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Must Know Info: Adaptive Cruise Control

In a new article posted on our Must Know Info page, attorney Michael Rose discusses how adaptive cruise control systems can lead to a complacency in drivers that could actually increase danger on the road.

To learn more about how this safety feature may not have the intended effect, click here.

New Regulations for Self-Driving Cars

In “Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety” (the Vision), the U.S. Department of Transportation updated its safety guidelines for the testing, manufacturing and deployment of self-driving, or autonomous, vehicles. The new version is not only significantly more relaxed than its predecessor, but also emphasizes its voluntary nature “this Guidance is entirely voluntary, with no compliance requirement or enforcement mechanism.” Car manufacturers and technology companies are praising the new guidelines as they allow these entities broad discretion by “encouraging the self-establishment of industry safety norms.” Essentially, the DOT is advocating for these entities’ independence in establishing the standards for employee training, consumer educating, and overall quality in the autonomous vehicle industry. However, giving private businesses full reign to establish adequate standards for their own products creates the unavoidable risk of companies prioritizing their own financial self-interests over the interests of public safety.

While the Vision’s goal is promoting innovation in the autonomous vehicle industry, it is unclear how it will be implemented without stripping State and Local governments of regulatory power. In the Vision’s Introductory Message, U.S. Secretary for Transportation, Elaine L. Chao, contemplates “a future” where “the elderly and people with disabilities gain access to the freedom of the open road” with self-driving cars. However, this is rather a bold assertion as it presumes that either the States will proactively revise current legislation to reflect and support the self-established industry norms, or Congress will preempt the States from legislating on self-driving vehicles. The Vision states, “NHTSA is responsible for regulating motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, and States are responsible for regulating the human driver and most other aspects of the motor vehicle operation,” yet it is unclear where on the spectrum a human driver behind the wheel of an autonomous vehicle would land – under NHTSA’s or the State’s regulatory power? Assuming self-driving cars allowed the elderly and disabled wider access to “the open road,” this would necessitate a more lenient revision of licensing requirements as well as traffic laws and regulations.

It is inevitable that self-driving vehicles will lower both driver alertness and control as the driver will be allowing the autonomous system to maintain primary control over the vehicle. Minimizing human interaction could trigger an influx of potential concerns, including questions of accountability. If an autonomous system fails to acknowledge a red light or perceive a merging vehicle resulting in a crash, should the driver, the manufacturer, or both be held accountable and to what extent? Beyond liability, how will driver alertness be mandated, measured and enforced? Will autonomous vehicles substitute the driver or supplement driving? Misclassifying autonomous vehicles as substitute drivers instead of a complement to driving (and vice versa) could easily transform self-driving vehicles’ safety function into a safety hazard; under-reacting to a situation can be just as dangerous as over-reacting, and the hazards associated with both can be expected to increase as driver alertness decreases. According to the Vision, consumer education and employee training (which could minimize risk) should be the responsibility of the manufacturer, but it is highly unlikely a manufacturer’s commitment to public safety would come at the expense of finalizing a sale. So the final question is… how effective can we really expect self-serving safety standards to be?

After a car accident, is it okay for me to speak to an insurance company without an attorney?

In the new video FAQ, attorney Mike Rose of Hach & Rose, LLP discusses whether or not you should speak to an insurance company without your attorney present following an accident. Contact us today if you have been hurt in an accident at (212) 779-0057.

Must Know Info: Auto Accidents and Insurance Coverage

In a recent article posted on our Must Know Info page, attorney Michael Rose discusses the available means of compensation from insurance after a car accident.

In many cases, insurance companies try to pay out the minimum amount they can get away with when they are tapped by their insureds. However, a knowledgeable attorney will know how to find additional insurance coverage that the parties responsible for your accident may carry. This can greatly improve your prospects for getting the compensation you need.

You can read the article by clicking here.

If you have been injured in a car accident, the New York car accident lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, can help you recover damages from the party that hurt you. Call (212) 779-0057 to speak with an attorney about your options.

Police chief believes drunken driving accidents can be curbed by ride-sharing services

Cheektowaga, New York Police Chief and the state’s Association of Chiefs of Police leader, David Zack, is of the opinion that ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft, can help curb drunken driving in the state.

In a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Zack said, “The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police strongly urge you to prioritize, champion, and pass a bill that would allow ridesharing throughout New York State in the next legislative session.”

Zack noted that 51% of all licensed drivers in the state are in upstate New York, along with 65% of alcohol- and drug-impaired arrests and 59% of all deadly and personal injury accidents.

Zack said the percentages are lower in New York City, which caters to many ride sharing and mass transit options which are not available in the upstate.

If you had been injured in a preventable drunk driving accident in the state of New York, do not hesitate to seek legal help from our attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP by calling our offices today at (212) 779-0057. Get in touch with a qualified member of our legal team today.

Malone woman dies in two-vehicle collision

Fifty-four-year-old Malone, New York resident Betty Case has lost her life while two other individuals were rushed to the hospital after a two-vehicle collision on Wednesday, July 6 at around 5:08 p.m. along State Route 37 near the intersection with Bare Hill Road.

According to preliminary investigations made by the New York State Police, a 2015 Ford Fiesta was headed east on State Route 37 at approximately one-half mile west of Bare Hill Road, when for an unknown reason swerved into the westbound lane and collided head-on with a 2016 Ford Escape. Case was a passenger in the Ford Fiesta. The drivers of both vehicles were brought to the same hospital that Case was taken to by Malone EMS and then airlifted to the University of Vermont Health Network at Fletcher Allen in Burlington.

Franklin County Coroner Brian Langdon said Case “succumbed to her injuries” after she was brought to Alice Hyde Medical Center by Bangor Emergency Medical Services.

The thoughts of everyone at Hach & Rose, LLP go out to the victims and their families.

Traffic accident deaths in NYC see 11% decrease through end of May

Crash data from the New York Police Department showed that deaths related to traffic accidents in New York City have decreased by 11% through the end of May, compared with data from the same period last year.

New York has finished the installation of 140 speed enforcement cameras that were approved in September 2015. More cameras were guiding the highways during the first five months of 2016, which may have contributed to the decrease in traffic fatalities. 2016 will likely be considered the safest year on record in terms of automobile accidents in New York City if the decline in traffic deaths continues for the whole year. Even so, the city is still behind on its Vision Zero goal of eliminating vehicle accident fatalities by 2024.

The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP provide legal services to our clients in New York City and handle personal injury accident cases. To consult with us about your case or receive more information about the legal services that we offer, call our offices today at (212) 779-0057.

Three dead, over a dozen injured in New Jersey accident

A multi-vehicle accident involving a car, passenger van, and trailer of cows resulted in three fatalities and over a dozen injuries on November 28. The accident occurred on Interstate 287 Northbound at around 10:30 p.m.

The initial crash occurred after a man transporting cattle pulled over to the side of the road to repair his trailer. While he was stopped, a driver struck his vehicle. The driver, identified as Ravi Naik, promptly exited his vehicle after hitting the trailer. Seconds later, a passenger van hit the guardrail along the road before colliding with the trailer and fatally striking Naik.

Two passengers in the van were also fatally injured in the accident. Seven other passengers, including the driver of the van, were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick to receive medical attention. It was reported that none of the injuries were life-threatening.

The driver of the cattle trailer was taken to Overlook Medical Center in Summit for minor injuries. Other damage included the death of several cows and physical damage to all vehicles involved. Traffic was halted for hours as officials investigated the accident. No charges have been filed.

Hit and run driver found and arrested for fatal Staten Island crash

Hasim Smith was arrested in relation to a single car accident that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Alize Jorge, according to the New York Daily News on July 27. A mangled Mitsubishi was found with Jorge in the trunk after the driver fled the scene. Smith later went to a local hospital complaining of chest pains and was arrested.

Police officials claim that Smith ran a red light and wrapped the vehicle around a light pole before fleeing the accident. Smith claims he was swerving to avoid another vehicle when he struck the light pole. There is no indication of alcohol influencing the accident.

His driving history has been riddled with reckless driving habits, including nine suspensions that resulted in the revocation of his license in October 2013. Smith previously was charged for two separate instances of hit and run.

A friend of Jorge’s was also present at the time of the crash. Porsha Richardson was ejected from the vehicle upon impact and taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Mayor de Blasio is using the incident to spotlight the Vision Zero initiative and crack down on reckless driving. The NYPD reports 127 individuals as victims of auto accidents in the past year.

Two teens die in convertible crash

Two high school football players approaching their senior year at Randolph High School in New Jersey, Jack Timmerman and Calvin Verduga, died in a car crash near 48 Ironia Road while riding in the back of a friend’s Mustang convertible, NBC 4 New York reported on July 30.

The driver, who remained unnamed, and the front-seat passenger survived the incident, according to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. According to friends of the victims at a memorial gathering, the driver of the convertible acquired his driving license only this June, and he had only been driving for days before the incident happened. Although details were not released about the cause of the accident, it was suggested by some that speeding was likely a factor.

Randolph High School opened early to provide counseling for students who need it.

The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP, extend their condolences to the friends, family and classmates suffering during this difficult time.

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