Deadly Crash a Reminder of Dangers on the Road

Last month, upstate New York was the scene of a harrowing tragedy at a notoriously dangerous intersection. In Schoharie, a limousine carrying members of a birthday party headed to a local brewery lost control and careened into the Apple Barrel Country Store’s parking lot. The limo struck an empty SUV as well as two pedestrians. The incident ended 20 lives and forever changed the lives of all the victims’ family members and friends. The victims of the crash were remembered at a packed candlelight vigil as brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, parents, and friends.

The ongoing investigation is questioning the rental company, the limo manufacturing company, and the deceased driver in an attempt to deliver justice for those the victims left behind. The New York Times reported on October 8th that the limousine company had hidden failed inspections, schemed to “illegally obtain drivers licenses,” and that the limousine itself had been deemed unsafe prior to the crash. Governor Andrew Cumo informed the press that the vehicle had failed an inspection a month prior and “was not supposed to be on the road.” The eyes of the country are on the state of New York as they cope with this tragedy. Though the crash went down as the deadliest crash in the U. S. in a decade, car crashes occur incredibly frequently.


Car Accident Fatalities 100 Deaths Per Day


All of the passengers entered the limousine trusting the driver and vehicle would deliver them safely to their destination, as many drivers and passengers do every day. But more and more these routine road journeys end in a dangerous crash. According to the US Department of Transportation’s annual report, 2017 saw a slight decrease (1.8%) in motor vehicle fatalities. However, the number of fatalities had been on a steady increase from 2014 to 2016. From 2014 to 2015 fatalities increased by 8.4% and from 2015 to 2016 they increased another 6.5%. In 2017, the number of victims still reached a staggering 37,133 fatalities, more than 100 deaths per day. Accidents continue to be the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, beat only by cancer and chronic respiratory and heart disease.


Car Accident Causes


Who or what is at fault for these accidents? Every car crash is a unique set of variables between drivers, passengers, road conditions, vehicle type, and pedestrian involvement, but a few trends have emerged. Unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities, fatalities in speeding-related crashes, fatal instances involving alcohol-impaired drivers, and fatalities from distracted or drowsy drivers all saw a marked increase over the last year. Everyone has a responsibility to follow safety laws when behind the wheel, riding as a passengers, or running a business with a driving component. Advocates who are fighting for the use of car “crash” rather than “accident” argue that human error is at the root of most fatal car crashes. It seems if laws are followed with more consistency, there would be a significant decrease in fatal car crashes.

It is still unclear the cause of the Schoharie crash but a number of dangerous factors were at play. The intersection sits at the bottom of a long hill that causes many drivers to drift into speeding territory. The vehicle itself wasn’t up to code; at the time of the crash the vehicle carried 17 passengers, seven above the limit for the vehicle. The driver was in possession of a valid driver’s license but lacked the endorsement required to transport 15 or more passengers. Any or all of these factors could have affected the outcome of this story, and police officers and legal teams continue investigations to find the root cause and responsible parties.


Car accidents don’t have to be of the magnitude of the Schoharie crash to be life altering. A bump from a bumper could result in a serious brain injury. A collision could cause chronic pain. A reckless driver could take away one’s means of making a living. If you or a loved one becomes the victim of an accident, you have the right to fights to recover for your loss and to hold those that took your health away accountable. Call Deliso Law at 718-238-3100 to speak to an attorney for a free consultation.