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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.

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.

Teen Drivers: A Risk to Everyone

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety, Personal Injury /

Teen Drivers: A Risk to EveryoneROCHESTER, N.Y. – More American teens die in car crashes each year than suicide, violence and cancer combined. Still, millions of parents will hand the car keys to their teenagers this summer hoping their child is smarter and safer but experts say even the brightest teens are at a higher risk of being involved in a deadly car crash.

New research released by AAA found that nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a teen driver crash are people other than the driver. If someone is hurt in a crash, researchers found that half of the time it’s someone in another vehicle.

“More people are on the roads during the summer months and teenagers tend to drive more between Memorial Day and Labor Day here in Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “This puts almost everyone at risk of being hurt or killed.”

According to AAA, other passengers are killed 27 percent of the time in a deadly teen crash. Pedestrians and bicyclists are at risk too: accounting for 10 percent of teen crash fatalities.

“Each year, it’s the same grim message to teenagers and unfortunately, it rarely changes,” Cellino said.

In fact, a researcher at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute said there’s been “Little or no positive change has occurred in teen crash numbers in the past 10-15 years. Clearly, current measures aimed at curbing teen drivers’ involvement in crashes are not sufficient.”

Some researchers have suggested that teens are inherently bad drivers because their brains are not ‘sufficiently developed.’ Researchers said the frontal lobe, which regulates emotion and decision-making abilities, does not fully develop until the age of 25.

“Driving is a challenge for people of all ages because there are complex decisions that must be made in the matter of seconds,” Cellino said. “Teens often don’t have the proper experience with these decision-making processes and they need more practice than a veteran driver.”

Rochester car accident attorneys at the law offices of Cellino & Barnes said teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes when compared to any other age group.

Parents are urged to understand the risks when putting a teenager behind the wheel.

For example, children face high crash risks when riding with a teen driver.

-Parents must set limits on teen driving and enforce them

Crash risks go up even higher at nighttime.

-Parents are urged to restrict teen driving to daytime hours only, unless it is unavoidable

Wearing a seat belt greatly reduces the risk of being hurt in a crash

-Parents should make rules before each trip; including safety belt enforcement for everyone riding in the vehicle.


The Dangerous Days of Summer

/ Driver Safety /

Dangerous Days of SummerBUFFALO, N.Y. – As the Earth tilts its northern hemisphere toward the sun, statisticians and government officials fear what could happen in the next three to four months. The fears are not celestial but the destruction could be astronomical, not only to American families but to our wallets as well.

After years of progress, the number of deadly car accidents has jumped in the last six months by eight percent. The National Safety Council recorded nearly 18,000 fatal car crashes between October and March. That number is up from around 16,500 deadly accidents in the previous year.

Safety advocates are most concerned because the deadliest time of year is about to strike: summertime.

“Statistics consistently show an increase in the number of serious and deadly car crashes during the summer months in places like Buffalo,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “This is largely due to an increase of cars on the road.”

Buffalo car accident attorneys at the law offices of Cellino & Barnes say Americans tend to travel more frequently during the summer months, adding to an already congested highway-transit system.

This year, the National Safety Council fears the number of accidents could sky rocket because travel is now more affordable than it has been in years.

“There will be more people on the road and there can also be an increase in alcohol use during the summer,” Cellino said. “And more than ever before, cell phone-related distractions are an issue. This could spell disaster.”

The newest statistics show cell phones are involved in 27 percent of all car crashes.

Buffalo car accident lawyers suggest taking appropriate safety precautions when getting behind the wheel this summer:

-Always wear a seatbelt; including back seat passengers

-Avoid using a cell phone, even with a hands-free device

-Never drink and drive, even if you believe you are under the limit

Financial Incentives Shown to Make People Healthier, Safer

/ Driver Safety /

Financial Incentives ShownNEW YORK – If you need to motivate your family or coworkers to kick some unhealthy habits or drive safer, money is a powerful influence. In the end, researchers say financial incentives can also save you in the long-run by promoting a happy, healthier lifestyle.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), U.S. employers are increasingly relying on incentives to drive-up participation in health programs. SHRM reported that about 85 percent of employers offer incentives for health risk assessments and nearly 60 percent of employers offer financial kickbacks to promote health and wellness programs.

“More and more, health and safety are becoming a major part of our lifestyle in New York,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Safer drivers can mean lower insurance premiums and healthier workers can translate into cheaper healthcare.”

The latest study focused on smoking cessation. Researchers placed over 2,500 workers in smoking cessation programs and promised financial rewards for those who succeeded. If a worker failed to quit, they could face a fine. The study found that these incentives pushed most of the workers to kick their nicotine habit.

“At 12 months (6 months after the cessation of incentives), roughly half the participants who were abstinent through 6 months in all groups submitted negative cotinine assays, and only the reward-based incentive programs remained superior to usual care.”

Vitality Health, a health and life insurance company, recently studied over 20,000 workers and found over 10 factors directly affected productivity at work. The study found employees who get less than seven hours of sleep each night were ‘significantly less productive’ than workers who had more hours of sleep. Researchers also found employees who are physically inactive or have health issues can also lower workplace productivity.

On the roads, millions of Americans drive during work hours and many more commute every day. To promote safety (and minimize liability), many car insurance companies have offered financial incentives to promote safe driving and some states have enacted safe driver incentive plans.

“Your car insurance can go up as high as 350 percent, depending on the number of points against your license,” Barnes said.

New York car accident attorneys say safe driving can also keep you and your family out of the hospital, avoiding the extra costs associated with doctor’s appointments, lost time at work and other costs associated with a crash.


The Worst Summer Ever: What Parents Need to Know

/ Car Accident, Driver Safety /

The Worst Summer EverROCHESTER, N.Y. – Now that Memorial Day is behind us, it’s time for millions of American families to get outside and enjoy the summer. That means boating, bicycling and family vacations but for thousands of families, 2015 could forever be known as ‘the worst summer ever.’

The most dangerous time of year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is in the summer months when more families are taking road trips and people are outside walking the neighborhood and bicycling around town. The summer is especially dangerous for children.

Almost 14,000 children died in 2012, according to The National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths.

“Most children will enjoy the summer and have a lot of fun at camp, or on the boat, or at a swimming pool in Rochester,” personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “The worst thing most families will deal with is a scraped knee or sunburn but when a child dies, that family changes forever.”

In 2012, nearly 2,300 children died in motor vehicle-related accidents. This includes driving teens, or other children riding, walking or biking.

“One of the top reasons children are killed in car crashes is because they weren’t wearing a seatbelt,” Cellino said. “It’s one of the easiest ways to keep your children safe and statistics show when parents buckle-up, so do their children.”

Outside the car, children remain at risk. More children are struck by vehicles during the summer months. The website, KidsAndCars.og keeps track of deadly accidents involving children. In 2014, the website reported 67 backovers, 60 front-side crashes and 30 heatstrokes.

In nearly three quarters of all backovers, a close relative is responsible for the death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that around 40 young children get trapped inside hot vehicles and die. Statistics from the CDC show most of these children were ‘forgotten’ by a parent or guardian.

“The summer can be very dangerous because people tend to get out more; in the sun, on the roads and in the water where it’s extremely important to watch your children closely,” Cellino said. “It’s up to adults to make sure kids are safe at all times.”

Children should also be supervised when playing sports or around fire and fireworks.

Rochester personal injury attorneys say every accident is preventable with proper oversight and safety precautions.

5 Facts You Should Know About Massive Airbag Recall

/ Car Accident, Defective Products, Driver Safety /

Massive Airbag RecallBUFFALO, N.Y. – The 33.8 million vehicles recalled by Japan’s Takata Corporation is the largest recall in automotive history. The recall is also creating mass confusion among U.S. consumers wondering if their vehicle is part of the recall or if their family is at risk of being victimized by defective air bags.

So many people were trying to log into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s sister website, SaferCar.gov that the site crashed on occasion this week.

“These air bags were installed in more than 50 different vehicle models that could be driving around Buffalo,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “These can pose serious safety hazards to anyone who drives or rides in these vehicles.”

Buffalo car accident attorneys say Takata’s recall was issued when it was discovered that some airbags may spray shrapnel when they inflate and the faulty safety devices have been liked to at least six deaths.

“There are several ways to find out if your car is part of this increasingly large recall and if you or a family member has been in a recent accident, it’s important to know if that vehicle was part of this recall as well,” Cellino said.


The recalls are posted at SaferCar.gov, in which you type in a Vehicle Identification Number and the site will tell you if your vehicle is part of this specific recall, or others. NHTSA reported receiving over 600,000 requests this week, so consumers may need to be patient.


Although there is a real danger of being injured by exploding airbags, the odds of suffering an injury associated with this recall is low. Of the 33.8 million vehicles recalled, six people have died worldwide and another 100 have suffered injuries. That equates to a .00031% chance of getting hurt.


The Takata airbag recalls began in 2008 when Honda recalled 4,000 Accords and Civics (2001 models). The recalls have obviously expanded, now to include almost every automaker, but it has taken seven years to do so. It is unclear exactly how many models will be included in the company’s final recall, or when that may occur.


One in seven vehicles are part of this massive recall. Dealerships and auto shops charged with fixing these vehicles may be overwhelmed with the number of repairs and lengthy wait times should be expected but it is important to get your vehicle fixed as soon as possible to prevent serious injuries.


Buffalo car accident attorneys said in most recall situations, consumers do not pay for the repairs to their vehicles.

“If your vehicle is part of this recall, it’s important to know you shouldn’t pay a dime for someone else’s mistake,” Cellino said. “Recall repairs are free at dealerships, the question now is how much will the airbag manufacturer be ordered to pay?”

There may be other financial consequences as a result of this massive safety recall. For example, vehicle value may drop and there are questions of liability in case of an accident; does responsibility fall on Takata, the automaker, or both?

The latest recall could be just the beginning of an ongoing legal drama in U.S. courts.


Buckle Up! Enforcement Peaks

/ Driver Safety /

Buckle Up! Enforcement PeaksROCHESTER, N.Y. – Police agencies across the country are teaming-up to enforce seatbelt laws and raise awareness to the dangers of driving without one. For the remainder of the month, New York State Police, county and municipal officers will be using marked and unmarked vehicles to hand-out tickets to drivers and passengers who aren’t buckled-up.

Rochester car accident lawyers from the Law Offices of Cellino & Barnes know how much more dangerous a crash can be when a person is not wearing a seatbelt.

“The good news is 91 percent of motorists will buckle-up in Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Still, hundreds of people get seriously injured or killed every year because they’re not wearing a seatbelt.”

According to state statistics, about one-third of all deadly crashes in New York State involve drivers and passengers who weren’t wearing seatbelts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates more than 9,000 people are killed each year after getting in a vehicle without buckling-up.

“New York State was the first state to draft a seatbelt law and enforce it,” Cellino said. “Since that time, statistics have shown that wearing a seatbelt can reduce the number of injuries stemming from an accident.”

New York passed the first ever seatbelt law in 1984 when just 16 percent of front seat passengers and drivers used the safety feature. Today, nearly every driver and passenger uses a seatbelt regularly when on the road.

“There’s really no excuse for not using one,” Cellino said. “In hospital costs alone, New Yorkers who weren’t wearing seatbelts were charged almost $130 million for visits to emergency rooms in 2011.”

Taxpayers were required to pick up 12 percent of that tab, according to the New York State Department of Health.

Rochester car accident attorneys said additional costs may include the ticket that can range from $25 to $100 in fines. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles notes about 198,000 tickets were issued in 2014 to drivers who didn’t buckle-up.

New York will join neighboring states, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont as part of the Click-it-or-Ticket campaign, which ends Sunday, May 31.

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.”


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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