Archive for the ‘Auto Accidents’ Category

Hartford Traffic Deaths Should be a Primary Safety Focus

The elimination of motor vehicle deaths in any city is a tall order. It’s seems almost impossible in a place like New York City. Yet, Mayor Bill de Blasio is demanding just that, ordering police personnel to focus more of their energies on traffic enforcement – as opposed to violent crime reduction and enforcement.

The strategy has been controversial. It’s not that lowering violent crime isn’t a worthy or important cause. However, de Blasio has a point, particularly when you begin to look at the number of people who suffer as a result of motor vehicle crashes versus those who are victimized by violent crime.

First, our Hartford accident attorneys would point out that the number of Connecticut homicides in 2012 was 143. That’s according to annual uniform crime reporting statistics from the state. Meanwhile, the National Highway Transportation & Safety Administration indicates that the number of traffic fatalities that same year was 220.

That means the number of traffic deaths Connecticut is 54 percent higher than the number of murders.

This was true even though the number of traffic fatalities in this state dropped by 100 from 2011 to 2012. (The number of traffic deaths for the state in 2010 was 224, on par with what we saw again in 2012.) State law enforcement officials were quoted recently as saying that the higher traffic death figure was more in line with what we normally expect to see.

Now let’s explore the number of injuries stemming from traffic crashes. In 2008, state transportation officials report there were more than 36,300 injuries attributed to traffic crashes statewide. That same year, uniform crime figures reveal there were 685 rapes, 4,050 robberies, 6,000 aggravated assaults and 500 arson reports. That brings the total number of victims of violent crime in Connecticut that year to about 11,200. That means the number of traffic accident victims was nearly 2.5 times higher than the number of violent crime victims.

Again, this is not to belittle the suffering that violent crime victims endure. But in solely looking at the impact in terms of sheer volume, it’s seems clear where our resources are most needed.

What de Blasio has proposed is a combination of actions that would ultimately slash the number of traffic fatalities to almost zero. Among those measures:

  • Reducing citywide speed limits from 30 miles-per-hour to 25 miles-per-hour;
  • Expanding the red-light camera and speed-tracking camera programs;
  • Bolstering the presence of traffic-enforcing law officers;
  • Placing devices in taxi cabs that would automatically turn off the meter if the driver exceeds the appropriate speed limit.

No similar proposals are pending in Connecticut, but it seems there are a number of areas that we could stand to improve. For starters, the NHTSA reports our statewide in-vehicle restraint use is at 88 percent. There is no reason this shouldn’t be nearer 100 percent. What’s more, fines for those who fail to properly buckle in children are only a maximum of $60. If state legislators place significant value on the lives of our children, this too requires attention.

Beyond that, the percentage of alcohol-related fatalities in Connecticut increased by 13 percent from 2002 to 2011, cited as a factor in 45 percent of traffic deaths in 2011. Authorities need to prioritize this matter immediately with enhanced patrols and more sobriety checkpoints.

A combination of these effort could go a long way in helping us to further drive down the number of traffic deaths.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation.

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

New Haven Drowsy Driving Accidents a Preventable Risk

If you find yourself continually struggling to wake up and drive to work every day because you are too tired, you aren’t alone. Around a third of all Americans are sleep deprived as many people juggle busy lives and have work and home tasks that interfere with getting a good night sleep.

Unfortunately, car accident lawyers in New Haven know that being overtired on a regular basis is dangerous because it significantly increases the risk of an auto accident. A person who is awake for too long could experience similar levels of impairment as someone who is drunk and driving, and you could become involved in an accident that endangers yourself and other motorists.

When you find yourself at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, it is important to take steps to fix the problem and get a good night’s rest. The Fiscal Times has provided some tips from sleep experts that can help you to get a better night sleep and that can make it possible to catch up on your sleep debt in a smart way.

Take These Steps to Avoid a Drowsy Driving Accident

The best way to avoid a drowsy driving crash is to make sure you are well-rested. Some steps to take to help you do that include the following:

  • Turn off your electronic devices well before bed. If you spend the minutes and hours before going to sleep looking at a bright screen on a tablet or phone, the white light from these devices can mimic sunlight and can trick your brain into thinking that it is daytime and time to be awake. As a result, you may have a much harder time falling asleep and may not get enough rest to be alert and awake the next morning.
  • Exercise vigorously but do it early. You don’t want to exercise too close to bedtime as this can cause your body to be too alert and awake to get a good night sleep. However, it is a good idea to get an exercise routine in because the brain will be more apt to allow the body to shut off and go to bed if the brain believes the body has worked hard that day.
  • Avoid food and drink that could interfere with your sleep routine. Alcohol is one big culprit, since drinking alcohol can cause you to wake up throughout the night as the body metabolizes the sugar in the drink. Spicy foods and caffeinated beverages can also affect your ability to go to sleep. Caffeine, in fact, interferes with your sleep patterns even if you have consumed the drink as much as six hours before bedtime.
  • Stick to a steady bedtime. You should try to be consistent with the time that you go to bed and the time that you wake up so your body can get into a routine. Although it is tempting to sleep in really late on the weekends in order to get the rest you didn’t get during the week, this can actually make your fatigue worse on Monday morning. A smarter way to catch up over the weekend is to take short naps.

Following these steps is a smart way to get more sleep and to be better rested. Taking sleeping pills, on the other hand, is usually a bad choice. Not only can you be left feeling groggy and perhaps not be able to drive safely in the morning because of it, but recent studies have also shown that those who take sleeping pills tend to fall asleep just 20 minutes before those who don’t.

Auto accident lawyers in New Haven can help. Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli by calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

New England Auto Accident Risks: Who’s Watching the Watchdog?

Car accident lawyers in New Haven know that backover accidents cause the deaths of about 100 children under the age of five every single year in the United States. This is a serious problem and one that Congress ordered the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to address. Back in 2008, Congress told the NHTSA to establish regulations that would require auto makers to include backover cameras in all new vehicles.

The NHTSA, however, has delayed the backover camera rule five times since 2008. Safety advocates have grown so concerned with the NHTSA’s lack of effort to move forward and require this life-saving technology that a lawsuit was actually filed against the agency in September of 2013. A panel was also convened by the United States Senate to review the NHTSA’s actions and determine if the agency has been doing enough.

Is the NHTSA Issuing Regulations at a Reasonable Pace?

The NHTSA first came into existence in 1966. In the decade after the administrative agency was created, more than 50 different important regulations passed, creating a safety framework that still largely remains in place today.

In recent years, however, the NHTSA has taken much less of a proactive role and instead has taken a reactive role. Instead of creating lots of regulations and imposing many requirements on automakers, Auto Blog reports that the NHTSA is now primarily focused on recalling cars after safety issues arises.  This has some lawmakers very concerned. Senator Richard Blumenthal, for example, has indicated that the NHTSA “had to do by recall what it should have been able to do by rule.”

The NHTSA has not only failed to take initiative and create new regulations of its own accord, but even failed to create rules when ordered by Congress like with the backover cameras. The latest news indicate that the next delay may be as long as 18 additional months, which is a huge amount of time to wait since this requirement has already been delayed for so long.

The NHTSA’s delay of this regulation, and the agency’s failure to be more proactive in establishing new requirements, likely has to do with fierce resistance by auto makers. Whenever regulations are proposed, automakers stress the high costs and generally fight vigorously in opposition.

Safety advocates, however, are applying pressure from the other direction, urging the NHTSA to do much more. Safety experts not only want the NHTSA to follow through on the mandate for backup cameras but also want the agency to do other things like introducing rules on electronic controls and upgrading tire safety standards as the current requirements are described as outdated.

Although these are legitimate concerns and safety advocates may have grounds for arguing that the NHTSA should do more, not everyone agrees. Some lawmakers point to the dramatic reduction on vehicle deaths that has occurred over the last four decades and use this to argue that there is no need for additional requirements.

However, the reduction in deaths was largely due to the NHTSA forcing car manufacturers to innovate on safety and incorporate new safety features. It stands to reason, therefore, that if the NHTSA became more proactive at requiring new safety devices, even more lives could be saved by the improved features in vehicles.

Auto accident lawyers in Hartford can help. Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli by calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Concerns About Liability Prompt Hartford to Reduce Take-Home City Vehicles

Hartford provides city vehicles to certain employees, but has significantly decreased the number of take-home vehicles in recent weeks after several high-profile accidents. In March, there were 73 vehicles used by city employees, but the Courant reports this number has been reduced to 45 and may decline further.

The mayor cited financial issues for cutting back on the number of take-home city vehicles given to police officers and general government employees. But there is also another reason for scaling back the fleet: concerns about the city’s liability. Auto accident lawyers in Hartford know special rules apply to suing the government after an auto accident, but that there are circumstances under which the city could be liable for employee crashes.

Accidents in City Vehicles Raise Calls for Change

Drivers in take-home city vehicles are not permitted to allow others to drive their cars and are not supposed to use the vehicles for personal use. Many employees, however, have been violating these rules.

The mayor’s chief of staff, for example, was caught using a city vehicle without permission and was charged with interfering with police. The city’s deputy public works director was charged with drunk driving after she totaled a city-issued car and injured another driver in an accident. The Courant also reported on an accident involving the city’s corporation counselor and acting chief operating officer. This accident was the fault of another motorist, but the city-issued vehicle was damaged and the car was being driven by the city employee’s fiancé when the accident occurred at 2:17 a.m. While the driver was another city employee, his operation of the vehicle still violated policies stipulating that “commuter” cars are supposed to be driven only by the assigned employee and only during normal duty hours.

What if an Accident Occurs in a City Vehicle?

With so many recent incidents in city-issued take-home cars, it is easy to understand why the mayor has taken action to significantly reduce the number of vehicles that city employees are permitted to take home.

When a crash happens in a city-issued car, it is possible that the victim of the accident could pursue a claim against the city for the crash damages. Car insurance generally follows the vehicle, not the individual driver of the car, so the city’s insurer could be on the hook for car accident damages simply because the city owns  and insures the cars.

City employees can also be viewed as agents of the government, which would mean that the negligence of an employee in causing a car accident could be seen as the equivalent of the government itself being negligent.  This argument would not always be a valid one for holding the government responsible for an accident, though, because if the employee was violating policy and using the vehicle for personal use, then he or she would not be acting on behalf of the government and agency rules may not apply.

The complications associated with city ownership of take-home vehicles coupled with special rules that exist providing limited governmental immunity mean that anyone injured in a crash with a vehicle owned by a government agency should consult with an attorney for advice on how to best make a claim for compensation.

Auto accident lawyers in Hartford can help. Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Connecticut Accident Claims Life of Infant

Recently, the Hartford Courant reported on a tragic accident that resulted in the death of a young baby.  The two-car collision resulted in the death of a 5-month-old as well as critical injuries to an 11-month-old passenger.  The driver of the second car was a 17-year-old.  Police are reportedly investigating the cause of the accident to determine who was to blame.

Lawyers in Hartford, CT know it is important for police to investigate any auto accident that results in serious injury or death. The driver who is to blame for the crash may face both civil liability and criminal liability if the motorist’s actions were negligent or dangerous.

Police Investigating Fatal Accident

The accident reported by the Courant occurred at around 1:20 in the afternoon. A four-door SUV carrying the two infants and their mothers was traveling west on Spencer Street.  The other car with the 17-year-old motorist was traveling north on Hillstown. The SUV and other vehicle collided, causing the SUV to roll over and hit a telephone pole.

The impact of the rollover caused the passenger compartment on the SUV roof to be crushed. The two mothers who were in the SUV were able to exit the vehicle after the accident and were waiting outside of the car when police arrived.  Police indicate that the damage to the SUV was relatively minor, even with the caved in passenger roof, but, unfortunately both infants had to be extracted from the vehicle by rescue personnel. One of the mothers was also taken to the hospital to treat emotional distress resulting from the accident and injuries to the children.

The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash was reportedly unhurt. The teen driver was identified by the police at the accident scene, but it is not yet clear if this driver was to blame for the crash or if the mothers in the SUV were somehow responsible for causing the accident.

Sgt. Hank Minor told the Hartford Courant that it could take days for police to complete the preliminary part of the investigation into what went wrong.  The investigation will include interviewing witnesses as well as obtaining surveillance video from area stores and applying for search warrants for the drivers’ cell phone and maintenance records.

Sgt. Minor said the current evidence regarding the cause of the crash does not give any indication that drugs, speeding or alcohol were involved. Further, there is no evidence to suggest that the teen driver had been texting at the time when the accident happened. Telephone records should help to shed more light on whether the crash was distracted-driving related.

When police complete their investigation, the driver who was found to be at fault could potentially be sued for pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical bills, lost income and/or wrongful death.

If you or your child was injured in an accident, lawyers in Hartford, CT can help. Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Woman Arraigned in Deadly Accident Highlights Teen Driving Risks

According to the Hartford Courant, a 19-year-old Connecticut woman was recently arraigned on two counts of manslaughter for an accident that occurred in South Windsor. The 19-year-old is allegedly responsible for causing the death of two passengers in her vehicle: a 15-year-old sophomore and an 18-year-old senior.

Our Hartford accident lawyers know that car accidents are the leading causes of death for teen drivers. Unfortunately, it appears that this car accident exemplified virtually all of the dangerous behaviors that put teens at such high risk of dying in auto accidents.

Deadly South Windsor Crash May Have Been Caused by Dangerous Driving Behavior

In June of this year, our Hartford accident lawyers discussed the accident that led to the new filing of manslaughter charges, indicating that it occurred at a dangerous South Windsor spot.  At the time immediately following the crash, the father of one of the victim’s had spoken out and said that he himself had been an accident at the same location decades earlier.  While a bump in the road was suspected of being the cause of the crash, the accident was still being investigated.

Now, however, the Hartford Courant has reported much more information on the crash and the information seems to suggest that there were a great many dangerous choices made that led to the accident.

According to the Courant, the driver was speeding along Abbe Road in order to try to get the “roller-coaster feeling” as the car went over a hill. The 19-year-old woman on trial for the accident said that the other passengers in the car were urging her to go fast and that she saw the speedometer was over 80 miles per hour prior to the accident. Police estimate that the vehicle was going as fast as 84 to 90 miles per hour although the speed limit was just 30 miles-per-hour on that road.

The driver also reportedly had the radio blasting at the time of the accident and witnesses indicate that they had seen her smoking marijuana prior to getting in the car and driving.

When nearby local residents came to offer aid at the accident scene, the woman who is on trial for the crash reportedly told them that she thought she killed her friends. When they asked her why she had sped up, her answer was, “They [her friend’s] told me to. They kept telling me to go faster.”

Teen Behavior May be High Risk

This accident perfectly illustrates three key risk factors for teen drivers: speeding, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and having too many passengers in the car.

For young people, having multiple passengers in the vehicle can significantly increase the chances of an accident happening. This is why so many states have instituted graduated licensing laws, limiting the number of passengers who can be in the car at one time. With multiple passengers, kids may be more likely to do incredibly dangerous things like the behavior that allegedly led to this crash. Limiting the number of passengers in the car at one time can reduce the chances of this occurring and help to avoid tragedy.

If you were injured in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Connecticut Residents Ask Town To Do Something About Dangerous Road

The intersection of Haverford and Ridge Road in Hamden, Conn., is a dangerous intersection that has been the site of countless auto accidents.  In light of yet another recent crash that occurred in early July, residents who live in the area are once again asking the town to do something about the dangerous conditions.

Our Hartford injury lawyers know that a town or city can sometimes be held legally responsible if there are dangerous roads as a result of negligent design or maintenance. By ignoring the high number of accidents and pleas from local residents, the town is putting itself at potential risk for liability when future crashes occur.

Dangerous Intersection The Site of Many Accidents But the Town Won’t Help

According to WTNH, Hamden residents near the intersection of Haverford Street and Ridge Road have been trying for years to get the town to respond to concerns about the dangerous location.

One resident who has lived on Haverford Street for 42 years says he has seen one bad accident after another. Another resident who was talking about the intersection’s dangers six years ago expressed his frustration even back then, commenting that he and his neighbors had requested a traffic light and that he was “getting pretty fed up with this.”

Despite their pleas to the town, unfortunately, nothing has been done to make any changes or to make the intersection safer. The town of Hamden has not even managed to add a four-way stop to the area, which other residents indicated would be a potential solution.

It is the responsibility of the town to make sure that the roads are safe for motorists and if the town fails, it can be held legally liable under certain circumstances. Taking legal action against the government can be more challenging than pursuing a claim against an individual. However, if it can be proven that the town was negligent in not responding to requests to fix the intersection and if it can be shown that city leaders were aware of the risks and failed to take action, then the town could become responsible for compensating crash victims.

Since the town has received ample notice of the potential dangers at the intersection, accident victims may have a case to obtain damages.  Aside from the pleas of the residents, the town has also been able to observe the many accidents that have occurred in the area.  In early July, for example, a van with seven passengers collided with a pickup truck and flipped.  In 2007, an ambulance with a patient onboard also crashed on its side in the exact same location.

The mayor of Hamden has indicated that he has seen pictures of the crash and the police chief has reported that they are trying to find a solution and have hired a consultant to review the area and make the intersection safer. Yet, this problem has been going on for years with no progress. Hopefully, this time the consultant will be able to come up with a solution and the town will take action to protect motorists and to protect itself from legal liability for future collisions.

If you were injured in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Dangerous South Windsor Spot Leads to Fatal Car Wreck

According to the Hartford Courant, two teens were injured and three teens recently killed in a devastating car accident. The crash took place at a spot that has been dubbed “the kid’s spot,” by locals.  Unfortunately, the teens may have been engaging in a dangerous joyride at the time the accident happened.

Our Hartford car accident lawyers know that teens are always at high risk of car accidents and that car wrecks are a top cause of fatalities for young people. Unfortunately, one of the prime reasons why teenagers are more likely to die in car accidents is because they often take dangerous risks.

Dangerous Driving Behavior May Have Led to Fatal Wreck

According to the Courant, a 19-year-old South Windsor teen was driving a 2003 Ford Explorer with four friends inside of the vehicle. The car left the road and hit a tree in a wooded area between nearby homes.  The car was reportedly torn up, with debris strewn in a field near to the crash site. The 19-year-old driver, and a 17-year-old and 16-year-old passenger were all injured. Two other teens were killed.

Investigators have still not released information about the cause of the accident or determined why it occurred. However, the police chief indicates that speeding was a factor in causing the wreck.

Despite the lack of official information, however, the father of a 15-year-old passenger in the car who was killed in the crash believes that he knows why the accident happened. He said that he, himself, had been in a crash at that same spot almost 25-years earlier and that he believes that his daughter’s accident occurred for the same reason that his did more than two-decades ago.

His speculation is that his own crash, and his daughter’s, were both caused as a result of the car speeding over a large bump in the road. The bump has become known as “the kid’s spot,” because kids enjoy going over it for fun. Kids can speed over the bump, catching air when they go over the raised portion of the hilly roads. This is seen by some teens as an enjoyable pastime and a great place to joyride.

While the police have not said whether the bump played a role in causing the accident, it is likely that it did so. Unfortunately, this is a tragic coincidence that father and daughter were both in accidents in the same location while engaged in the same dangerous behavior. The recent accident, of course, was much worse because two teens lost their life while the victims’ father had survived his youthful joyride.

Unfortunately, kids make dangerous choices behind the wheel all the time, including going out and looking for thrills that can create a serious risk of a fatal accident.  This is especially true during the summer months when kids are off from school, which is why the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is generally known as the “100 deadliest days” for teen drivers.  Parents need to be aware of these risks and could potentially help to prevent tragedies from occurring by talking to their teens and supervising their driving behavior as carefully as possible. Likewise, municipalities have an obligation to fix road defects 0r other known road dangerous that may lead to or contribute to a serious or fatal traffic collision.

If you were injured in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Connecticut Traffic Accidents and the Risk of Driving with Pets

For children, families and seniors, a pet can be an important part of the family and a daily companion. Many seniors who live on their own outside of nursing homes or residential communities have pets and studies have even shown that having a dog can extend your life for as long as seven years. Unfortunately, however, new data shows that bringing your pet in the car can be very dangerous. This is true for people of all ages, but especially for senior citizens.

Our New Haven, CT accident attorneys know that bringing a pet in the car with you can be a distraction, especially if the pet is on your lap or is unrestrained in the vehicle. Now, a recent study shows that a pet in the car with you can significantly increase your accident risk.

Pets are a Dangerous Distraction

Highway safety advocates advise that it is dangerous for a driver to look away from the road for more than two seconds. This means that anything in your car that causes you to look away for longer than two seconds will increase the chances of a traffic crash occurring. Cell phones are one of the most common distractions and a lot of attention is paid to talking and texting as a primary cause of preventable traffic collisions. However, having a pet in the car can also cause you to look away for at least two seconds.

For seniors, any type of distraction in the car that causes an increase in cognitive or physical workload can be risky because older drivers have slower response times and cognitive performance than younger drivers. This means that while a pet in the car can be risky for anyone, the situation is even worse for a senior who will take longer to focus again after being distracted and who will be slower to respond if something unexpected happens on the road.

To get more information on how a pet in the car might affect a senior’s car accident risk, researchers at the University of Alabama-Birmingham interviewed more than 2,000 seniors who lived on their own rather than in a nursing home or assisted living community.  NBC News reported that a total of 691 of the seniors who were interviewed had pets, and more than half with animal companions said they took their pets with them at least occasionally when driving. When pets went along for the ride, they usually sat either in the front passenger seat or on the back seat.

These pet co-pilots unfortunately had a major impact on whether a senior would be involved in an accident In fact, the crash rate for seniors who had a pet in the car was around double the accident rate of those who had no pets or who said that they never drove with pets.

This data shows that seniors need to be very careful when traveling with animals. Restraining the animals properly in the vehicle could be one important way to reduce the accident risk.

Most people–including 83 percent of the seniors surveyed–agree that riding with an unrestrained animal is dangerous. Yet, only 16 percent of those who traveled with their pets said they used restraints. If more seniors would crate or otherwise secure their animals when driving, then there may not be such an increase in the accident risk associated with traveling with a four-legged member of the family.

Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or 100 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105.