New York Legal Blog

The Drugged Driving Epidemic Is Hitting Long Island

A new report from AAA found that drugged driving is posing a larger threat than drunk driving.  Prominently mentioned in the report was this growing problem on Long Island. AAA also discloses that fatal crashes involving New York drivers who test positive for drugs are most prevalent during the summer – with August being the peak month. And though it’s difficult to pin-down when drugged driving is a cause of accidents, AAA (and other research) findings renew concern that marijuana and opioids are contributing to a full-blown safety crisis on our roadways.

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Would Optical Illusions Make Pedestrians Safer?

Every year, thousands of pedestrians throughout the country are killed in accidents with cars and other motor vehicles. In 2017, nearly 6,000 people died in crashes with vehicles, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. And in spite of an increasing focus on pedestrian safety, the number of pedestrian deaths nationally has increased markedly in recent years, jumping by 9% between 2015 and 2016, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Grim statistics involving pedestrian fatalities are not limited to the United States. No matter what country they live in, pedestrians are at risk of injury or death. When a two-ton car and a person meet in the street, the person is almost always on the losing side, which is why it is so important, no matter how large the city or how small the town, to have strong traffic safety plans in place and to always look at new and evolving approaches to pedestrian safety. As part of its traffic safety plans, a small village in Iceland has incorporated a novel approach that uses optical illusion to try to reduce risk to pedestrians. The village, which has extremely narrow streets, wanted to slow drivers down, so it used 3-D paint to create a crosswalk. At street level as drivers approach, it appears that the stripes in the crosswalk are raised off the ground. Drivers are fooled into slowing or stopping to avoid hitting the perceived barriers in the road. The village was inspired to try the 3-D approach by a similar crosswalk project in New Delhi, India, which was done as a trial. Other countries, including China and South Africa, are also adding 3-D crosswalks. Have these crosswalk illusions helped curb pedestrian deaths and injuries in India and Iceland? Because they are relatively new in those places, the data isn’t available yet. But it may be an interesting approach to consider in other cities and towns, however, even when other safety plans are showing positive results. In New York City, pedestrian deaths have decreased dramatically in recent years, thanks to the city’s strong safety program. The program, called Vision Zero, which was originally developed in Sweden, includes lower speed limits, more traffic enforcement and increased driver outreach and education, among other things. Since the program was implemented in 2013, pedestrian fatalities have dropped by 45 percent, according to city statistics. Overall traffic fatalities have also decreased. While New York is moving in the right direction compared to national trends, even one pedestrian death is always one too many. Would optical illusions help to reduce pedestrian fatalities in New York City, New York state and throughout the rest of the country if they were implemented? We don’t know for sure, but it may be a worthwhile method to consider. If you have a question about... read more

Lines Being Drawn in the Battle Between NYC and Rideshare Companies

The legal saga surrounding ridesharing companies continues as New York City becomes the first of its kind in the U.S. to halt new vehicle licenses for ride-hail app services such as Uber and Lyft, while it sets a minimum wage. The legislation, passed with virtually no opposition by the City Council, caps the number of for-hire vehicles for a year, giving the city time to thoroughly study this booming industry and create more permanent ordinances.

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Concerns Continue in NYC over Sanitation Industry’s Safety Record

Fleets of privately-owned garbage trucks race through New York City’s streets every night. It’s clear to many onlookers that several of these vehicles are in poor repair. Some are routinely declared unsafe and pulled off the road by government regulators, only to resume their routes a few days later with dubious – if any – repairs being made.

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Understanding the Increase in Fatal Large Truck Crashes

With passenger vehicles and large trucks competing for space on our increasingly crowded roadways and highways, it is probably no surprise that deaths from big rig crashes are on the rise. In 2016, more than 4,300 people died in accidents involving large trucks. That figure is up 5.4 percent from 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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We’re in the Peak Season for Accidental Deaths

There is an old song that asserts that living is easy in the summertime. Unfortunately, though, summer isn’t always the carefree season it’s portrayed to be. According to National Safety Council (NSC) statistics, more preventable accidental deaths occur in July and August than at any other time of year. The top five causes of death in the summertime are drownings, hot car asphyxiations, pedestrian accidents, disasters and gun-related fatalities. 

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Hearing Loss Plagues Older Construction Workers

The damaging consequences of working in construction can accumulate on older workers. Older construction workers who suffer from hearing loss might also have problems with workplace safety. For example, if a worker can’t hear warnings or suffers from an undiagnosed hearing disability, their safety and the safety of coworkers could be compromised. Several independent studies bear this out.

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Would Rideshare Pay Rules in NY Impact Labor, Safety?

If all goes according to plan, for-hire vehicle drivers could be getting a nice bump in pay. The increases proposed by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (NYCTLC) is part of several conclusions outlined in a study it released in early July.

The Commission and the City Council have been scrambling for several years since the ride-hailing app operators burst on the city’s taxicab landscape, shaking it to its very foundation. The problem is that the for-hire, ride-hailer business model has steeply undercut taxi and limousine service revenue models. Uber, Lyft, Via and Juno drivers have been paid several dollars less than their taxi driver counterparts, and they do not have to pay for expensive NYCTLC medallions.

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