Monday, August 3, 2015

Sun Glare While Driving – July 2015

The following relate to the dangers of sun glare while driving, and traffic safety in general. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Read our weekly news summary “Sun Glare and Driving” at:

RT "@CBCNews: The worst excuses from drivers breaking the law that Abbotsford police have heard “

One of the driving excuses highlighted in the campaign — mistaking a police car for a taxicab while drunk — happens fairly regularly, said Const. Ian MacDonald of Abbotsford Police.

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RT Dave Harford ‏@dharford79 Tyres are critical to keep you on the road. These wear indicators are a quick indication of how worn tyres are.

Courtroom Climate: Visibility impairments due to weather can cause crashes | Kevin Williams

Those who travel the highways of western and central New York during the winter time are all too familiar with the hazards associated with driving on roads that are snow covered, icy or wet. According to the United States Department of Transportation, there is an average of 5.5 million crashes every year in the nation. In 2010, automobile crashes resulted in 33,000 deaths and 2 million injuries.

But when many think of weather-related hazards while driving, the consideration should extend beyond the state of the pavement. According to a recent paper published in the July edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), visibility impairments due to weather conditions play a nontrivial role in automobile accidents. And this is consistent with my professional experiences.

According to the BAMS paper, visibility-obstructed fatal crashes in New York state resulting from fog, blowing dust and blowing sand between 1994 and 2011 totaled 29, resulting in 31 deaths. Nationally, there were 1331 fatal, visibility obstructed crashes resulting in 1582 deaths…

Over the years we have been asked to undertake forensic evaluations in order to determine whether fog was present at an accident scene and if so, to what extent. We do this by examining surface weather observations, National Weather Service statements and satellite imagery.

Sometimes, climatological conditions factor in – is this area conducive to fog formation? For example, the deeper river valleys across the Southern Tier are more likely to start a summer day foggy than are the metropolitan areas of Rochester and Buffalo, because cool air with condensed moisture often settles into low lying, rural locations.

And the consideration of fog can extend beyond the cause of a traffic accident. It can be a factor in criminal proceedings.

Some years ago we were asked to provide research and opinion as to the likelihood of fog existing on the Lake Ontario State Parkway during a particular evening. The purpose of this was to determine whether a suspect in an armed robbery in Rochester could have reasonably and safely traveled to Hamlin by a certain time. It was there that the suspect claimed to have an alibi.

Unfortunately, the BAMS paper did not take into consideration two significant, weather-related hindrances to visibility: sun glare and blowing snow, both of which have been directly related to fatal motor vehicle accidents in this area. In fact, although statistics on those to factors were not provided, it has been my experience that sun glare and blowing snow are at least as significant in visibility-obstructed highway accidents as fog.

Interesting article by @whec_kwilliams. Kevin, I agree that sun glare is a factor in many crashes >

> RT Kevin Williams ‏@whec_kwilliams: @SunPosition Thank you.  I have testified in a couple of gruesome cases where sun glare was a major contributor.

> Likewise Kevin. Sun glare is a real traffic danger that is not given enough attention. @whec_kwilliams

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Sun glare major factor >

No criminal charges for driver who fatally struck Guttenberg woman |

pedestrian struck guttenberg.jpg

The driver who fatally struck a 48-year-old Guttenberg woman this week won't face any criminal charges because he wasn't driving recklessly, according to the Hudson County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Frank Schillari said "sun glare was a major contributing factor" in the crash that killed Gertrudis Pena on Bergenline Avenue on Tuesday. The driver, Dominick Azzolini, 81, of Rutherford, wasn't driving recklessly when he hit Pena; he just couldn't see her and didn't react quickly enough, the sheriff said.

"Once the driver struck the victim, he was slow to react and did not brake once he struck her," he said in an e-mail. "Older drivers react to emergency maneuvers much slower than younger drivers."

Investigators determined from video that Azzolini was driving 15 miles per hour when he hit Pena on Tuesday. He was making a left turn onto Bergenline Avenue from 68th Street as Pena, who was on her way to work, was crossing the avenue. He had a green light, but Pena had a walking signal and was in the crosswalk, meaning that she had the right of way. Azzolini's car dragged her for approximately 30 feet, Schillari said.

Pena died at Jersey City Medical Center eight hours after the crash.

Guttenberg police issued Azzolini summonses for careless driving, failing to yield to a pedestrian and making an improper turn. The sheriff announced on Thursday that his office would not be filing any additional charges…

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Sun glare? How? >  

Union County approves $335K to settle lawsuits over sheriff's accident | via @njdotcom

Union County freeholders have approved paying up to $335,000 to settle lawsuits that followed a 2011 accident involving  Sheriff Joseph Cryan who was driving a county-owned sports utility vehicle.

The driver in the other vehicle, Twanda Brown, and her passenger, Yuri Rayford, both of Maplewooid, each filed suit against Cryan and the county saying they were seriously injured in the crash in Union Township. However, a police report of the accident makes no mention of any injuries.

No summons were issued for the accident, but Cryan told police he was distracted by sun glare and did not see the other vehicle…

The accident occurred at 10:38 a.m. on Nov. 5, 2011, near Cryan's home in Union.

Cryan was driving a county-owned 2009 Ford Escape and traveling north on Liberty Avenue, and as he turned left onto Meister Avenue, he collided head-on into a sports utility vehicle driven by Brown, who was traveling south on Liberty Avenue, according to the police report.

Brown, then 45, was driving a 2006 Acura MDX, according to the report. There was a 29-year-old passenger in the vehicle, but that person's name was redacted from the report obtained from Union police.

Cryan told police that as he was turning left, he was distracted by sun glare and failed to see Brown's vehicle…

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Sun glare was factor in collision but moot point by comparison >

Pleas Entered In Manslaughter Cases | WOWT NBC Omaha

No contest pleas to two manslaughter charges.

No contest pleas to two manslaughter charges.

26-year-old Edward D. Koch of Quincy, Illinois will be sentenced September 21st on the Class III Felonies.

Koch was the driver of 2006 Mazda sedan that struck another vehicle from behind on Highway 34 near Elmwood on Sunday, September 21st.

Killed were 23-year-old Matthew F. Kirchhoff of Weeping Water and 22-year-old Emily F. Widger of Wahoo, the two occupants of the other vehicle. Their dog Bear, a chocolate lab, was also in the 2006 Nissan Sentra.

Koch, who has been free on $150,000 bond, entered the no contest pleas in Cass County District Court yesterday. In response to a question from District Judge Jeffrey Funke, Koch said he understood the court would deem him guilty.

Julie Bear of the public defender's office said there is no plea agreement and no agreement on sentencing. She said Koch has been attending therapy classes.

Just after the collision, Koch had told deputies he thought he was traveling at 92 to 94 mph. Cass County Attorney Nathan Cox said the accident reconstruction report showed Koch was traveling at 89 miles per hour in the 60 mph zone. Both vehicles were westbound. Sun glare was a factor in the accident…

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Traffic lights and signs need to be able to be seen despite sun glare >

Man Killed in Crosswalk | MANTECA BULLETIN

A man walking a toddler in a stroller toward Woodward Park in a marked crosswalk at Queensland Avenue was killed by an eastbound (Ed. westbound??) van on Woodward Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday when the driver was apparently blinded by the setting sun.  

The child — who appeared to be about 2 years old — was seriously injured.

The horrific incident was a replay of a fatal accident about a year ago on East Center Street. An older man pushing a shopping cart was crossing from the south side of Center Street to the north to reach an alley.  He was struck and killed by a westbound motorist who did not see him in the glare of the setting sun.

Neighbors in the area of Wednesday’s fatality noted that the warning amber lights strips on both sides of the crosswalk were activated but they said when the sun is setting they cannot be seen by the oncoming traffic…

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Cheers, Ralph

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