Car Accidents are a Common Cause of Injury and Death in New York

New York City is a risky place to drive. Unfortunately, the constant flow of cars on the highways and streets of the city make it relatively easy to get into a motor vehicle accident. The New York State Department of Health a reports that in Manhattan alone, there was an average of 1 death, 14 hospitalizations and 100 emergency room visits every week between 2005 and 2007. While the city can be a worrisome environment for drivers, New York state as a whole has also seen high rates of car accidents. According to the NYS Department of Health, motor vehicle traffic injuries lead to an average of 1,430 deaths, 15,251 hospitalizations and 143,611 emergency department visits between 2005 and 2007. Common causes of car accidents in New York include text messaging, drowsy driving, alcohol and speeding.

Texting

texting while drivingDriving has enough risks without texting behind the wheel. In July 2011, a New York state law was passed in an effort to prevent distracted driving. The law, put in place by Governor Andrew Cuomo, gave law enforcement the power to stop drivers just for using a handheld electronic device while driving; this made activities such as texting-while-driving a primary offense. A year after that law was put in place, the governor announced that more than four times as many tickets had been issued for texting-while-driving since the law took effect. There were 807 tickets issued for distracted driving in Manhattan between 2010 and 2011. This compares to 3,714 tickets issued in Manhattan the following year. In the Bronx, 91 tickets were issued between 2010 and 2011; this number jumped up to 900 between 2011 and 2012. In Brooklyn the number of tickets increased from 540 to 3,234 during the same time periods. In Queens, this number jumped from 401 to 3,334. Westchester County also saw a rise in the number of tickets issued for texting while driving, from 148 tickets (2010 to 2011) to 720 tickets (2011 to 2012).

Drowsy Driving

Driving Drowsy Drowsy driving is another likely cause of car accidents in New York. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a study showing that 4 percent of drivers in the United States have nodded off or fallen asleep at least once while driving in the previous month alone. Federal statistics show that over 11,000 deaths were attributed to drowsy driving from 2000 to 2010. Police data suggests that in New York, 3 percent of drivers crashed at some point when they fell asleep, and 2 percent crashed because of drowsiness. However, according to the New York State Partnership Against Drowsy Driving (NYSPADD), police-reported crash data underestimates the actual rate of this problem because it is difficult to detect.    

Alcohol

Long Island TrafficAny driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level above 0.08 is surpassing the legal limit. Once this level is reached, drivers are 11 times more likely to get into a car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 10,000 people died due to alcohol-impaired driving in 2010; this equates to one death every 51 minutes. The Century Council reports that there were 315 alcohol-related fatalities in 2011. Data from the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that in Manhattan, eight people were killed while a driver had a BAC higher than .08 in 2010. In the Bronx in the same year, 16 people were killed in car crashes when a driver had consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol. In Brooklyn and Queens, the number of people killed in 2010 under these same conditions was 20 and 17, respectively.    

Speeding

Drunk and Drugged Driving in Long IslandSpeeding can easily lead to an accident, especially in a densely packed city like New York. In 2012, 81 out of 274 traffic deaths were caused by speeding in New York. Driving too fast naturally raises the risk of a deadly accident, which is why New York assembly members have been pushing to add more pilot speed cameras on the road in effort to reduce these events. As of March 2013, there were already 150 red-light cameras in New York. City Council statistics showed that in 2008, nearly 3,800 people were injured in a speed-related car crash.

What To Do And Not To Do After A Car Accident

After A Car AccidentCar accidents can be stressful moments for many of us. Nevertheless, we must always remember to protect our legal rights by knowing what to do and what not to do. Have any questions about that? Here is some professional advice courtesy of Parker Waichman LLP Managing Attorney Gary Falkowitz.

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Click below to see the list of things never to do after a car accident.

Click below to see the list of things to do after a car accident.

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