New York Personal Injury Law Blog

Types of vehicle recalls

When safety defects on vehicles are identified, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues recalls to get the dangerous cars and trucks off New York roads. Recalls are actually quite common, as the NHTSA has recalled more than 390 million vehicles for various safety defects and faulty vehicle components since 1966.

There are two general types of recalls. The first type of recall is initiated by the manufacturer when a safety defect is identified. In many cases, a manufacturer-initiated recall can involve multiple makes and models especially if they all share the same faulty or dangerous component. The registered owners of the recalled vehicles will receive a letter from the manufacturer detailing when, where and how the problem will be corrected. Otherwise, vehicle owners who believe their vehicle may have a safety issue can report the problem to the NHTSA. The agency will analyze the complaint and may open an investigation that could result in a recall.

Contradictions about distracted driving

It is clear that distracted driving is dangerous and related to a significant number of accidents on roads in New York and across the country. Despite the evidence, there are contradictions among people's opinions. While many of them say distracted driving related to cell phone use is dangerous and should be illegal, many still do it and claim a high degree of confidence in their ability to avoid accidents.

The statistics come from a Progressive Insurance study conducted in August 2017. The survey recorded the responses of approximately 1,000 drivers aged 18 years or older who were not Progressive customers. Their responses clearly demonstrated the contradictions in opinion. In the survey, 65 percent of respondents said that looking at phones was a leading cause of accidents, and 83 percent said that police should be able to pull a driver over for that violation alone. Despite those high numbers, 34 percent also indicated that they were very confident in their ability to text while driving.

NHTSA study highlights the benefits of safety systems

New York residents who drive older vehicles may be wise to consider trading them in for something more modern according to a 2013 research paper from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While properly maintained older cars can provide years of faithful service, they offer far less protection in a collision according to NHTSA researchers who studied fatal crash statistics gathered by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System between 2005 and 2011.

The researchers discovered that the likelihood of a driver being killed in a car accident increases according to the age of the vehicle involved. Drivers of cars 18 or more years old lost their lives 71 percent more often that motorists behind the wheel of cars manufactured during the past few years, and the newer the car, the greater the likelihood of survival. The chances of being killed in a crash in a 10-year-old car are 19 percent higher according to the NHTSA data, but this figure drops to 10 percent when the vehicles involved in an accident are between four and seven years old.

Distracted driving is a growing problem in New York

Distracted driving accidents claim thousands of lives around the country each year, and the problem has become more serious in recent years as Americans have become more reliant on their cellphones. In 2013 alone, distracted driving crashes killed 3,154 road users and left more than 400,000 others injured according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but road safety advocates say that this kind of accident is underreported and that the true figures are likely much higher.

There are three types of distractions that drivers should be aware of. Cognitive distraction occurs when the mind wanders because of a preoccupation or conversation while visual distractions cause drivers to look away from the road ahead. Drivers are manually distracted when they take one or both of their hands off the steering wheel, and cellphone use while driving can cause all three driving distractions simultaneously.

The fall season can cause hazardous road conditions

While many New York residents love the fall weather, it can actually be dangerous for drivers. This is because the fall season is often accompanied by a change in weather and road conditions. Those who do not take the seasonal changes into account when driving could be more at risk for causing a car accident.

As the temperatures begin to drop, the leaves begin to change color and fall. Leaf litter that covers the roadways can hide certain road hazards, such as potholes or major bumps. Further, when it rains, the leaves can soak up the water and make the roads as slick as ice. Drivers also have to watch out for pedestrians, bicyclists and other motorists who may be paying more attention to the changing leaves than to where they are going. Rain itself can be dangerous as it often pools on top of roads, creating a hydroplane risk.

Safety experts say slip and fall risk is underestimated

New York is sometimes called a walking city. Unfortunately, walking can often be a risky business -- even indoors. Slip and fall risks can exist anywhere there is pedestrian traffic, and a new report says that many organizations underestimate the risk of slips and falls at their facilities.

The Walk Zone Safety Report from spill control manufacturer New Pig surveyed professionals about safety in workplaces and public facilities. The report states that 46 percent of respondents said that they believe their facility has no more than three same-level fall risk areas. However, the survey found fall risk locations in excess of 10.

Warning system cuts car accident and injury rates

A technology shown to cut the rate of car accidents could benefit New York City drivers. The technology is generally called a lane departure warning system. These devices monitor the lanes on a road and provide a beep or seat vibration when the vehicle begins leaving the lane. If the driver fails to respond, some of these devices can also use braking or steering systems to keep the car in its lane. Research carried out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety confirmed the system produces lower rates of car collision and serious injury.

Early studies on lane departure systems looked at Swedish drivers and U.S. truckers to find a 50 percent reduction in the rate of car crashes. The IIHS study showed much lower, yet still significant, reductions. Cars outfitted with the warning systems were more likely to avoid a head-on collision and other crash types the devices are designed to prevent. The devices were even more effective at preventing crashes involving serious injury.

Almost 80,000 Mazda vehicles recalled for dangerous air bags

Many owners of Mazda vehicles in New York will need to visit their dealerships for repairs due to a manufacturer safety recall. The problem is the result of faulty air bag inflators produced by Takata. Similar faults have forced 19 automakers to issue approximately 70 million recalls nationwide.

According to information prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the PSPI-6 air bag inflator could cause injury and death. Extensive exposure to high humidity and temperatures degrades the propellant in the inflator. A rupture during air bag deployment could shoot metal pieces throughout the vehicle.

Crash injury prevention: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

Like most people, you probably don't spend too much time thinking about car accidents. You likely already know how important it is to abstain from drinking and driving, to buckle up and to drive the speed limit. If you are a parent of a teen who has a driver's license, you may worry a bit more than childless individuals about the increased likelihood of accident, but for the most part, you may not give the issues of motor vehicle crashes much thought.

This, unfortunately, might be a big mistake, one that is potentially both dangerous and costly. In the United States, car accidents are a leading cause of injury, resulting in the hospitalization of more than 200,000 Americans a year, with an approximate lifetime medical cost for crash injuries of $57,000 each! That's a terribly big price tag for being unprepared! So is there anything you can do to help lower your chances of suffering severe motor vehicle accident injuries?

GM recalls nearly 700,000 pickup trucks

New York City motorists should be aware that General Motors is recalling nearly 700,000 vehicles over a power steering issue. The recall affects 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.

According to a safety recall report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a software problem can cause the pickup trucks to suddenly lose and regain electric power steering assistance while the vehicles are in motion. This could cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle and have an accident. The agency reports that the problem is most likely to occur when the vehicle is engaged in a low-speed turn.

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