Injuries happen, and many of them are caused by other people’s carelessness. Everyday car accidents kill and injure thousands every year, leading us to ask: What makes our city so vulnerable to auto accidents? Some of the more popular theories are:
- Ongoing road construction
- A large number of pedestrians
- Number of bicycles
- Tourists unfamiliar with the area
Whatever the reason, New York’s statistics are a grim reminder that too many of our friends and neighbors are injured or killed in automobile accidents every year. According to the New York Police Department’s data, there were 644 accidents in the Bronx alone during the first three months of 2019. City-wide, New York’s drivers were involved in 34,297 accidents in the first 90 days of 2019.
The first car accident in the United States happened in New York City on May 30, 1896. Henry Wells from Springfield, Massachusetts was driving his Duryea Motor Wagon when he collided with a bicycle rider.
Source: The Epic of New York City by Edward Robb Ellis 1966 Old Town Books, pp-460-461
Most Automobile Accidents Are Preventable
The days and weeks following an automobile accident are stressful. In addition to recovering physically from bodily injuries sustained in the accident, victims and their families are often left having to deal with insurance companies not paying claims. In order to receive the maximum financial compensation following an automobile collision, first and foremost, you must understand what caused your accident.
Most Car Accidents are Caused By Driver Error or Negligence
Car accidents usually involve human error. The most common car accident causes are:
Distracted driving - This is, by far, one of the leading causes of car accidents on the road today. Lack of focus, or being “lost in thought” can lead to a collision. Additional causes of distracted driving include:
- Pets or child passengers
- Adjusting radio or climate control
- Eating and drinking
- Use of electronic devices
Speeding - The majority of the streets in New York City have a 30 miles per hour speed limit. Taxis, delivery vehicles, trucks, and ride-for-hire cars like Lyft and Uber often disregard posted speed limits in order to get to their destinations quickly. A speeding car is hard to control, and the driver has a much slower reaction time to road hazards. Especially on wet or icy roadways, speeding increases the likelihood of skidding, spinning, or flipping over.
Driving while impaired - Alcohol and drugs will slow down reaction time. In New York, Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limits are
- 0.08 percent for those over age 21 years
- 0.04 percent while operating a commercial motor vehicle
- 0.02 percent for people younger than 21 years old
Weather and road conditions - As the saying goes, you can’t control the weather, but you can choose not to drive if conditions are bad. As we discussed earlier, rain, snow, ice, fog, and other severe weather can create unsafe road conditions. These conditions can slow the braking time of your vehicle and also cause you to lose control of your vehicle as well.
Reckless driving - Reckless driving puts all motorists in danger. Examples of reckless driving include:
- Failure to use turn signals
- Running stop signs / red lights
- Failure to yield right of way
- Ignoring a no-passing zone
- Not allowing for limited visibility
- Changing lanes too quickly
Driver fatigue - Lack of sleep causes a reduction in a driver’s reaction time, and can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drowsiness and fatigue are contributing factors in thousands of crashes every year on our highways and cause far too many preventable deaths and injuries.
Additional causes of accidents in New York City are:
- Aggressive driving
- Inexperienced drivers
- Elderly drivers
- Driver fatigue
Accidents Caused by Vehicle Malfunction
Mechanical defects and vehicle malfunctions are significant contributing factors in the number of automobile accidents in New York. In recent years we have seen far too many needless collisions due to defective auto parts. Some examples of safety-related defects that may cause motor vehicle accidents are:
- Steering mechanism defects that result in a loss of control
- Accelerator controls that break or stick
- Wheels that crack or break
- Windshield wipers failing to operate properly
- Ineffective brakes
- Faulty transmissions
- Problems with airbags
In 2017, America’s major auto manufacturers recalled millions of defective vehicles, and the list of 2018 recalls is eye-opening. Serious errors in design and manufacturing are a very real cause of automobile accidents in New York City. When big businesses are negligent in the production and manufacturing of their products, consumers can be injured, and corporations must be held accountable.
Accidents Caused By Potholes And Poor Maintenance
Dangerous roadways are responsible for a significant number of car accidents throughout The Bronx. State and city municipalities have an obligation to maintain the road to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. However, lack of attention to the city’s infrastructure has left many roads of New York City riddled with potholes. Caused by the expansion and contraction of water seeping into the ground under the pavement, they result in increased pressure on the road surface causing it to bend, crack, and sink in.
Swerving to avoid hitting a pothole often results in a collision with another vehicle. In addition to potholes, the most common unsafe road conditions include:
- Malfunctioning traffic lights
- Debris in the road
- Obstructed signage
- Improperly placed signs
- Poor road maintenance.
- Poor lighting
Although comparatively rare, crashes can also be contributed to by these other forms of unsafe roadway design and maintenance:
- Ineffective drainage that allows water to pool on the road’s surface
- Insufficient number of, or, nonexistent guardrails
- Roadways where shrubs, trees, or flower beds are too close to driving lanes
- Highways with unusually steep drop-offs
- Roads with narrow shoulders
- Roads without lane markers
Contact Our Bronx Car Accident Attorney
Accidents happen. New Yorkers who have been injured in a car accident can face life-long, life-altering, and lifestyle changes that result in physical, financial, and emotional hardship. If you or a family member have been injured in a New York City car accident, contact The Law Office of Ivan M. Diamond online or call at (718) 588-2000. Our client reviews speak volumes. Personal attention when and where you need it, Ivan M. Diamond is available for home and hospital visits, as well as weekend and evening appointments. Call today for the help you and your family need.