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How to avoid vehicle accidents on New York roadways

The nation's roadways get busier all the time, and distracted driving causes a great number of motor vehicle crashes. There are simple guidelines for all drivers to keep in mind when operating a car. Those who follow some safe common-sense rules on the road may better avoid serious traffic accidents.

Drivers should stay focused on the road ahead and pay attention to all directions outside their vehicle. Distractions from inside the car such as cellphones, eating or children in the backseat can interrupt a driver's focus. If the situation demands it, drivers need to pull over for a better chance at avoiding accidents and possibly serious personal injury.

While a city avoids blame, a victim copes with trauma

It was only 15 months ago that a former police sergeant who was working as a guard for the Human Resources Administration held a woman captive in the administration's office and sexually assaulted her. Now, the survivor is opening up about her fight for justice from the city, and the lingering trauma that she experiences daily since the attack.

NYC tries to dodge #MeToo bullet in sexual assault case

A former police sergeant assigned to the New York City Human Resources Administration will soon start serving a five-year prison sentence for a committing a sexual assault during the course of his duties. However, the city is trying to deflect responsibility despite its zero-tolerance approach to sexual assault. At a time when the #MeToo movement is calling attention to the issue of improper sexual conduct by individuals who abuse their positions of power and authority, some say the city's attempt to dodge responsibility is outrageous.

In 2017, a Manhattan artist was arrested by the sergeant, who was assigned to the NYC HRA office on 14th Street, for alleged trespassing. The arrest had occurred after the artist became upset when she was notified that a paycheck owed to her was not ready. The sergeant admitted to locking the artist in a room for two hours and returning to find that she had urinated herself. It was at this point that she became a victim of a brutal sexual assault. The sergeant pleaded guilty to the crime.

Racial bias could be common in bail decisions

Black defendants in New York and across the country may face an unfair hearing when they go before bail judges, especially if the results of a recent study reflect a national trend. The study, conducted by Princeton and Harvard researchers, examined the decision-making of bail judges in the Miami and Philadelphia areas through a racial lens. The study noted that black defendants were less likely to receive bail, more likely to face pretrial detention and more likely to pay larger bail amounts than white defendants.

Pretrial detention can have a major impact on the outcome of a criminal trial, especially as the appearance of a person coming from jail rather than entering the court as a free person can easily influence perceptions of guilt on a subconscious level. The added stress of remaining in jail and separated from home and family can also make trial preparation more difficult for people detained before their case is heard. This means that bail decisions can have an ongoing effect on the likelihood of a defendant's conviction.

Vehicle navigation systems place high demands on drivers

Drivers in New York who use hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel can be ticketed and fined, but research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that entering navigation settings or adjusting audio controls on the latest cars can be just as dangerous. The organization came to this conclusion after tasking researchers from the University of Utah to find out how distracting modern automobile navigation and entertainment systems are. This was done by asking volunteers to drive vehicles made by Ford, Dodge, Honda, General Motors and Kia.

After observing the 64 participants answer phone calls, send text messages, enter addresses and adjust entertainment settings, the researchers noticed that all of the vehicle technology was difficult to use. They then asked the students to perform the same tasks after connecting the vehicle entertainment and navigation systems to cellphones using the Apple Carplay and Android Auto applications. While these apps reduced the amount of time it took to complete most tasks, the researchers say that relying on them could still leave drivers dangerously distracted in many situations.

The consequences of a sexual assault conviction

If an alleged offender is convicted of sexual assault, they will be sentenced by a judge. The sentence can include jail time, fines or other penalties allowed by state law. The severity of a defendant's punishment will be determined by a variety of factors including details specific to a given case. In New York, individuals are sentenced to a range of years in prison as opposed to a specific amount.

New York state law makes sexual assault a felony that carries a prison term of between a year and seven years. When an offender is released depends on their criminal history as well as their actions while in custody. Not all states require a defendant to serve a range of years when sentenced for a sexual assault crime. For example, those convicted in California will serve a determinable sentence of up to 48 months.

Truck accident injuries include physical and psychological damage

A serious accident with a large commercial truck could drastically alter the life of someone in New York because the size of commercial vehicles inflicts serious damage on passenger vehicles and their occupants. The victims of fatal accidents involving large trucks and passenger vehicles are almost always occupants of the passenger vehicles. For those who survive, some endure disabling spinal injuries, broken or shattered bones or traumatic brain injuries. In the aftermath of a wreck, victims could experience post-traumatic stress disorder.

In addition to spinal injuries that could leave a person with permanent paralysis, injuries like broken bones might require multiple surgeries. Cuts and lacerations caused by broken glass and debris might disfigure people's faces or cause infections. When head trauma occurs, both physical and psychological changes could result. The symptoms of traumatic brain injuries might take days or weeks to emerge fully. Even if head injuries appear minimal, internal bruising and brain inflammation could still produce mental difficulties.

Rate of wrongful convictions studied

Wrongful convictions in New York are sometimes overturned by the introduction of new DNA evidence not previously available. Anywhere between 3 and 5 percent of serious crimes like murder results in exoneration when new evidence comes to the light. Lesser crimes like aggravated assault and drug possession rarely get overturned due to wrongful convictions.

In a study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, cases of inmates were examined to determine the prevalence of wrongful convictions. A total of 3,000 prisoners in Pennsylvania were surveyed about being wrongfully convicted. An estimated 6 percent of the prison population was innocent of their convicted crime.

Startup creates safety software for U.S. truckers

There are currently more than 3 million truckers around the country, and they serve an essential role in the economy. However, the trucking industry has some problems. New York truck drivers work an average of 70 hours in their eight-day workweek, so fatigue is a constant hazard. Because of the industry's lack of safety, turnover rates are high and trucker shortages are not uncommon.

However, an Oklahoma-based startup may provide a better means to reduce trucker fatigue as well as lower turnover rates and insurance rates. BlyncSync was founded three years ago and continues to build a business plan with the nationally recognized nonprofit i2E. It will be launching its first pilot program, in which five trucking companies will be participating.

Police pursuit leads to crash and DWI charges

Police in New York say that a 52-year-old Monroe County man was drunk when he attempted to flee from state troopers in the early morning hours of April 20. Reports indicate that troopers were joined by officers from the New York State Police during a pursuit that lasted for between 5 and 10 minutes. The man has been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol, unlawful fleeing, resisting arrest and reckless endangerment, and he faces a raft of motor vehicle infractions and violations.

According to police reports, the man attempted to flee when troopers signaled his vehicle to pull over in the vicinity of East Avenue and Chestnut Street at approximately 3:20 a.m. Troopers say that the vehicle was being driven erratically. Media accounts suggest that the pursuit came to an abrupt halt when the man deliberately rammed his vehicle into a marked police car outside the federal building on State Street.

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