The New York area certainly has its fair share of pedestrians. After all, considering the traffic and parking conditions in our area sometimes walking is the fastest way to get where you're going. The sad reality, though, is that these pedestrians are seemingly in a constant state of danger. Negligent drivers, including those who are distracted, intoxicated or tired, fail to yield to them, veer onto sidewalks and neglect to share the road, all of which can lead to an injurious or fatal accident.
Distracted driving continues to be a problem across our country. A seemingly countless number of drivers take their eyes and minds off the road in order to engage in conversation with others, change the radio, eat and even groom themselves. The biggest culprit of distracted driving, though, is cell phone usage. Whether texting and driving, checking email while behind the wheel, or surfing the Internet while operating a vehicle, cell phone usage can prove extremely dangerous. A recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows just how dangerous of a problem this can be.
Due to numerous public safety, law-enforcement and government initiatives, most New Yorkers are aware of the dangers of drunk driving. Depending on how much a person has consumed before climbing behind the wheel, alcohol can have varying effects on one's driving ability from slowed reaction time to loss of visual acuity. These drunk drivers put other motorist at serious risk of being involved in an injurious or even fatal accident.Yet, as the drug epidemic continues to sweep across America, many people find themselves asking how drug use affects driving abilities. While the effects of some drugs are readily observable, other drugs are a little harder to gauge. Marijuana, for example, may have a significant effect on one's driving abilities, but it may be hard to detect just by observing an individual's general demeanor.Marijuana can have many effects on one's driving ability. It can slow reaction time, reduce motor skills coordination and impair an individual's judgment. Some studies have found that marijuana use can increase the risk of an accident by two or three times. Of course, this risk is even higher when marijuana use is combined with alcohol consumption.
At a recent news conference attended by representatives from various New York City news media outlets, Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that, so far this year, law enforcement officials throughout the city have issued some 30,000 tickets to motorists for failing to yield to pedestrians. His comments resonated with the reporter-filled audience, many of whom had likely reported on a string of fatal accidents involving pedestrians.
Forward collision systems and lane departure warnings may protect tired drivers from getting into accidents. A forward warning system will beep or flash lights at a driver to warn him or her about an impending collision. In some cases, the car will actually brake for the driver to avoid the collision. It is believed that such a tool could reduce rear-end accidents by as much as 10 percent.
An accident that occurred on July 18 around 5 p.m. in the North Fork area of Long Island resulted in the deaths of four young women and injured four others when a pickup crashed into the limousine in which they were riding. The truck driver was initially charged with misdemeanor DWI and arraigned at a local hospital with a $1 million bond. Results of a toxicology test have not yet been reported. According to the district attorney for Suffolk County, charges might be upgraded as a result of such test.
Every year, teen drivers in New York and across the U.S. are responsible for a large number of avoidable fatalities because of the risky behavior that they engage in. The number of car accidents that young drivers cause is disproportionate when compared to other demographics.
In 2012, there 1,168 traffic accident fatalities in New York, or roughly 3.5 percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Speeding was a factor in 360 of those deaths, Nationally in the same year, speeding was a contributing or primary factor in 30 percent of all fatality crashes. Males between the ages of 15 to 24 were found to be the most likely drivers to have been speeding in a crash that caused a fatality.
New York drivers may not be aware that a few vehicles now come with a collision avoidance system installed, but the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all commercial and passenger vehicles be manufactured with these systems as standard equipment. One industry group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, has said that consumers should have the choice to purchase vehicles that include this equipment, and only four passenger models in 2014 included collision avoidance systems.
On April 16, New York authorities took a 25-year-old man into custody after he was accused of being involved in a car accident that left one person dead. According to the indictment, the man was charged with criminally negligent homicide, reckless driving and reckless endangerment, among other offenses. He posted $20,000 bail and was scheduled to appear back in court on April 28.