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Why We Crash

The weather is clear and dry. The road is straight and level. The driver is young, a commuter heading home from work, and is inattentive or following too closely. The car is an SUV. The day is a Friday.

That's one of the most common profiles of a motorist involved in the more than 107,000 crashes in the Lower Hudson Valley from Aug. 1, 2011, to July 31, 2014, an analysis of crash data by The Journal News shows.

"After work we're eager to get our leisure activity underway," said Robert Sinclair, the New York spokesman for AAA. "Going to work we take our time; leaving work is a whole different state of mind."

Most accidents occur along a stretch of road with no traffic control as drivers are proceeding straight ahead. In a quarter of the cases, it's a rear-end collision. Nearly half the time a sport-utility vehicle is involved.

Among the 188 fatal crashes in the lower Hudson Valley, 50, or around 27 percent, involved pedestrians. Motorcycles were involved in 17 percent of fatalities.

More than 20 percent of vehicles involved in crashes were operated by 20-something-year-olds, though the latest state Department of Motor Vehicles data show they represent roughly 18 percent of registered drivers in the Lower Hudson Valley. In contrast, older drivers appeared to be involved in fewer crashes. About 8 percent of crash vehicles had operators older than 69 even though they account for 12 percent of registered drivers in the region.

Crash statistics

16% occur at a traffic signal, 7% at a stop sign and 5% in a no-passing zone.

15% involved drivers stopped in traffic, 14% slowed or stopped at the time.

Commercial traffic accounted for only 1% of all crashes

Skies were cloudy in 20% of crashes, raining in 11% and snowing in 3%

Roads were wet in 17% of crashes and had snow and ice in 5%

Inattentive driving and following too closely account for 35% of crashes, more than the four other top factors - failure to yield, unsafe speed, slippery pavement and unsafe backing - combined.

If you have been involved in a car accident, please feel free to call the attorneys at StolzenbergCortelli LLP to discuss your legal remedies.   

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