New York Driver Responsibility Program

Driver Responsibility ProgramIf a driver is convicted of certain traffic violations in New York or accumulate 6 or more points within an 18 month period, the driver must pay a fee over a 3 year period. This is an addition to any other penalties or surcharges that the driver must pay for committing the traffic violation. The purpose of the Driver Responsibility Program is to prevent repeated behaviors from problem, high-risk, drivers and to improve the safety in traffic.

Drivers must pay into the Driver Responsibility Program if they:

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The New York Department of Motor Vehicles Point System

motor vehicle point systemThe New York Department of Motor Vehicles issues points for those who commit certain types of traffic violations on their license. This point system is designed to identify high-risk drivers who commit multiple traffic violations within a short amount of time. While many drivers make mistakes and have a few points on their license, this does not mean the DMV will suspend or even revoke a license; however, there are some violations that raise red flags and can even raise the insurance rates of the driver.

Bad driving habits will not only lead to getting points on a license, many insurers also have their own point system. When renewing a policy, if they find something as little as a speeding ticket, it could actually raise the insurance premiums. In extreme cases, insurance companies may even cancel the plan if they find the driver is too dangerous to insure since they are at a higher chance of getting in an accident. This will also make it difficult to find a replacement of the insurer and driving without insurance is illegal and could lead to losing the license all together.

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The Legal Precedent “Rule of Two”

pedestrian right a wayAccording to the New York Times, 290 pedestrians were killed due to traffic accidents. In part of Mayor De Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign to end traffic fatalities, a new law called “Intro 238,” or “Cooper’s Law”(named for the 9-year-old boy that was killed by a cab driver), is designed to make drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists who have the right of way, “guilty of infraction.” One would think this particular law would already be in place, but many drivers who killed a pedestrian in a car accident would follow the legal precedent (an earlier event that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in similar circumstances) of the “rule of two.”

Before this law, the “rule of two” stipulated that there must be two misdemeanors for a charge of criminal negligence to be brought against a driver who kills. The precedent itself discouraged law enforcement from properly investigating, charging and prosecuting drivers who kill. The biggest issue with this precedent stems from the fact that killing someone without violating two other traffic laws would mean the driver would not be held liable for the death.

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Bicycle Accident Protocol

bike accident protocolNew York State is a “No-Fault” state when it comes to insurance law for car accidents. Many bicyclists who are hit by cars are unaware that injuries and property damage are actually covered by the car owner’s insurance, up to $50,000 in medical bills and $10,000 in property damage. While this insurance is in place to ensure the healthy well-being of the bicyclist, many bicyclists leave the scene of the accident if they do not feel hurt, or the car leaves the scene before exchanging insurance information. While the bicyclist and their property may seem to be in good enough shape to pick up and leave after the accident, it is never a good idea to do so. If you have been the victim of a car accident, it is important to follow these steps.

Dial 911 or have a witness dial it if the crash is too severe to get to your phone. Talk to any witnesses that are available to get their name and number so the police department can contact them to help with any questions on the accident report. The driver may be inclined to leave or give you faulty insurance information, so make sure the driver remains at the scene of the accident to give their information to the police.

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Bicyclist Safety: Vision Zero, Operation Safe Cycle & Citi Bike

bikesafetyNew York was recently dubbed the most bike-friendly city by Bicycling Magazine. While in the process of undergoing a variety of initiatives to improve the health and safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative to the most recent Operation Safe Cycle, New York is doing everything it can to change the culture of the road for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike. Even though there has been a decline in bicyclist fatalities in recent years (18 in 2012, 12 in 2013, and 12 so far this year), New York is continually attempting to lower those numbers to zero.

Vision Zero states that the primary cause or contributing factor to pedestrian fatalities involve dangerous driving choices; 53 percent are driving choices, 30 percent are pedestrian choices, and 17 percent are a combination of the two. As a result, it is clear that in order for the culture to change, everyone needs to be a part of it. By reducing the speed limit throughout the city, not only do the odds of survival in a crash for pedestrians and bicyclists significantly increase, but it also allows for greater reaction times. In fact, someone who is hit at 20mph has a 95 percent chance of survival, whereas someone who is hit at 40mph has less than a 30 percent chance. Other key points of Vision Zero that are geared towards the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists include ongoing education, safe street design, and dedicated enforcement.

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In a Single-Car Accident?

singlecaraccidentA common misconception of motorists is that single-car accidents only occur to careless drivers. In fact, not only are single-car accidents just as common as multiple-car accidents, they are just as fatal. Many factors can contribute to a single-car accident and this does not exclude the “perfect” safe driver. Unexpected factors can also cause a single-car accident, such as wildlife in the surrounding area, adverse weather conditions, or even a cracked windshield.

There are two broad categories that fall within what classifies an accident as a single-car accident. These categories are:

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What You Should NOT do After a Car Accident

Wrong thing to do in a car accidentStatistically, almost every driver on the road will be involved in a car accident at least once in their lives. Even if these drivers are the safest and most cautious defensive drivers in the world, there will unfortunately still be someone else behind the wheel of another vehicle who will carelessly run a stop sign or drive whilst distractedly texting or talking on their cell phone. After an accident, it is always important to follow the proper procedures, including making sure everyone is okay, contacting the police, and correctly documenting the driver’s information and everything you recall about the crash.

While the proper steps involved in handling a car accident may seem self-explanatory, there are also several things one should never do. It may come as a surprise to you to learn how several common mistakes are repeatedly made over and over again. These typically tend to be avoidable mistakes that could eventually make it difficult to obtain the full amount of compensation for the crash that the victim may deserve. The following are three examples of what NOT to do after a car accident.

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Good Samaritan Laws of New York Following a Car Accident

Good samaritan first aidIf a car accident is witnessed by a bystander, would they help? In today’s society, the general public is oftentimes reluctant to help save someone’s life since many individuals are afraid of getting sued by the injured party. While they feel they did the right thing in potentially saving this person’s life, many victims may not see this and try to blame the good samaritan for making things worse. Good Samaritan laws are meant to protect those who are acting in kindness with no expectation of reward, but every state has different Good Samaritan laws and it is important to be aware of how each state interprets this law.

Good Samaritan laws are meant to protect the general public and medically trained professionals from litigation when following normal procedures to assist a medical emergency even when they are not working. In fact, in states such as Vermont and Minnesota, it is illegal to not help a victim if someone trained to assist in the situation witnesses the accident. This is due to the survival chances of a victim suffering cardiac arrest dropping 7 to 10 percent every minute of delay until defibrillation (American Heart Association).

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Car Accidents: The Leading Cause of Fatalities in Teens

SeatbeltsafetySafe Kids Worldwide conducted a survey of 1,000 teens to learn why more teens die in motor vehicle accidents than any other cause of death. In 2012, nearly 2,500 teenage drivers and passengers died in car accidents. Even in 2010, the leading cause of deaths of teenagers between the ages 13 to 19 was because of motor vehicle accidents, while homicides and suicides placed second and third on the list. With all the time, money and effort that the government has put into trying to lower these figures over the past 14 years, there has been a noticeable decrease in the teenage car accident fatality rate by approximately 56 percent. However, there is still a major factor that needs to be addressed: seatbelts.

Forgetting to buckle up is not an excuse for failing to wear a seatbelt, but this particular study shows that one in four teenagers never buckle up when they enter a car with a teen driver. Nearly half (49 percent) of the teens riding in the car as a passenger feels unsafe if a teen is behind the wheel, which is understandable given that having a single teenage passenger in the car increases the risk of a car accident by 44 percent. Two passengers nearly doubles this risk, while three or more teen passengers increases the risk of a crash by almost four times. So why not buckle up?

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Child-Safety Seats and What You Need to Know

ChildsafetyseatThere have been a number of child-safety seat recalls in the news recently, particularly from GRACO, so it is crucial to stay informed about whether your seat is up to standard. Worryingly, approximately 80 percent of child-safety seats are typically installed incorrectly due to bewildering and/or incorrect instructions. From rear-facing car seats for infants to safety seats designed especially for toddlers, there are several misconceptions about car seats that could potentially lead to a serious injury in a car accident if not considered.

One aspect of the child-safety seat that no one tends to think about is the fact that these seats and bases expire over time, since these seats are projected to last roughly six years after they are first manufactured. Plastics and metals can gradually deteriorate after prolonged exposure to extreme heat and cold. The date that the seat was manufactured will be located somewhere on the seat and, if there is no expiration date present, it can be assumed that six years is how long it will last before it needs to be replaced with a new model.

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