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If you are a regular reader of these weekly articles on traffic law and traffic safety, you know my position on backing crashes — we back our vehicles about 1/10 of one percent of the time yet backing crashes exceed 10 percent of all crashes. In other words, we drivers are not very good at b…

If you read these weekly articles, even occasionally, you will often find information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the agency that crash-tests vehicles just to see just how safe they are. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety assigns one of several safety ratings, so…

In August 2020, the CTIA, a representative of America’s wireless industry, reported that there were 442.5 million U.S. wireless subscriptions, up 20+ million year-over-year. The CTIA further reported that in 2019 consumers exchanged 2.1 trillion text messages, up 52 billion from the prior ye…

Crash rates for drivers in their 70s (that includes me) are now less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those in their prime working years, a new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study has found. That’s a remarkable reversal for a generation of drivers once thought to b…

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If you are a reader of these weekly articles on traffic law and traffic safety, you are aware that I never write about traffic accidents – I always refer to them as crashes or collisions. In fact, I have written full articles, the most recent one in May, 2019, trying to get people and news m…

Last week’s article presented 20 questions on vehicle and traffic law (VTL) and traffic safety. Hopefully you took the test and kept your answers handy. This article repeats the questions and includes the answers. See how you did.

A recent article (Jan. 1 by Christina Goldbaum) in the New York Times spoke to a deadly consequence of the pandemic — a significant increase in traffic deaths. When the pandemic hit New York City, cars seemed to disappear from many streets as the lockdown brought urban life to a halt and dri…

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In early December, I proposed in my weekly article on vehicle and traffic law (VTL) and traffic safety that we should consider standardizing vehicle and traffic laws nationwide. In that article, I described numerous traffic laws that differed from state to state, and asked how drivers could …

Have you ever borrowed someone else’s car? Have you lent your car to someone else? If so, are you aware of potential requirements and potential consequences? I had someone recently ask me who is responsible for the ticket if someone driving a borrowed car is ticketed for an expired inspectio…

Alcohol has been a factor in 30 percent of U.S. roadway deaths every year for the past decade. Meanwhile, police arrest about 1 million people a year for alcohol-impaired driving. Systems that can detect the percentage of alcohol in the driver’s blood and prevent the vehicle from moving if i…

It was nip and tuck, but in the end, Santa has decided that a virtual Christmas just wasn’t good enough, so, after contacting the best health experts he could and presenting his plan to deliver Christmas gifts around the world in spite of COVID-19, his plans have been approved and he has mad…

In late October and early November, two of these weekly articles explained the difficult decisions that were necessary for our various highway departments to deal with snow and ice control on our highways, and some of the factors that lead to using abrasives or salt. Complicating this dilemm…

MALONE — Passing a stopped school bus with red lights flashing is against the law in New York state, as it is in all states. We know this, but are you aware of the differences in other states? For instance, it’s illegal to pass a stopped school bus even if it is stopped on the other side of …

If you’re a poker player, being predictable is the worst thing you can be. But, if you drive a vehicle, being predictable is probably the best thing you can be. If you could communicate to drivers around you exactly what you intended to do, it would make life so much easier for other drivers…

We have many Amish and Mennonite families in Franklin and St. Lawrence counties. Amish buggies have been granted an exception to the requirement to display a Slow Moving Vehicle symbol on the rear of their buggies and wagons for religious reasons.

Last week’s article discussed some of the things to consider when deciding whether to use salt on roads or abrasives, such as sand, for snow and ice control. Most people would guess that using abrasives is far cheaper than using salt. Maybe not! Here is some information that most citizens ar…

There has been much discussion on whether to use sand and other abrasives or salt to treat slippery roads during winter. This is not an easy decision to make. There are pluses and minuses for both. More recently, there is significant opposition to salt, but sand and abrasives also have a neg…

As winter approaches and if you are among the many residents in Franklin County with a rural mailbox along the side of the road, pay attention to the rest of this article, as fixing your box in the middle of the winter is not much fun.

Like it or not, winter driving is about to hit us, and so is the usual increase in crashes as we all but refuse to drive more slowly and carefully, or leave in time to get there without driving faster than we should. And, every year we read or hear about safe driving tips in the media, and y…

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety previously reported that 40% of all automobile crashes involve tailgating, or more formally, following too closely. What driver hasn’t been annoyed by the driver behind riding right on his/her tail? Answer, no one! But, the flip side is –– how many …

An article last month discussed how centerline and edge line markings on our highways make driving easier and safer. That article explained the requirements that mandated pavement markings, where they were optional, and where they were not recommended without a compelling engineering reason …

Pedestrian safety is a two-way street – drivers must be aware of pedestrians and what they might do, and pedestrians must be aware of drivers and what they might do.

As I write this article, it looks like students will be physically returning to our schools sometime during September, with some schools beginning as early as the eighth while others not until the 21st. Since schools were closed because of COVID 19 and education was continued virtually with …

Driver mistakes play a role in virtually all crashes. That’s why automation has been held up as a potential game changer for safety. But autonomous vehicles might prevent only around a third of all crashes if automated systems drive too much like people, according to a new study from the Ins…

When spring comes, we can’t wait until the New York State Department of Transportation repaints the lines in the road. It makes driving so much easier. Pavement markings are used to guide and regulate traffic. They can improve the safety of a highway and inform the driver without diverting a…

Every day as I drive in the village of Malone, where there are several miles of four-lane streets and roads, I cannot drive more than a couple of blocks without watching at least one driver change lanes without using his/her turn signal. And, the number of drivers that fail to use their turn…

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 ac…

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 those questions. Today, I will address another inquiry that I received about E-ZPass and how it works.

In the June 1 “Did You Know” article, 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 (VTL) but included questions on several subjects that they were interested in. Although I replied to most of them dire…

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…

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

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

I have heard rumors that most enforcement agencies, including New York State 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 speedin…

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…

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 drivers.

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 a…

With 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 significantly less that pre-COVID-19 times. But, that is not necessarily t…

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.

As we move through the month of April, bicycle season is just around the corner. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 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 f…

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 ’…

This is part of a story as told by Michael Gartner, now in his early 80s and former president of NBC News.

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 takeout only, public gatherings limited to a handful of people, all major s…

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) crash testing has led to lifesaving improvement in occupant protection since it was introduced in 2003. The program has been so successful that the side ratings for current models are no longer helping consumers distinguish among vehicles o…

On Friday, Feb. 7, there was a major snowstorm in much of upstate New York, with Franklin County getting around 15-20 inches. Most of that Friday saw intense snowfall, with accumulating snow on our roads despite constant plowing by the various highway departments.

Last week’s article touted the safety benefits of roundabouts versus traditional intersection traffic controls such as stop signs and traffic signal lights. Today’s article is based on information found in the Jan. 12 edition of The Villages Daily Sun newspaper, and discusses roundabouts in …