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Safety on the Roads, by Dave Werner

Human error responsible for traffic ‘crashes’

For those of you that are regular readers of these weekly articles on vehicle and traffic law and traffic safety, you know that my position, like many others in traffic safety, is not to use the word “accident” when referring to traffic crashes. Indeed, they are crashes or collisions, not ...

Driver death rates remain higher among small cars

To no one’s surprise, despite manufacturers’ efforts to make them safer, the smallest late-model cars remain the most dangerous, according to the most recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study of driver death rates. The IIHS is the agency that crash-tests new cars and ...

Right turn on red history explained

There was an interesting question regarding right turn on red from a previous article that gave readers a chance to ask questions about vehicle and traffic law and traffic in general. The specific question posed by the reader was answered in another previous article, but it might be of ...

Reader questions how E-ZPass works

In the June 1 “Did You Know” article, I offered readers a chance to send me questions they wanted answers to. Last week’s article dealt with several of the questions. Today, I will address another inquiry that I received about E-ZPass and how it works. I have been a user of E-ZPass on ...

Readers’ questions from previous column

In the June 1 column, I offered readers a chance to send me questions they wanted answers to. And I got them. They weren’t all about Vehicle and Traffic Law, but included questions on several subjects that they were interested in. Although I replied to most of them directly, here are a few of ...

IIHS recommends having safeguards for automated driving systems

Most new cars today have some partially automated systems that assist the driver in a variety of ways, but these systems still need the driver to be involved at all times. “Unfortunately, the more sophisticated and reliable automation becomes, the more difficult it is for drivers to stay ...

Slow-moving vehicles present dangerous situations on road

Traffic experts know that it isn’t just speed that causes crashes but rather the difference in speed between two vehicles. In Franklin County, two contributors to speed differential are agriculture operations (farms) and Amish families. Both operate slow moving vehicles on our local highways ...

‘E-bikes’ allowed under vehicle and traffic law

Bicycles with electric assist (“e-bikes”) are now allowed in New York under Vehicle and Traffic Law, effective April 3, 2020. A new VTL section 102-c has been added to define e-bikes as a bicycle which is no more than 36 inches wide and has an electric motor of less than 750 watts and is ...

UTVs cannot be legally operated on public roads

I recently had an email from a farm family that asked for clarification on whether Utility Task Vehicles, also known as Cargo All-Terrain Vehicles, could be operated on a town road if used exclusively for farm purposes. The last time I addressed the issue of UTVs was in November 2016, so it’s ...

Think police aren’t issuing tickets due to COVID-19? Think again

I have heard rumors that most enforcement agencies, including NYS Police, weren’t stopping speeders and other violators due to COVID-19 and also because some local courts were not handling disposition of vehicle and traffic (VTL) tickets. I have even heard speak of drivers speeding more than ...

Questions on VTL you want answered? Here’s your chance

The first of these weekly articles on vehicle and traffic law (VTL) and traffic safety was published in the last week of January, 2007. At that time I agreed to do an article per week for at least one year and then review the project. Now, after over 13 years and nearly 700 articles, I am now ...

Road work season is here; be extra-careful

It has been said that in upstate New York there are only two seasons — winter and road construction. Well, winter is over, so it must be road construction season. That replaces snowy and icy roads with work zones, construction equipment, lane closures, flagmen and delays for ...

Move over when passing bicyclists

Last month two of these traffic safety articles dealt with bicycling: one about the National Transportation Safety Board asking for policy overhauls to increase the safety of bicyclists and stop the ever-increasing fatalities and injuries caused by vehicle/bicycle crashes, and the second ...

Safe driving dependent on 3 parts: car, road, driver

Consumer Reports had an interesting article, asking the question can we save more lives with advances in safety technology that is reshaping the auto industry. CR questions why the highway death toll is still so stubbornly high. Good question. As the CR article continues, it makes it clear ...

Less traffic during COVID-19 may not mean fewer fatalities

Less traffic during COVID-19 may not mean fewer fatalitiesWith significantly less traffic because of the “Stay Home” mandates, and the “not much is open and no place to go” atmosphere that we are currently living in, you would expect crashes, injuries, and fatalities would be ...

Biking season is here — things cyclists and drivers should know

The COVID-19 virus has put the world in turmoil, with exercise and social distancing both being necessary. Bicycling can accomplish both at the same time. But bicycling (and pedestrian) fatalities have been on the rise nationally for the past decade. Last week’s column was about the ...

NTSB sounds alarm on bicycle safety

As we enter the month of April, bicycle season is just around the corner. The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for a major policy overhaul to combat the rise in bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles, according to an article in the Insurance Institute for Highway ...

Georgia contest: highway safety signs with a flare

Last fall the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) challenged residents to make up their own lighthearted safety signs. After receiving hundreds of submissions, GDOT announced the winners, and some of them are really hilarious. They reminded me of the old Burma-Shave signs from the ...

IIHS top picks for safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the organization that crash-tests automobiles and rates them on the basis of safety, has just released its top picks for the 2020 model vehicles. Sixty-four cars and SUVs qualify for an award under new criteria that prioritize the protection of ...

COVID-19 could reduce traffic deaths

There’s almost nothing good coming from the COVID-19 coronavirus, but there could be one potential positive thing — we should have fewer automobile fatalities. With schools and colleges closed, restaurants limited to take-out only, public gatherings limited to a handful of people, all ...