Bridges are ubiquitous in New York City. To get from Manhattan Island, Staten Island, or Long Island to each other or the main continent requires a bridge or a tunnel. And most of those bridges are for car travel. And cars get into accidents. Recently the Tappan Zee Bridge was the sight of a major accident that resulted in a death.
On July 23, 2013, an S.U.V. caused an accident on the Tappan Zee Bridge. The S.U.V. was traveling south in the northbound lane just before 9 p.m. The S.U.V. crashed into a Nissan, which rolled over multiple times. A third vehicle avoided the S.U.V. and the Nissan, but was hit from behind by a fourth vehicle. A fifth vehicle sideswiped the S.U.V. before the traffic was brought to a standstill. The passenger in the Nissan was pronounced dead on the scene. Four others were injured and taken to local hospitals. Traffic was snarled for hours.
The New York Times reported "onlookers stunned by the sight of a car traveling the wrong way on the busy crossing immediately took to Twitter to describe both the crash and the resulting traffic jam." Some witnesses, who encountered the S.U.V. before the crash, pulled off the road and called 911. Witnesses said the S.U.V. was speeding up the ramp and onto the bridge. One witness said, "he had his lights on and he was beeping at me and I could not believe what I was seeing."
Police are still investigating exactly what happened to lead up to the crash. The day after the crash, state police released a statement that the driver of the S.U.V. had medical issues and had an anxiety attack just prior to heading onto the Tappan Zee Bridge.
While automobile safety measures have come leaps and bounds since the first Model A rolled off Henry Ford's assembly line, accidents happen. Some common safety features on all cars are seatbelts, airbags, laminated windshields, crumple zones, and side impact protection beams.
Seatbelts prevent people from being ejected from their car in an accident. Air bags inflate in a crash to cushion the occupant during impact. Most cars have airbags in the steering column and the dashboard of the front passenger seat. There are car models with side airbags as well. Laminated windshields shatter, but remain in one piece. "Crumple zones absorb and dissipate the force of a collision, displacing and diverting it away from the passenger compartment." Side impact protection beams absorb crash energy to protect passengers when a car is hit side-on.
Even with all of these safety measures, a driver must still be aware of what is going on around them at all times. Injuries can be more severe if a car's safety measure do not deploy properly. With more technology, there are more distractions on the road today. Phone conversations and texting while driving are common causes of car accidents these days.
If you are in a car accident, whether it is the fault of someone else or due to a defect in your car, contact our knowledgeable attorneys to assure that your rights are protected.