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Auto Accidents

Death Rate From Traffic Accidents in 2020 Highest in Nearly 100 Years

2020 was a hard year for everyone, and surprisingly, one of the most dangerous places to be was on the road. While many were at home, there was far less congestion, but drivers drove less carefully, and the death toll from car wrecks was 24% higher than in 2019.

According to the National Safety Council, the death toll jumped from 38,800 to 42,060 people on U.S. roads from 2019 to 2020. Because there were far fewer drivers, this upped the percentage of road fatalities to the highest it has been since before 4-wheel brakes were introduced nearly a century ago.

There were several factors that contributed to these statistics. In the beginning, cities rushed to create a variety of accessibility options for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists to find a way to get out and still function while socially distancing. These included make-shift bike lanes, car light shows, and others like them designed to stem traffic congestion. However, as the pandemic wore on, these measures grew unsustainable. As the traffic lanes opened up, it became apparent that the number one hazard was the design of roads that enabled high-speed driving without taking other hazards into consideration. For safer driving habits to become permanent, changes need to be made, such as stronger federal laws requiring better safety features like collision warning on new cars and ignition interlock systems to prevent drunk driving and discourage repeat offenders.

The numbers were high across the nation, but five parts of the country showed heavier concentrations of deadly accidents. Accidents occurred at rates of 30% or higher than the previous year in Washington D.C., South Dakota, and Vermont, while Rhode Island and Arkansas increased at rates of 26%. The data clearly shows that something must be done.

The National Safety Council also noted that there are some tighter measures that could also curb other contributing factors such as restricting the rules for getting a driver’s license for teenagers, creating ways to cut down on cell phone usage behind the wheel with better laws and technology designed to protect motorists. Some of these features can be had in some cars, but they are not available across the board. If the nation is serious about saving lives on the road, these elements must be taken into consideration so everyone can enjoy the roads more safely.

As Americans seek to recover and learn from the hardships of the past twelve months, focusing on traffic safety is an important first step. There are countless ways we can improve, and the first is to take this death-toll spike seriously. If everyone were to reach out to their elected officials on every level to shine a light on this issue and demand changes be made, those who lost their lives did not do so in vain. Making our laws more targeted, our infrastructure more supported, and our cars more advanced will enrich the lives of our communities and allow more people to enjoy the road.

Street Safety Groups Petition President Biden For Federal Vision Zero Plan

A group of street safety advocates petitioned newly inaugurated President Biden to enact a plan that would entirely eliminate road deaths in the U.S. by 2050. A coalition of 74 street safety organizations, including AAA, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), National Safety Council, and League of American Bicyclists, cosigned a letter to the White House on Jan. 20. The letter brought to Biden’s attention the nearly 40,000 deaths that happen on the nation’s roads each year.

The organizations appealed to Biden’s personal connection to loss, referencing his wife and daughter who died in a car accident in 1972, writing, “You know all too well the pain and devastation that comes when someone is killed in a crash.” They asked his administration to make a commitment to fully eliminate street deaths in the next 30 years.

Vision Zero is a street safety program that was first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s. The program aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries while also enforcing measures to increase safety on roads. Vision Zero views traffic deaths as preventable, not an inevitable part of transportation. Some cities in the U.S., including Austin, Seattle, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Boston, have committed to their own Vision Zero plans, but the letter urges Biden to make traffic safety a top national priority and cut down on fatalities.

Vision Zero’s Road Map to a Safer Future

To achieve its goal of zero traffic fatalities, Vision Zero advocates for fundamental changes in the way people interact with and think about transportation. For example, speeding kills about 10,000 people each year, which is about as many fatalities caused by drunk driving. But the penalties for speeding are much less severe than they are for drunk driving. One of Vision Zero’s key priorities is to reduce speeding “through safe street design, automated speed enforcement (or safety cameras), and setting safe speed limits.” Design, individual road users, and safety components (like traffic signs) are the three elements of street safety.

But Vision Zero is not only focused on drivers and passengers in cars. Pedestrian and bicyclist safety is also a top priority. U.S. pedestrian fatalities were at their lowest in 2009, totaling only 4,109. However, ten years later, this number hit a 30-year-high at 6,590 deaths. Biden’s Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg mentioned the importance of implementing more pedestrian- and cyclist-centered street design moving forward. Changing street design from auto-centric to pedestrian-centric will be a challenge for Buttigieg after he is sworn into office.

Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a car crash as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Please call the New York car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP to learn how our team may be able to help you. We’ll do the legal legwork so you can focus on healing. Call us at (212) 779-0057 today.

Why Emptier Streets Are More Dangerous In New York

The coronavirus pandemic hit New York City especially hard in the first few months that the virus spread across the United States. Traffic on the streets mirrored the logical trend of more people staying home and only going out when necessary – it decreased dramatically. But the New York Times reported a troubling statistic emerged alongside this trend. There were more deadly car accidents in 2020 than usual in the city.

This is despite the fact that Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted a plan in 2014 to increasingly improve safety on the streets, named Vision Zero. This plan aimed to completely eliminate traffic-related deaths in the city by 2024. With the upward trend of accidents occurring during the pandemic, this goal is becoming more unrealistic. But how did this happen?

The New York Times suggested that because New Yorkers felt isolated, cramped, and bored in their homes while attempting to shield themselves from the virus, they took to the streets to blow off some steam and recapture their freedom. This translated to a higher number of motorcycle riders and street racers on the roads than the city normally sees on an average night.

Because of this increased trend in reckless driving, car and motorcycle accident-related deaths rose 76% in one year. In 2019, the city recorded 68 motor vehicle deaths. But in 2020, that number rose to 120. However, the article reported that the number of pedestrian- and bicycle-related deaths dropped in 2020, related to past years.

NY Mirrors a National Trend

So, even though the city streets are still not as crowded as they were before the pandemic, they likely still have more reckless drivers on them than on an average, pre-pandemic day. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2020, traffic-related deaths increased across the nation. This federal agency recorded traffic-related deaths in all states and found that the coronavirus pandemic is likely connected to this higher number of deaths on our streets.  

Elderly and older people tended to stay home more often than younger people as the virus gained a chokehold on the country. Older people are generally more cautious, slower drivers, and therefore tend to cause fewer traffic accidents due to speeding. But younger, more adventurous drivers tend to cause accidents while speeding or driving recklessly. And because young people had less incentive to stay home during the pandemic, they were more likely to be on the roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also believes that an increase in drug and alcohol usage during the pandemic is a factor in increased accidents. While Americans turned to substances to cope with the stress of the pandemic – from unemployment to a sickness in the family to strained finances – substance-related traffic accidents spiked across the nation.

Contact a New York Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a motorcycle or car accident in the New York City area, do not hesitate to reach out to the accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP immediately. Our lawyers have years of experience handling cases like yours and will fight to win the maximum compensation for you. Call us today at (212) 779-0057.

Car Accidents Are a Real Danger for Those with Undiagnosed Focal Epilepsy

For people with undiagnosed focal epilepsy, the possibility of having a subtle seizure while driving is a very real and dangerous one. These seizures could happen at any time and are characterized by intense moments of déjà vu or hallucinations, according to MedPage Today. But because these seizures are not similar to those experienced by other epileptics, those suffering from subtle seizures may not realize they have epilepsy. Because of this, focal epilepsy sometimes takes years to diagnose. Doctors believe that in that gap between the first seizure and diagnosis, the potential for serious car accidents occurring is a danger for the whole community.

Johns Hopkins calls focal epilepsy a brain condition that only affects one half of the brain at a time. It can affect the frontal, temporal, parietal, or occipital lobe. The intensity and consequences of the seizure depend on which lobe exhibits it. However, subtle seizures are not as noticeably and physically disruptive as motor seizures. For people who experience subtle seizures, the time between their first seizure and diagnosis averages to about 600 days. For those who suffer from motor seizures, that gap closes to about 60 days.

Subtle seizures are dangerous because they can affect a person’s ability to operate a moving vehicle. People suffering from focal epilepsy may or may not lose consciousness during one of these seizures. Symptoms of a subtle seizure with impaired awareness are:

  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Being unresponsive to your environment
  • Staring into space
  • Performing repetitive movements such as walking in circles, chewing, swallowing

Symptoms of a subtle seizure without a loss of consciousness include:

  • Involuntarily jerking a body part
  • Experiencing spontaneous tingling, seeing flashing lights, or feeling dizzy
  • Experiencing a change in taste, smell, or sound

Losing consciousness, being unable to respond appropriately and quickly to your surroundings, staring into space, or making movements involuntarily are all dangerous when driving a car. But if a person does not have the other standard hallmarks of epilepsy, it could be mistaken for a number of other illnesses.

Treatment for epilepsy varies depending on the severity of a person’s condition, but doctors will often start by prescribing anticonvulsant medications to reduce the severity of these episodes. It is considered a medical emergency if a seizure lasts more than five minutes. If you stop breathing, have a high fever, experience heat exhaustion, or are pregnant during a seizure, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Contact a New York Injury Attorney

If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the New York City car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP to see how much your case might be worth. Our number is (212) 779-0057.

Wrong-Way Collision Kills Three, Injures Two in Rochester

Three people died, and two were seriously injured in a wrong-way collision on Tuesday, Aug. 18, on eastbound Interstate 90 in Rochester. The New York State Police released the identities of those involved on Tuesday, according to My Twin Tiers.

Charles Bargerstock, 81, was the wrong-way driver who died at the scene. He had been reported missing from Ohio the day before the accident after he failed to show up at a doctor’s appointment and then never returned to his residence in Ohio. Himel A. Joy, 24, and Mojammal H. Rasel, 30, both from Astoria, also died in the accident.

NYSP reported that Bargerstock entered I-90 eastbound the wrong way at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. A semi-truck driver driving east spotted Bargerstock driving the wrong way and pulled over to avoid crashing into him. Right after the semi-truck pulled over, Bargerstock slammed head-on into the car driven by Rasel.

The car driven by Rasel also carried Joy and two other occupants, Moshin Ahmed, 23, and Kenedy Ape, 18, who were also Astoria residents. Ahmed and Ape were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, where Ahmed remains in “guarded condition,” and Ape is in “satisfactory condition.”

The Stow Police Department issued a “be on the lookout” or BOLO the day before, for Bargerstock, when he did not appear for his scheduled appointment. Officials have not released any more details about the 81-year-old’s condition, such as if he had dementia or another mental condition. They also have not confirmed why Bargerstock would drive from Ohio to Rochester, New York.

All eastbound lanes of I-90 between exit 43 and exit 44 were closed while police investigated, but they have since reopened.

A New York Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Car accidents are devastating and can leave you feeling at a loss for what to do next. A skilled car accident injury lawyer will guide you through every step you need to take following your accident. The legal team at Hach & Rose, LLP will handle your case with the passion and rigor it deserves. In March 2020, alone, there were over 20,000 people involved in car accidents in New York City. Two of those people died, and another 1,408 were injured. If you were in a car accident, you deserve representation that will advocate relentlessly for your rights.

If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s mistake, you might be entitled to substantial monetary compensation. The car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP have won millions of dollars in compensation for our clients in the past and are prepared to do the same for you. If you were injured, please do not hesitate to reach out to the experienced legal team at (212) 779-0057 for a free consultation. Or, contact us online anytime. We’re ready to help.

Queens Driver Runs a Stop Sign, Kills Another Driver

A 21-year-old driver died in Queens last month after a car blew through a stop sign and T-boned him, according to the New York Daily News.

Video surveillance of the intersection clearly shows the offending driver speeding past the stop sign in a residential neighborhood around 1:30 a.m. before slamming into a passing car. The driver of the passing car, 21-year-old Satesh Permaul, died from severe head injuries after being rushed to Jamaica Hospital.

The accident occurred at the intersection of 107th Ave. and 109th Ave. in South Ozone Park, Queens. Police apprehended the driver who caused the accident and discovered that he was driving without a license. They also found that he and the driver who was killed knew each other from high school. The apprehended driver, Christopher Garcia, 20, was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, according to the Daily News.

Speeding More Common During COVID-19

Because New York is currently struggling to combat the effects of COVID-19, the victim’s family could not visit him in the hospital following the accident. According to the Daily News, the staff at Jamaica Hospital informed them that they would need to wait until Monday for a call to invite them to come see the body.

Permaul was working as a mechanic fixing school buses in the New York area. He and his family emigrated from Guyana about ten years ago to build a life in New York.

Unfortunately, accidents such as these are becoming more common as the coronavirus empties New York streets, tempting drivers to speed and drive recklessly. Injuries incurred in a car accident could leave you unable to work for months, or even years. Some of the most common car accident injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Broken bones
  • Herniated discs
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Whiplash
  • Bruises
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a car accident in New York and need legal representation, the car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to assist you. We have years of experience handling cases relating to drunk driving, reckless driving, speeding, and pedestrian accidents. Our lawyers have won millions of dollars in compensation for victims of these accidents and are ready to do the same for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you decide to take legal action to claim compensation.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken steps to protect our clients and employees. We offer online consultations and are available to answer your messages and calls, so don’t hesitate to contact us. Call (212) 779-0057 today.

Higher Rate of Car Accidents in NYC Due to COVID-19

The streets of New York City are emptier since COVID-19 has forced hundreds of thousands of people to work from home or lose their jobs. But the rate of car accidents remains consistent, and is sometimes higher than usual. Between March 5 and March 16, speed cameras issued an average of 10,434 daily speeding violations, despite the city being on lockdown. This is compared to the period between Jan. 13 through Jan. 23, where the cameras detected an average of 11,309 violations per day.

This is because many drivers have started speeding since there is less traffic. Some drivers are using residential streets or highways as racetracks, but the New York Police Department cannot effectively respond to complaints about them because the coronavirus has depleted their numbers.

Speeding Culprit in Auto Accidents

According to an article from Streetsblog, New York Mayor de Blasio said, “We will be very tough on people who are speeding, for sure, and I’m going to certainly insist on continued enforcement on that front.”

Cameras around the city effectively track speeding drivers and issue violations, which could help curb the number of infractions. But some New Yorkers resent de Blasio’s use of speed cameras, claiming that residents cannot be expected to drive the speed limit while the world is in a panic, according to Streetsblog.

Speeding has been a major culprit in fatal car accidents in the city recently. According to Streetsblog, between March 2 and April 8, six motorists died in New York City. This is higher than the number of motorists who died in that same time period in four of the last five years. But the number of vehicle miles traveled has fallen 84%, meaning there are many fewer cars and motorcycles on the road. Fewer cars should mean fewer deaths, but when speeding is a factor, this is not the reality.

The injuries sustained in a car accident could be debilitating and keep you out of work for months or years. Some of the most common car accident injuries are:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Whiplash
  • Bruises
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Herniated discs
  • Internal bleeding
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

And, sadly, the risk of having a fatal accident increases when speeding is a factor.

Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s reckless driving or negligence, the legal team at Hach & Rose, LLP wants to help you. Our attorneys have years of experience handling cases such as these and are prepared to recover the compensation you need to pay for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.

Given the coronavirus pandemic, we have taken a proactive approach to protecting our clients and employees. We provide the same high-quality service that you have come to know. We offer online consultations and are here to answer your calls and messages, so don’t hesitate to contact us. Call (212) 779-0057.

New details released regarding NYPD’s “No Report” crash policy

The New York Police Department recently announced a new “no report” car crash policy, meaning that police officers will not respond to minor car accidents, according to an article from StreetsBlog. This policy is now being implemented city-wide after successfully testing it in Staten Island last March.

Though they had planned to eventually apply the policy city-wide, NYPD is rolling it out now due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The virus, which has already infected nearly 150,000 and killed over 6,000 New Yorkers, has put an unprecedented strain on New York City’s first responders and healthcare providers. The new NYPD policy aims to free up some police manpower to respond to COVID-19 related calls instead of minor traffic accidents. The NYPD is optimistic about the policy because, during the Staten Island pilot testing, response times were reduced by 9%.

The policy states that police officers will not respond to car accidents resulting in minor damage to the car or property damage, but they will be required to respond to accidents in which:

  • Someone sustained an injury or was killed
  • One party involved in the accident disputes the other party’s claims or version of the story
  • A witness or third party called 911 to report the accident
  • One party involved in the accident flees the scene
  • One or both cars needs to be towed
  • An animal is hit and injured or killed
  • A parked car was damaged and the owner cannot be located

If you are involved in a minor traffic accident, but none of the above situations applies to you, your 911 call will be diverted to a pre-recorded message. The message will describe the new policy and instruct you on how to proceed.

Whenever you are involved in a car accident, there are some basic steps you should take to protect yourself and obtain necessary information from the other party. You should always exchange drivers license and insurance information with the other party, as well as their car’s registration. Take photos of any damage to your car or injuries you sustained, if possible. Write down the other car’s license plate number and a description of the vehicle in case you need it later. If either car involved in the crash sustained damage worth over $1,000, you must file a Report of Motor Vehicle Accident (MV104) with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as soon as possible. This form can be found online or at a local police station.

Contact a New York car accident attorney

If you sustained an injury in a car crash, this new NYPD policy does not apply to you. Be sure to call the police and file a report immediately to record the nature of the accident and your injuries. If you were hurt in an accident in New York, the team at Hach & Rose, LLP are prepared to assist you. We have taken a proactive approach to protect our clients and employees alike, and we are able to provide the same high-quality service that you have come to expect. We can conduct consultations online, and are still here to answer your calls, emails, or messages, so reach out to us for assistance today.

Auto Insurance for Delivery Drivers

With the majority of the country on lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many Americans have lost their jobs and are looking for other ways to make an income. Because restaurants can only offer to-go options right now, food delivery services such as Favor and Uber Eats are booming. Many are taking on these jobs to make some extra cash, but might not know that they need to upgrade their insurance plan to accommodate commercial business if they are driving their own car.

Since food delivery is technically a business use of your vehicle, not personal use, insurance companies might require you to purchase a commercial auto insurance policy. The insurance company will charge more for this policy because they believe you are more likely to get into an accident as a delivery driver or taxi driver, probably because you will likely be on the road much more often than for personal use.

If you plan on taking a job as a food delivery person, you will need to notify your insurance company and ask about the possible consequences of not upgrading your policy. Sticking with your regular personal policy might come back to bite you later if you get into an accident during a delivery and file a claim.

However, some auto insurance companies have already made changes to their policies to accommodate these uncertain and sometimes confusing times. For example, Allstate automatically granted each of their policyholders special coverage for delivering items such as medicine, meal delivery, grocery delivery, etc., through the end of April. In that case, Allstate customers will not need to upgrade their policy to commercial status. Farmers Insurance has enacted a similar extension of their coverage through April 30th, as well.

According to an article by The Rideshare Guy, many food delivery companies like Uber Eats and Domino’s Pizza have their own insurance policies, so their hired drivers don’t need to buy their own commercial policies. However, certain companies’ insurance plans do not extend to drivers in the state of New York, and they will be responsible for purchasing their own commercial policies. Amazon Flex and Uber Eats specifically do not cover New York drivers. GrubHub, Instacart, and Walmart also do not provide company coverage for their drivers.

Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer

If you got into a car accident while delivering food or using your car in a commercial capacity, you might need help navigating your insurance claim. The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to stand up for you and help you get the compensation you’re owed. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your legal options today.

The dangers of driving while drowsy

drowsyAccording to a 2016 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, car crashes caused by drowsy drivers are eight times higher than the previously accepted national estimate. AAA conducted the study by analyzing dashcam footage of 700 average American drivers. Drowsy driving tends to be an underreported cause of car accidents because it can be hard to document and to prove.

Jake Nelson, the director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA, said, “Missing just two to three hours of sleep can more than quadruple your risk for a crash, which is the equivalent of driving drunk.” A AAA Foundation survey found that nearly 29% of American drivers recently drove while they were almost too tired to keep their eyes open.

Being aware of the fact that you’re overly tired and can’t keep your eyes open is an important factor in keeping yourself and others safe on the road. If you notice that you keep drifting from your lane or can’t remember the last few miles you have driven, you should pull over and at least take a 20-minute nap. AAA experts say that short-term remedies for sleepiness, like chugging coffee or singing with the windows down, won’t outsmart your body’s need for sleep.

Still, AAA recommends that drivers always get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep before getting in the driver’s seat, especially if they have a long trip ahead of them. To avoid driving while drowsy, drivers should try to drive during a time of the day that they’re usually alert and avoid eating heavy foods before the drive.

If you are prescribed a medication that makes you drowsy, talk to your doctor about the best times to take it, or ask if you can take it before bed. AAA also developed Roadwise Rx, which can help you determine whether your medication might affect your safety behind the wheel.

Contact a New York Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer

If you were injured because of a drowsy driver, you might be entitled to compensation. The New York car accident lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP will be ready to get you the fair compensation you deserve. Call us at (212) 779-0057 or reach out online to discuss your rights and legal options today.

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