Monthly Archives: September 2012

NHTSA: Alcohol & Drugs Common Factors in Serious Accidents

A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that numerous fatal accidents in the U.S. are directly related to alcohol and drugs consumption. While there’s no surprise that alcohol and drugs hinder your driving ability, the sheer number of fatal accidents involving intoxicated driving is a little unnerving.

In all, more than half of the people killed in car accidents in this country had alcohol or drugs in their system at the time of the accident.

The NHTSA looked at data from 14 states and found that men and people driving at night were most likely to have alcohol or drugs show up on the toxicology screen conducted after the accident. It isn’t clear how much they had in them, or whether it was enough to cause impairment, but there is little doubt that at least some of them, if not most, were impaired.

While we don’t know how concentrated the levels were and can’t definitively say the drugs caused the accident, there’s a pretty good chance they were at least a contributing factor.

57% of 20,150 drivers who were killed from 2005 to 2009 tested positive for at least one drug, including alcohol. Alcohol was the most commonly found substance, followed by marijuana, and prescription stimulants.

Among men, the statistic was 60%. For women, it was less than half. Also, those who crashed at night or on the weekend were more likely to test positive for drugs. Continue reading


Park Ave. Pedestrian Accident Kills One, Injures Another

An older couple had just left a jazz concert and was looking for a cab back to their Upper East Side home when they were struck by an out of control car on Park Avenue. The 80-year old man, Rubin Baum, was killed and his wife was injured.

According to the NY Daily News, a 2000 Mazda sedan hit a minivan that happened to be transporting a Pakistani diplomat. The Mazda then lost control and went into a tailspin. It hit the Baum couple, sending Denise into a parked truck and running over Rubin.

With so many pedestrians always in motion in the city, pedestrian accidents are relatively common. But, the NYC Department of Transportation says the city is safer than other large cities in the country.

They say that for 2009, the last year for which their data is available, traffic fatalities were down 35%. They also say that pedestrians account for 52% of deaths in traffic accidents between 2005 and 2009. Continue reading


Tips for Preventing an Auto Accident

At Omrani & Taub, we see our share of careless drivers and the safe drivers they affect. We know that many people are cautious to avoid accidents at every turn, but still find themselves a party to life-changing crashes. In an effort to reduce the number of accidents, we offer some safe driving tips.

While you cannot prevent every motor vehicle accident, because you cannot control the other driver, you can take steps to reduce your risks of an automobile accident on New York roads.

  1. Drive with traffic. If traffic is moving along at 55 mph and you insist on going 45 mph, you may be rear ended (and cursed). On the other hand, if you are passing everyone like they were standing still, you could be the one to clip another driver. While you must follow traffic laws, be aware of your surroundings and how fast other drivers are moving. Keeping time with the average cars will help reduce your chances of a speed-related accident.
  2. Be aware of blind spots. Before pulling out into traffic or passing another vehicle, don’t just check your mirrors—look over your shoulder. Your mirrors can’t catch all of your surroundings, so don’t depend on them to do all the work.
  3. Keep your car maintained. Keep good tires on your vehicle and ensure it is running in good condition. Blow outs are a frequent cause of accidents. Also, you don’t want to end up stalled on the side of a busy freeway.
  4. Drive for the conditions. If it’s rainy, slow down and turn on your headlights. If it’s icy, allow for plenty of time to get to your destination. Different weather conditions demand different driving approaches. As the condition of the road changes, so should your driving approach.
  5. Put away distractions. Many people can’t help but look when they hear a text or email alert on their phone. But that split-second glance could cause a serious accident. Resist the temptation to give into distractions. Put your phone in your glove box if needed.
  6. Watch other drivers closely. Keep an eye on the cars around you. If someone is driving recklessly—keep your distance. When you are the safe driver,  being aware of everyone else will help keep you that way.

No matter how cautious you are, you can become the victim of another driver. If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact the attorneys of Omrani & Taub today. Call 212-529-7848 (that’s 212-LAWSUIT) to discuss your legal options.



Racing Mercedes Near Radio City, Piloted by Drunk Driver, Injures Five

Pedestrians in front of Radio City Music Hall got a show they weren’t expecting this past weekend. According to the NY Daily News, they witnessed two Mercedes’ racing before one of them slammed into a hotel shuttle bus, injuring several. “It was horrific,” said one witness of the scene.

The driver of the wrecked Mercedes was apparently racing his high-end car with another similar vehicle. He ran a red light and broadsided the shuttle, which was heading east on 50th street, bound for the airport. It was about 4:40 a.m. and as the passengers were headed to catch their early morning flights, Imran Ahmed of Jersey City, was apparently still celebrating from the night before.

One passenger of the bus was partially ejected and pinned underneath the vehicle. A group of bystanders lifted it off of him so he could escape.

“His bones had to be crushed,” said one of the good Samaritans. “I’m surprised he survived that.” Continue reading


Calls For NYC Cyclists to Adhere to Laws, Practice Greater Safety

Just a few weeks ago, we blogged about New York City bicyclists and how they may actually make the roads of the city safer. But in a heated and ongoing argument, others believe that the bikers are smug, don’t care about the safety of others, and disregard the rules set up to protect them and everyone else. In an article in the Brooklyn Ink this week, we see that other side of the coin. Cycling advocates will tell you that as the number of bikes increase, the number of accidents decrease. But no direct correlation between that cause and effect can be found. Instead, some caution, cyclists must be held responsible for the accidents and injuries they cause. Case in point: two cyclists on two separate occasions in San Francisco, hit and killed pedestrians crossing the street. In both cases, the bicyclist faced criminal charges. Continue reading


Despite Lack of Criminal Charges, Justice Can be Found for Accident Victims

A thoughtful piece in the NY Times this week examines the lack of criminal charges in pedestrian accidents. According to the article, the NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad only investigated 2 percent of the near-3,000 serious, nonfatal crashes in the city last year. While this can be chalked up to a lack of staffing, some say it simply isn’t good enough.

The accident squad is a crew of only 20. They are only tasked with investigating fatal accidents or those where it is likely the victim will die. In other cases, usually, no investigation takes place at all. This offers little solace to accident victims who are severely injured by reckless or distracted drivers.

In this city, where many of us put miles on our feet everyday, it’s not unusual for people to be hit as they cross the busy city streets. And often, when  the pedestrian is crossing with the light; the driver simply defends themselves with a simple, “I didn’t see them,” and carries on.

As pedestrians, we can follow all of the traffic safety rules, be cautious of where we walk and who we step in front of, and even wear reflective clothing at night. But if we are hit by a car, and we survive, there will likely be no criminal consequences for the driver—even if they were drunk. Continue reading


Carnival Worker’s Death Exposes Dangers

This past weekend, a man was killed as he worked at the Feast of Mother Cabrini festival in Brentwood. According to reports, the man was trying to change the music on the ride when it hit him in the head.

The Washington Post reports 22 year old Michael Austin was only a few weeks into his job with the amusement company when the accident occurred.

The Scat ride features baskets that spin on rotating arms. Austin went under the ride to do something and was hit when he stood up. He was transported to the hospital where he later died.

There were 16 people on the ride at the time and none of them were hurt. The owner said inspectors looked at the ride after the accident and found nothing wrong with it. He also notified the Labor Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about the accident.

Accidents like this are rare, particularly for the carnival workers who are used to working around these large and often dangerous machines. More often, a ride patron is the one who is injured.

Carnival rides are often used for decades after their manufacturing. They are hulking machines with large working parts and their whole purpose is to carry people through frightening and exciting movements—making it easy to see how they could turn dangerous in inexperienced hands or if there was a mechanical flaw. Continue reading


NYC in Top 20 Worst Drivers List

Allstate published their annual “Best Drivers Report” this week and New York City was nowhere to be seen. No, instead, NYC was on the other list, the worst drivers. Fortunately, we didn’t make it into the top ten, but instead were listed at number 20.

Each year, the insurance giant publishes this report, ranking cities for how often their drivers are involved in accidents. According to the report, the national average says the average driver will have an auto accident every 10 years. In NYC, the average driver is 41.1% more likely than the national average to be involved in an accident.

Topping the list was Washington D.C., where drivers are 112.1% more likely to be involved in an accident than the typical driver in the U.S. Baltimore, MD., Providence, RI., Hialeah, FL., and Glendale, CA. rounded out the top five areas with the worst drivers. Continue reading


Bicycles Make NYC Roads Safer?

There have been numerous headlines coming from various news sources in the NYC area lately, all discussing the frequency of bike accidents, how they are handled by the cops, and bicycle safety in general. The latest addition to the growing pile of work is an article in the Gothamist which asserts New York City streets are safer for pedestrians and everyone thanks to cyclists. The article is an answer to the Gawker piece entitled “First, Kill All the Cyclists,” where the writer is overly critical of bikes in the city, saying they are a “menace,” among other things. In the Gothamist piece, however, we learn that bikes may just be an asset to the city. New Yorkers on bikes have risen dramatically in recent years, doubling in number from 2007 to 2010. During that time, bike-on-pedestrian crashes actually dropped 9 percent. Also during that period, the number of cyclist-caused crashes fell. The writer goes on to add, that bike lanes make everyone safer: Bike lanes, which are on just over 4% of New York City’s streets, also make roads safer for everyone: according to the DOT [pdf], pedestrian crashes on streets with bike lanes are 40% less deadly. Bike lanes have “a calming effect, lowering speeds and increasing driver attention.” While the Gawker piece would have you think that pedestrians are dodging bikes at every turn, the Gothamist article asserts that pedestrians should be far more concerned with cars, saying they are 365 more dangerous than cyclists, adding that 60 percent of fatal pedestrian and cyclist accidents are caused by illegal driving behavior. By being super-critical of cyclists, the Gothamist warns, Gawker is only perpetuating the ambivalence towards bicycle accidents, an already-existing problem in the city and especially among the NYPD. Instead, New Yorkers should hold their cyclists as a symbol of the city rather than a black mark, something to be proud of rather than something to criticize. After all, if you are riding a bicycle and are hit by a drunk driver or merely a distracted driver, you are far more likely to suffering life-changing, or even life-ending, injuries than if you are in another vehicle. It is in a cyclist’s best interest to be the best possible driver and to be hyper-aware of all of their surroundings. If you are involved in a bike or pedestrian accident, you want your side of the story to be taken seriously. You deserve to have an advocate on your side. Our attorneys can help. Contact the New York accident attorneys of Omrani & Taub today for a consultation on your case. We can be reached at 212-529-7848 (that’s 212-LAWSUIT).