Archive for February, 2014

New Haven Crash Injury Risk Heightened in Winter

At least once every day since the beginning of December, there has been at least one, multiple-vehicle pile-up somewhere in the country, according to a recent USA Today analysis.

That includes the recent  27-car pile-up on I-95 in Greenwich that resulted in six injuries and led to a three-hour closure of the Interstate. (You may also recall a few years ago when state route 110 was the site of a 50-car pileup, also in December, in which 46 people were injured.)

The New Haven personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli recognize that harsh winter weather conditions are largely to blame. However, we can’t discount the fact that far too many drivers don’t respond appropriately to driving conditions.

Some venture out on bad roads, despite the fact that their travel is unnecessary. Some fail to ensure their vehicle is prepared for the conditions (i.e., proper tire inflation, enough windshield wiper fluid, working brakes, etc.). But beyond that, some motorists don’t tailor their driving to the conditions. Specifically, drivers don’t slow down enough.

Many forget that the posted speed limit is made in consideration of optimal driving conditions. If the roads are wet, snowy or icy, people have to drive defensively. That involves allowing more distance from the vehicle in front of you, and more time to stop if you need to do so.

Multi-Vehicle Crashes Happen Quickly

Recently, video from a traffic camera in Wisconsin captured a winter weather pileup in real time. The reel shows three lanes of heavy traffic moving fairly slowly through heavy snow. But then, several vehicles traveling faster than all the rest speed past. They skid. They collide. They block the road. Soon after, several other vehicles traveling too fast for the conditions slam into those vehicles. Within a matter of seconds, police say some 70 vehicles are involved in the crash.

In some cases, these incidents result in deaths. More frequently, they end in serious injuries that necessitate astronomical medical expenses, lost wages and vehicle damage. A 2002 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that the average crash with a critically injured survivor costs about $1.5 million total.

A more recent calculation by AAA indicated that the cost of a fatal crash is roughly $6 million, while an injury-only wreck costs, on average, $126,000. (The disparity between the $1.5 million and $126,000 figures can be explained by noting that not all crashes result in permanent or serious injuries; The $126,000 figure is the average for all injuries, not just those that are critical.)

Still, the costs are sizable no matter how they are calculated.

For the victims, these cases can be difficult from a liability standpoint. A lot of times following a multiple-vehicle crash, insurance companies will conduct their own investigations, side-by-side with police, to determine which parties were at-fault. However, untangling chain reaction incidents can be tough, and it is sometimes impossible to figure out who was the first to make a mistake.

What you can bet on, though, is that insurance companies are out to reduce their own liability however they can. This is why anyone involved in a multi-vehicle accident should contact an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible.

Given the high costs of involvement in such an incident, it’s in your best interest to have an experienced advocate on your side from the start.

Contact the New Haven Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli by calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or visiting

Hartford Car Accident Prevention Aim of Technology

Tragedy struck recently in Danbury, a small town just 40 minutes outside of Hartford. There, officials say a three-vehicle crash on Route 53 resulted in three deaths.

Authorities say the 45-year-old driver of a Honda Accord lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center line, crashed head-on into a Buick Lucerne, which was then pushed into a box truck.

The two people in the Buick, both in their late-70s, were taken to the hospital where they later died. Also pronounced dead was the driver of the Accord.

The crash remains under investigation. The Hartford personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli note drivers must always be held accountable for causing serious or fatal traffic collisions, even as technology continues to be deployed in an effort to reduce the risks. In particular, vehicle-to-vehicle communication devices are nearing the marketplace.

The hope is that such devices will be able to successfully intervene in future would-be crashes. Today, that future looks closer than ever.

News of this crash happened just days before the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it will begin taking steps to enable vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) for light vehicles. This technology would allow vehicles to “talk” to one another in exchanging basic safety data, such as position and speed. These transmissions can be exchanged up to 10 times every second.

There is no personal information or tracking details exchanged in the transmissions. Nor is there any identification of one vehicle to another. Rather, the communications relate to basic safety information.

Lauded by safety advocates, V2V basically works like this:

Normally, a driver’s only means of avoiding a possible wreck is to see the danger and quickly react with evasive action to avoid it.

With cars that have V2V radio devices, the car itself would sense the danger. The application of brakes in one car would send an electronic signal to other cars nearby, and those vehicles would then react immediately and automatically.

Additionally, vehicles could engage in something like “group discussions.” Facts about traffic conditions, direction and speed could be sent rapid-fire to other surrounding cars.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was recently quoted as saying that this technology could potentially prevent as much as 80 percent of the traffic deaths that occur each year. In the U.S., we lose more than 32,000 people in motor vehicle crashes each year. Every 16 minutes in this country, somebody dies in a traffic crash.

In Connecticut, we’re talking 220 to 320 people annually (the number who died in 2011 and 2010, respectively).

This devices would also potentially prevent a huge number of serious injuries. The NHTSA reports that more than 5.3 million crashes are reported to police every year in the U.S. Of those, approximately 3.8 million involved major property damage and more than 2.2 million resulted in some type of injury.

Automakers have been developing V2V technology for years. The NHTSA is wrapping up on a year-long pilot program in Michigan. Agency officials say once that period is over, it will complete a research report that will estimate the cost, privacy, security and technical feasibility of a formal requirement. Then the agency will open the issue for public discussion before making an actual proposal.

Technology of course wouldn’t prevent people from engaging in distractions behind the wheel or driving while drunk or too tired. However, if they could instantaneously alert to the danger – and further initiate an immediate mechanical reaction to that danger – we may all be safer for it.

Contact the Hartford Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli by calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or visiting