The traditional view of a traffic accident is limited to a collision between drivers, with one or the other at fault. While this understanding of traffic accidents covers many different types of crashes, some crashes are not the fault of either driver. For instance, some crashes are the result of design or manufacturing defects on the part of automobile companies, which resulted in an unsafe product. Injuries from these sorts of crashes may be best addressed through products liability actions against the manufacturer. Other crashes may occur because of the road itself, perhaps due to poor road maintenance or design. In these instances, the victims may have a claim against the municipality itself for failing to provide properly safe roads.
In the last couple of years, New York City has suffered a substantial amount of hardship coming from extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 impacted the city in a significant way, as it leveled many areas of New York and New Jersey, and infrastructure in these affected areas was damaged and destroyed, leaving many property owners forced to deal with dangerous premises as a result.
And in light of this, a major settlement was brokered between New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) and Consolidated Edison (known as "ConEd"), New York City's primary utility supplier, which will put the responsibility of preparation for any future extreme weather onto ConEd.
New advancements have taken place in a major class-action lawsuit settled in November 2013, which was brought by the Taxis for All Campaign against New York City. The lawsuit was brought against the city because it was in violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act for not providing enough wheelchair accessible taxis within its limits.
The agreed upon settlement agreement provided that, by 2020, at least half of the city's 13,000-taxicab fleet would be accessible to wheelchair users. Because the life of most taxicabs only extends from three to five years, the deal requires that as older taxis are retired, taxis that are wheelchair accessible need to be put into service until the 50 percent minimum standard is compliant with the agreement.
It is up to New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to adopt the standards and rules that would comply with the settlement agreement.
However, on February 27, 2014, a federal judge agreed to permit a delay in the publication of the new accessibility rules, as well as the subsequent public hearing, so that city lawyers could collaborate and consult with the medallion taxi owners on the appropriate standards that should be put into place. The delay was also due in part to Mayor Bill De Blasio's taking office in January.
New York City streets are notorious for the traffic congestion, the incessant honking, and the damaging effects of potholes.
A new study has recently been published by a national nonprofit transportation research group, known as TRIP, reviewing the financially damaging effects that New York drivers are having to support due to potholes and blighted city streets. The study estimated that on average, New York drivers are spending over $20.3 billion annually due to the wear and tear that deteriorated roads and bridges caused to their vehicles. This amount is related to vehicle maintenance and upkeep, a calculation of time lost and fuel wasted while stopped in traffic, and crashes resulting from stop and go traffic.
It was estimated that New York City drivers spend, on average, about $2,300 annually on car maintenance for damage caused by the city streets. These numbers do not even take into consideration the damage caused by the onslaught of ice and snow that has battled the city streets this year.