As anyone who drives on the major highways and parkways in the Westchester County area and other counties in the lower Hudson Valley such as I-684, I-287 and I-87, for example) is aware, the average driver on these highways will: follow too closely; change lanes without signaling; approach the rear of another vehicle quickly and change lanes at the last second; drive at an excessive speed; drive while distracted by texting, emailing or speaking on a cell phone, and in general drive aggressively. In an analysis conducted by the Journal News this past week, there was an examination of more than 107,000 vehicle crashes in the Lower Hudson Valley between August 1, 2011 and July 31, 2014. The majority of accidents occur on a straight section of roadway without traffic controls.
25% of crashes are due to rear end collisions. Of those types of accidents, at least half involve a sports utility vehicle. This is not surprising, in that due to the added weight of these vehicles, the stopping distance from application of the brakes to a complete stop is greater than with a lighter passenger vehicle. In these rear end collisions, 15% occurred when the driver was completely stopped, and 14% happened when the motorist was stopping or slowing down in traffic. 16% of traffic accidents in the Hudson Valley occurred at a traffic signal, 7% were at a stop sign and 5% occurred in a no-passing zone. Surprisingly, accidents involving commercial vehicles were involved in only 1 % of the collisions.
The most common accident occurred in clear and dry weather; with a youthful driver returning home from work, driving an SUV; who was driving while distracted or following too closely, and on a Friday.
Weather conditions were a factor in 17% of collisions involving wet roadways, and in 5% of crashes with snow and ice on the pavement. The most prevalent reason for accidents in the lower Hudson Valley are following too closely and distracted driving, which together account for 35% of all crashes, more than failure to yield, slippery roads, speeding and unsafe backing up combined.
There were 188 fatal accidents in the region over the three years of the study. Approximately one quarter of these fatalities involved a pedestrian. Operators of motorcycles were involved in 17% of the fatalities. More than 20% of the vehicles in fatal crashes were driven by motorists in their twenties, and older drivers (older than 69) are involved in only 8% of crashes, despite the fact that they constitute 12 % of registered drivers in the region.
It is clear that as in the rest of the country, distracted driving, and in particular, texting while driving is a significant safety issue in the lower Hudson Valley. Despite the fact that the penalties for texting while driving under the New York State Traffic Law have been significantly strengthened so that a conviction for this the infraction now results in 5 points on a driver’s license, this has not been a sufficient deterrent.
Contact the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633 if you are injured in a car crash, motorcycle collision, truck accident, construction accident or are the victim of a defective product or medication for a free consultation with an experienced and dedicated litigator to discuss your potential case in detail.