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Staten Island Personal Injury Law Blog

Truck driver safety: its highs and lows by state

New York residents should know about some analyses made by two fleet management systems providers. In the first, a company analyzed the behavior of drivers from more than 6,200 of its fleets, including small and midsize businesses with anywhere between 2 and 200 work trucks, including commercial motor vehicles, pick-ups and light vans. Using this data, it ranked the 50 states for truck driver safety.

The safest states for truck drivers are all on the East Coast, with New York ranking fifth. The top four are Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. The most dangerous states were in the northern Midwest, with Montana and Wyoming ranking at the bottom. Southern states like Alabama and Arkansas also ranked in the bottom 10.

Pedestrians must be careful crossing roads and sharing the street

Walking remains one of the most popular methods of transportation in New York City. Thanks to heavy traffic and the ready availability of safe sidewalks, most people choose to walk at least some of the places they travel on any given day. Of course, there are many benefits to walking. It provides you with good exercise and ensures good cardiovascular health. It reduces your carbon footprint and expenses associated with commuting.

However, walking in New York City can also be incredibly dangerous. Some businesses and homeowners do not maintain their sidewalks properly, which could leave you at risk for injury. There's also the looming risk of a collision between any given pedestrian and a motor vehicle. It only takes a second for someone in a vehicle to fail to notice you and cause a crash.

Travelers Institute touches on summertime distracted driving

Experts have already shown that distracted driving is a major issue in New York, as in every other state, but the issue only gets worse in the summer. This may be because there are more people on the roads who are going on road trips and vacations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that there are 20 percent more miles traveled and 29 percent more road deaths in June, July and August than in the winter months of December, January and February.

TrueMotion recently analyzed sensor data from its mobile app, TrueMotion Family, and found that drivers spend more time looking at their smartphones and less time looking at the road during the same months of June, July and August. The data covered 8.4 million trips made by over 20,000 drivers between January 2017 and May 2018. They were distracted for an average of 15 minutes out of every hour they drove.

What a slip and fall entails for business owners

Business owners in New York, even those who run a small business, know how costly it can get to uphold their duty of care to customers and employees. They must ensure that all entrants are safe when on their property, so there is the cost of maintenance and repairs as well as the cost of training employees on how to identify and prevent hazards. Signage will also be required for wet floors and other safety risks.

The risks on any given property can be numerous: ice on sidewalks, cracks in the pavement, unsecured carpets, cords and other trip hazards, poorly lit stairwells and loose railing on stairs. Any of these can lead to a serious slip, trip or fall accident and, consequently, to a premises liability claim.

There may be a place for car insurance in the future

Drivers in New York may have heard reports saying that insurance companies will experience a sudden decline in revenue once driverless cars become more mainstream. A 2016 report from Morgan Stanley predicted that by 2040, the insurance industry would contract to only 20 percent of what it is now. However, recent accidents involving driverless cars, in addition to new research, point to a potentially different future.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has released a report stating that auto insurance companies will likely experience a gradual shift in the type of insurance products they provide. Future premiums will probably be aimed more at manufacturers and technology companies and less at individual drivers. This is because the former will have the greater need for coverage. Automated driving technology is costly, and when cameras and sensors are damaged in car accidents, the average repair cost goes up.

Brake inspection spree for CMV drivers set for September

From September 16 to 22, commercial motor vehicles across New York and the rest of the U.S. will be subjected to a brake inspection spree. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts this inspection spree, called Brake Safety Week, once a year as a way to ensure that truckers routinely check their brakes and maintain them according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

Good brakes mean more efficient braking, which can prevent rear-end collisions and other accidents. In its effort to keep the public safe on the roads, the CVSA will be conducting mostly Level I inspections, which are the most comprehensive. Some of the things that inspectors will be looking for are loose parts, worn-out linings and pads, defective rotors and air or hydraulic fluid leaks.

July Fourth, the deadliest holiday for car crashes

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Fourth of July is the deadliest day of the year for motorists in New York and throughout the country. The IIHS studied the five most recent years that have accurate fatal car crash data (2010 to 2014), finding that an average of 118.4 people die each year on July Fourth. This is 28 more deaths than the average daily toll.

The second highest is New Year's Day, which has an average of 118.2 deaths on the roads. New Year's Day also happens to be the most dangerous for the occupants of passenger vehicles (with 86 deaths on average every year) while Independence Day is the deadliest for motorcyclists.

Increased drug use documented among drivers killed in crashes

People in New York generally associate alcohol use with impairment that makes driving dangerous. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association has documented a rise in the presence of opioids and marijuana in drivers who perished in car accidents in 2016 compared to 10 years earlier.

Although the data used in the report is incomplete because not all victims undergo drug testing, the authors of the report maintain that the evidence clearly supports the conclusion that drug use has increased. In 2016, 44 percent of tested victims had drugs in their systems compared to 2006 when only 28 percent of deceased drivers produced positive results on drug tests.

Roller coaster crash in Florida now under investigation

Residents of New York may have heard about the roller coaster accident that occurred at an amusement park down in Daytona Beach. The incident is still under investigation, so the details are still few. On the night of Thursday, June 14, the Sand Blaster ride derailed and caused two of its 10 riders to fall about 34 feet to the ground. The riders suffered traumatic injuries.

The ride also left two riders dangling in midair. In a time-sensitive operation, the city's fire department, which has a tech rescue team that specializes in high-rise rescues, successfully removed the eight riders before the roller coaster cars could fall. A total of nine patients were admitted to the hospital. The seriousness of their injuries is not known.

Roadcheck cracks down on fatigued truck driving

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance instituted the International Roadcheck several years ago as a way to crack down on certain common violations among bus and commercial truck drivers. This three-day inspection spree occurs once a year across New York and the rest of the U.S. as well as overseas. The 2018 Roadcheck has just wrapped up; it took place from June 5 to 7.

While the number of citations issued this year has yet to be counted, previous events can serve as an indicator. During last year's event, safety organizations and law enforcement personnel issued more than 33,000 citations for large truck drivers who exceeded the hours-of-service guidelines. They exceeded the 14 work hours that are allotted to them each day. About 1,735 of these citations were issued in Iowa, a state whose primary roads have seen a 123 percent growth in truck activity over the past three decades.

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