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White Plains New York Legal Blog

Avoiding car accidents in the winter

Drivers in New York who are preparing for the winter should keep these tips in mind. First, they should let a mechanic check all vehicle components for them, including the battery, spark plugs, ignition and brakes. A mechanic could also ensure the right antifreeze levels and tire pressure. Drivers' vehicles should be equipped with a tank of gas, fresh antifreeze and an emergency kit containing essentials like jumper cables, a first-aid kit and an ice scraper.

People should also be familiar with the safety features on their vehicles. These could be as basic as traction control, which will keep vehicles under control when accelerating on snowy or wet roads, or as complex as some of the latest driver assistance technology. The National Safety Council and the University of Iowa are educating drivers on these newer features through the My Car Does What? campaign.

Tips for safe winter driving

New York drivers often dread the winter. Not only is the weather cold and wet, but it also makes area roads slippery and dangerous. That's why motorists should take extra precautions to stay safe.

The good news is that many new vehicles now come with advanced safety technologies that can help drivers avoid weather-related accidents. For example, traction control systems help vehicles maintain traction when roadways are covered with snow and ice. These systems are particularly helpful when drivers attempt to accelerate after a stop or when they drive up slippery hills or inclines.

Workplace conditions are improving for transgender workers

The Civil Rights Act protects workers in New York and around the country against gender-based discrimination. However, the landmark 1964 law did not specifically address the issue of transgender individuals, and the courts have been inconsistent when tasked with determining whether or not Title VII protections apply to them. While the courts and legislators continue to debate the issue, the business community seems to be more than willing to move forward in this area. Indications that things are improving in the workplace for transgender individuals include improvements in the Corporate Equality Index. The CEI is a ranking of Fortune 500 company policies for LGBT workers that is released each year by the Human Rights Campaign. Only 3 percent of the companies included in the index had nondiscrimination policies that addressed gender identity in 2002, but that figure has since risen to 83 percent. The 2018 CEI also reveals that most of America's largest employers now offer their workers transgender-inclusive health insurance plans.

3 common causes of bus accidents

Many people choose to ride the bus as a main form of transportation. It is cheaper than a taxi, or even filling up a car every week, and it gives some individuals a sense of community. However, when a bus crashes, the riders can sustain serious injuries.

According the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were nearly 120,000 injuries due to bus crashes in 2016. What are the most common causes of bus accidents? What is the most common type of bus accident injury?

Brake Safety Week sidelines almost 5,000 commercial vehicles

Everyone in New York has to share the road with commercial vehicles, and well-maintained brakes play a significant role in the safe operation of trucks and buses. To promote compliance, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance organized a week-long inspection spree throughout North America. During Brake Safety Week in 2018, inspectors checked 35,080 commercial vehicles, and 4,955 of them had to be placed out of service for safety violations.

Inspectors paid particular attention to anti-lock braking systems. Out of 26,143 vehicles with air-brakes, they took 2,176 vehicles or 8.3 percent out of service. Among 17,857 trailers that required ABS, 2,224 or 12.5 percent failed their inspections. Inspectors also evaluated 5,354 trucks with hydraulic brakes, and 234 or 4.4 percent of those were taken out of service.

Driving safely in bright sunlight

Bright sunlight can cause a hazard for New York drivers when they are unable to see other vehicles and road signs. Drivers can take several steps to reduce the risk of being temporarily blinded by bright sunlight.

Drivers should always keep a pair of high-quality sunglasses in a vehicle for times when the sun obscures their vision. Using a car's sun visors is another proven way to drive safely in bright sunlight. A car's visors can be moved to block sunlight from the side windows as well as the windshield.

Tesla issues several safety claims on its Autopilot system

Many New York motorists are interested in autonomous driving technologies, especially for the safety boost that they could provide. When human error is taken out of the driving equation, car accidents could decline dramatically. So far, however, it's not clear how well the existing semi-autonomous systems perform in improving roadway safety. In Tesla's recently published voluntary report, the automaker claims that drivers who use its Autopilot system to automate some driving functions are less likely to be involved in a car accident.

In addition, the report claims that Tesla drivers using Autopilot are far less likely to be involved in an auto crash than the general population. Tesla notes that it registered one accident or related event for every 3.34 million miles driven by an Autopilot-using driver. On the other hand, Tesla drivers with the software turned off traveled 1.92 miles between similar incidents. The severity of the car accidents was not revealed. It was also not indicated whether the crashes involved injuries or who was at fault.

Car accidents increase along with legalized marijuana

New Yorkers have repeatedly shown widespread support for cannabis legalization. In fact, a working group has been formed to write a bill to make recreational marijuana legal in the state. Still, many drivers are concerned about the potential for roadway accidents caused by drivers under the influence. Some have urged for more research to determine safe and unsafe levels of cannabis exposure for drivers, much like the legal limits for blood-alcohol content that regulate drunk driving.

The National Transportation Safety Board warned in general about the danger of drivers impaired by drugs. In particular, the board cited one March 2017 case in which a Texas pickup truck driver ran into a church bus, killing 12 people. The driver was found to be under the influence of drugs, including sedatives and marijuana. Drugs more powerful than marijuana were also involved in the crash. However, the NTSB urged more research and law enforcement involvement in developing clear guidelines to hold impaired drivers accountable.

Groups call for mandatory crash avoidance systems on large trucks

Some truckers in New York may have crash avoidance systems in their vehicles. However, safety advocates are urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate crash avoidance technology on all heavy trucks. The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended such a course of action on at least 10 occasions since the late 1990s.

Since the NHTSA has not proposed any regulations along these lines, the agency has been the subject of criticism. The NTSB, an independent board, cannot act on its proposal. Safety advocates who have brought this issue up have received attention from several congressional members. Some elected officials say that Congress should take action so that safety concerns are not left to market forces.

Understaffing in nursing homes: causes and effects

Nursing home abuse occurs more often than children or friends of older individuals may know. One of the reasons this type of abuse or neglect can happen is because of understaffing within a care facility.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), elder abuse often goes unreported and under-reported. For every known case of abuse, there are 24 unknown.

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