comes with great risks. In New York State, there are laws that protect riders from devastating injuries and even death. It’s no secret that helmet laws can save your life but most states still don’t require riders to put one on their heads.
In some cities, more than 3,000 riders can be admitted to area hospitals every year. Most of them will be diagnosed with serious head injuries and of those hospitalized riders, 80 percent will not survive.
“Motorcyclists are still some of the most vulnerable people using the roads, even when they’re required by law to wear a helmet in Buffalo,” motorcycle accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “The risks skyrocket when bikers take road trips to surrounding states that don’t have helmet laws.”
Many riders still choose to wear a helmet in other states but some have the option of storing it away. In fact, 31 states have little or no helmet requirements and the statistics show that biking in those states can be much more dangerous.
At King George’s Medical University, doctors treat more than 16,000 motorists each year after crashes involving both cars and motorcycles. Of those patients, nearly 11,000 suffered a serious head injury. The statistics are an important look into road safety as a whole – and the importance of wearing a helmet when riding on two wheels.
A recent study conducted by researchers at KGMU found that only 15 percent of riders will wear a helmet when they aren’t required to but nearly half of all patients with head injuries (around 4,500) were taken to the emergency room after a motorcycle crash.
“Even when riders are wearing a helmet, there’s a high risk of head injuries,” Barnes said. “That’s why we’re urging everyone to slow down and pay attention this summer; because there are lives at stake.”
Motorcyclists who wear helmets have a much greater chance of survival but the Buffalo motorcycle accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes hope their message gets through to all motorists: attentive drivers and riders can prevent a potentially dangerous crash.
As one of Western New York’s most recognizable law firms, Cellino & Barnes is proud to call Buffalo home and it’s our goal to make our roads and neighborhoods a safer place for everyone.
Our Buffalo motorcycle accident attorneys have helped many other motorcyclists obtain the maximum compensation for their injuries. If you’ve been injured on a bike, contact us today for a free consultation.
The IIHS is known for conducting and rating vehicles for their performances in crash tests. Most of these tests strap a dummy in the driver’s seat but recently, the Institute questioned how safe vehicles were for passengers.
Not too safe at all, researchers found.
A Buffalo car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says passengers run a high risk of injury in car crashes and there’s little they can do to prevent one.
“Many of our clients suffer these life-changing injuries simply because they were in the wrong car at the wrong time on the wrong streets in Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Drivers have a huge responsibility because they’re the ones behind the wheel and ultimately, they’re the ones who can prevent or avoid a devastating car crash.”
The Institute sent seven small SUVs on a collision course at 40 miles per hour. Each of the vehicles had ‘good’ ratings when they crashed into a barrier on the driver-side but passenger-side impacts told a different story.
Of the seven vehicles, only one scored a ‘good’ rating: the 2016 Hyundai Tucson. The remaining six SUVs ranged between ‘poor’ to ‘acceptable’ grades.
The findings were so unexpected that the IIHS is considering making passenger-side crash tests standard criteria as part of its TOP SAFETY PICK selection.
“Passenger safety is an important but sometimes overlooked aspect when automakers develop vehicles,” Barnes said. “Thousands of passengers are killed in crashes every year and if there are ways to minimize the severity of their injuries, it’s something that should be looked at.”
The Buffalo car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have helped thousands of passengers recover the maximum compensation available after a crash. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, Barnes says passengers are most often innocent parties and you may be entitled to significant compensation.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s been hammered into your brain: using your phone while driving is a very dangerous (and usually illegal) activity. We’ve been telling drivers this for years – and for good reason; more than 1.5 million car crashes are caused by drivers attempting to multi-task with a phone. Texting while driving is 6x more likely to cause a crash than driving drunk. Despite these statistics, at least one other activity is considered more dangerous.
A Rochester car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says all distractions can have dangerous consequences but most drivers don’t even realize they’re being distracted by their buddy next to them.
“Distracted driving is most often associated with smartphone use but the problem is much larger than some drivers realize and it has a real impact on families in Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Conversations in general – whether it’s on the phone or in-person – can take a driver’s mind off the road and every time that happens, your risk of causing a car crash goes up.”
Conversations with passengers are behind a stunning 57-percent of distracted crashes. Phone use is only associated with 12-percent of crashes. Many more crashes have multiple factors, adding to the potentially disastrous equation.
In fact, interacting with passengers is the most common activity in the car, aside from the actual operation of the vehicle.
“There’s no doubt that using your phone is risky but most drivers understand it’s dangerous,” Cellino said. “What many drivers don’t clearly understand is the risk of simply talking with someone else in your car.”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) discovered that most drivers ‘overcompensate’ when using a phone. According to its research, some drivers will only text while sitting in traffic or at red lights; and phone users drive an average of 5 to 6 miles per hour slower.
“Driving is a head game, and it requires a lot of discipline and focus,” Cellino said. “After all, it’s not just your life at risk – there are so many people that we work with on a daily basis that were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and it’s heartbreaking to know that their situation could be different without a distracted driver behind the wheel.”
Beyond talking to a friend or using a phone, drivers are wrapped-up in distractions. Most of the time, drivers aren’t distracted by anything in particular but they can be considered ‘distracted.’ They’re constantly thinking, day dreaming or just losing focus.
It’s a lot easier to get distracted than most drivers think – and they often blame the wrong things.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, the other driver may have been distracted. The Rochester car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes will investigate a car crash to the fullest extent to help clients obtain the best results possible.
MELVILLE, N.Y. –School is out and the road conditions are clear. It’s the perfect time to learn how to drive but each summer teens are behind dangerous car crashes, and they continue to be the most at-risk age group.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly a thousand teens are killed in car crashes during June, July, and August alone. Statistically speaking, it makes summer the riskiest season for driving.
“Car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among teenagers on Long Island,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Each year, thousands of families lose a loved one in a crash involving a teenage driver and many more suffer life-changing injuries.”
Those under the age of 24 represent just 14-percent of the driver population but they’re responsible for almost a third of all the costs associated with car crash injuries.
“New York is a relatively safe state for drivers of all ages because there’s been a strong focus on driver’s education and strict traffic law enforcement,” Cellino said. “Unfortunately education and laws aren’t enough to prevent every crash and teens continue to be the most at-risk drivers across the Empire State.”
Other states have it worse. Much worse.
South Dakota, for example, has the highest number of teen DUIs in the nation and there are few laws in place that promote Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), a program many states use to educate teens.
The data used to generate the rankings were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the FBI, and several other statistical resources. The authors of the study hope their findings can improve driver safety in every state, especially those that scored low.
If you’ve been injured by a teen driver, Cellino & Barnes has the experience to help you and your family obtain the best result possible. Recognized by Best Lawyers, our Long Island car accident attorneys have helped crash victims recover more than $1.5 billion.
Contact our attorneys today for free consultation.
NEW YORK – There has always been risks associated with going under the knife. There are more than 75 organs in the human body and even the slightest change can cause a vital system to malfunction or it can cause severe pain.
Doctors often can’t predict how a patient’s body will react following surgeries. The body’s natural inflammatory response can be intensified and sometimes lead to complications. Other times, critical errors in the operating rooms can cause life-threatening reactions in patients.
Some of the effects of a botched surgery – the pain, the discomfort – may never go away.
“Medical malpractice is now the third-leading cause of death in Manhattan,” medical malpractice lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Only heart disease and cancer take more lives each year and some health care professionals continue to sweep this problem under the rug.”
Every year, between 200,000 and 400,000 patients suffer some type of preventable harm that leads to death. It is estimated that millions more suffer life-changing but preventable injuries while visiting the doctor or the surgeon.
A Dallas man complaining of back pain was given painkillers for six months following a surgery. The painkillers weren’t helping and doctors discovered bone fragments were left of the nerves. The surgeon who administered the operation was later found to be using drugs and drinking on the job. Making matters worse, the hospital suspected it but administrators did little to address the problem because they had invested more than a half-million dollars into bringing him to their medical center.
“These medical mishaps can cause slow and painful recovery times,” Cellino said. “The bottom line is, they shouldn’t be happening in the first place but the sooner a patient can recognize medical malpractice, the sooner they can receive a full and complete recovery.”
Manhattan medical malpractice lawyers say patients should seek a second opinion if they’re feeling unexpected pain or suffering in any way.
If you or your loved one suspect medical malpractice could be behind a painful recovery, contact the attorneys at Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation.
NEW YORK – It used to be ‘cool’ to carry a pack of reds and a lighter. Not anymore. Americans are kicking the habit of smoking; and one of the biggest reasons for the sudden trend is the mass-production of e-cigarettes… but they’re not necessarily as safe as marketed.
The jury is still out on whether e-cigs can be considered a ‘healthy’ habit. Most doctors agree it’s healthier than its predecessor, the tobacco-laced cigarette. But as e-cigs have grown in popularity, reports of severe injuries have spiked.
A New York e-cig injury lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says many New Yorkers plan to quit smoking by vaping but that plan could blow up in your face. Sometimes, quite literally.
“E-cigs are often marketed as a safer way to get a nicotine fix but some of the products are so unstable, they’ve been known to explode with such force that it sends a person to the hospital in New York,” e-cig lawyer Steve Barnes said. “These explosions happen with little to no warning and the injuries they cause are on the rise.”
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, over 2.5 million Americans are using electronic cigarettes and more are jumping on the wagon every day. Between 2009 and 2014, more than 25 incidents were reported in the news but since then, e-cig injury lawyers say the injuries have skyrocketed.
In just the last week, at least three media outlets have published stories about e-cigarette injuries:
In Indianapolis, doctors at the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center sent out a warning to consumers after they experienced a significant spike in the number of patients with leg burns after leaving e-cigs in their pockets.
According to the report, doctors at this one treatment center alone have received at least three patients with second and third degree burns in the past six months.
In Seattle, at least 14 people have been hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center for serious burns and cuts when an e-cig ignited and exploded. The Seattle Times reports the hospital is receiving about two patients each month with e-cig injuries.
In Mobile, Alabama, doctors also reported a spike in e-cig injuries. Mostly burns, the USA Medical Center said seven patients with e-cig burns were treated in the last six months. According to WKRG, Alabama doctors noted that e-cigarette batteries were to blame and many patients weren’t even aware the batteries could blow-up on them.
“Lithium batteries can be very unstable, especially when they’re exposed to extreme heat,” Barnes said. “When these batteries fail, they can unexpectedly ignite and cause the entire device to explode like a bomb.”
Lithium-ion batteries are the same power devices linked to hoverboard fires. Safety advocates say many batteries, like those used in laptops, have passed rigorous testing and have fail-safe mechanisms to prevent fires or explosions but some manufacturers are cutting corners.
This is especially true in the e-cigarette market.
Many e-cigs have been found with poorly made lithium-ion batteries, most often manufactured overseas. Some of these foreign manufacturers fraudulently stamp name-brand logos on their products in an effort to increase sales. New York e-cig injury lawyers say this act is not only illegal in the U.S., it’s also very dangerous.
“Many name-brand battery manufacturers put their products through rounds and rounds of safety testing to ensure that the battery won’t malfunction and explode,” Barnes said. “When this testing is ignored, lithium-ion batteries can become deadly.”
If you’ve been injured by a faulty e-cigarette, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries.
NEW YORK – It’s happening at a turtle-paced speed but America’s roads are changing one car at a time. Already, thousands of vehicles have some type of automation like automatic braking or the popular ‘drive assist’ features linked to a growing number of brands.
However, fully-automated vehicles – those self-driving ones I’m sure you’ve heard of – are years away from being mass-produced and sold to American drivers. And there’s reason for caution.
A Long Island car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says some concerns are warranted and it could take decades for automakers to convince consumers that self-driving vehicles have a place on the roads and highways.
“In order for a vehicle to be fully automated, it needs to have sophisticated sensors and computers, which could be susceptible to glitches and that alone can be concerning for drivers in Long Island,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “On the other hand, driver error is the leading cause of car crashes in New York; so as vehicle features evolve to eliminate driver error, road safety should improve – in theory.”
The MIT survey found participants were at least ‘open’ to some level of automated technology. Things like speed control, drive-assist, and safety tech that could reduce the severity of a crash were welcomed features. But when it comes to taking over the wheel, forget about it.
Most of those surveyed said they were happy with the technology currently available in most affordable cars – and nearly 30-percent of those polled said they were ‘very happy’ with the current state of car tech.
In some cases, there’s too much tech.
Up to 15-percent of drivers said they “like but don’t use” the technology currently available in their cars.
“Everything is happening at a rapid pace,” Cellino said. “Every year, automakers are introducing new technologies and features they claim will make cars safer and despite this, we saw a record increase in the number of car crashes last year.”
The National Safety Council said 2015 saw the largest rise in traffic deaths in the past 50 years. Drivers now have more disposable income, which put more cars on the roads and distracted drivers are behind the wheel in a record number of cars. Both factors attributed to the rise in accidents, the NSC said.
One of the main goals of vehicle automation is to reduce the number of distracted drivers by taking the wheel away from human hands. Although there are good intentions, safety advocates say it could backfire in the coming years as vehicles move closer and closer to becoming self-driving machines.
“With each new technology, drivers face the temptation of getting distracted – whether by their phones or the new tech itself,” Cellino said. “Although many vehicles today are partially automated, it’s still important for the driver to pay attention to the vehicle and their surroundings.”
Researchers at MIT suggested that drivers be reeducated to use new vehicle technology as it’s rolled-out. Currently, many drivers are forced to learn about new features by reading the vehicle manual.
Their findings echoed the results of other studies too. Conducted by J.D. Power and Associates and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, drivers continue to voice their concerns about the future of the American car.
For over 50 years, the Long Island car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have helped injured drivers recover from crashes caused by negligent drivers. For more information on the law firm and for office locations, find Cellino & Barnes on LinkedIn.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The sun is shining and it’s a great time to get outside. This time of year, the trampoline is a popular place for kids to spend time and lots of energy but it can also be a dangerous place.
Doctors and safety advocates are now warning parents of the dangers trampolines pose, if used incorrectly. According to one recent study in Ireland, 40-percent of children who suffered a trampoline injury needed surgery.
A Rochester personal injury lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says when injuries do occur in back yards, bounce houses or at trampoline parks, they’re often very serious.
“Trampoline use has become very common and injuries are skyrocketing as more trampoline parks open across Rochester,” personal injury lawyer Ross Cellino said. “In almost every case we see, the injuries are entirely preventable.”
According to the Irish study conducted this year, 35-percent of trampoline-related injuries were directly related to the presence of others on the bouncing structure.
In nearly half of the cases, there was no adult supervision.
Safety advocates are growing increasingly concerned over the boom of indoor trampoline parks across America. According to recent estimates, there are more than 350 parks in North America; with hundreds of new ones opening every year.
In many cases, children have been seriously injured at these parks and safety can sometimes be neglected.
“Trampolines can be very dangerous if they are not properly cared for or if they’re being used in unsafe ways,” Cellino said. “It’s our goal to reduce these injuries by making sure everyone is being as safe as possible while at the same time, having fun.”
Doctors and safety advocates advise parents to supervise children when using a trampoline and to follow these general guidelines:
Only one child at a time on the trampoline
Surround the trampoline with appropriate safety netting
Supervise children under the age of 18
Regularly inspect trampolines for rips, tears or possible flaws
Never use trampolines while under the influence of alcohol or prescription medications
As huge supporters of Central and Western New York communities, Cellino & Barnes hopes to make our neighborhoods safe for everyone. If your family member has been injured by someone else’s negligence, contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Warm summer weather is great for riding but it also poses its problems for motorcyclists. Since more riders are hitting the pavement, the road is getting more dangerous and thousands of motorcyclists could get seriously injured over the next three months alone.
“No one is more susceptible to fatal or life-threatening injuries than motorcyclists in Buffalo,” motorcycle accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “We’re seeing a record number of vehicles on the road and those cars and trucks are more often being driven by distracted drivers who don’t realize that they’re sharing the road with bikers.”
“Motorcyclists have the deck stacked against them and what would normally be considered a minor accident can result in life-threatening injuries,” Barnes said. “It sure is safer to be behind the wheel of a car but you also have that added responsibility because you can be held responsible for someone else’s injuries.”
According to the GHSA report, 2015 had the conditions of a ‘perfect storm.’ Between near flawless summer weather and a warm fall, riders enjoyed a significantly longer motorcycle season. Adding to the risk, the number of two-wheeled registrations doubled in the last decade; going from nearly 4-million bikes in 1997 to almost 8-million choppers in 2008.
“Per mile driven, fatality rates for motorcycles were 26 times that of passenger vehicle occupants,” the study’s authors wrote.
Last year was certainly a record year when it came to crashes involving motorcycles. More than 30 states experienced increases in motorcyclist fatalities despite several safety improvements to infrastructure and technology.
Many cars for example are now equipped with high-tech sensors that alert drivers to vehicles in blind spots and sometimes, these cars will automatically brake for the driver in emergency situations. Despite these safety improvements, among others, cars and motorcycles collided at a record pace.
The GHSA said cars are not completely to blame, however. In many cases, the onus is on state lawmakers to improve safety for everyone on the road, including motorcyclists. Currently, only 19 states and the District of Columbia require all riders to wear helmets. Helmets are not required by experienced riders in a staggering 28 states and three states have no helmet laws whatsoever.
The heavy use of smart phones in the car has also had impact on riders. It’s now estimated that distracted driving is a factor in most crashes involving a four-wheeled vehicle.
If you’ve been injured while riding a bike, the Buffalo motorcycle accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have helped accident victims and their families recover the best results possible. Click here to contact an attorney today.
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