Archive for June, 2010

Summer Safety – Part 1 – Bike Accident Safety

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Bike riding is a fun and fairly safe way to: commute to work, get some great exercise, or just spend time outdoors. Biking can be dangerous and we urge you to use caution and please be safe this summer.

Below is a list of some basic things you can do to keep yourself safer this season.

Wear your bicycle helmet.

In the United States, there are over 300,000 children who visit the emergency room each year as a result of being involved in bicycle accidents. Many of these children suffer brain injuries. The basic habit of wearing a helmet with the straps securely locked, could have prevented many of these injuries.

Keep yourself well lit.

If you enjoy cycling at night, keep yourself well-lit. Make sure you have reflectors facing in all directions and try to wear reflective safety-gear. Also, for less than $15 dollars, you can purchase red blinking lights for the front and back of your bike. These lights will alert motorists to your presence long before they have the chance to cause you any harm.

 Avoid texting while biking and other distractions.

Texting while biking is just as dangerous as texting while driving, perhaps even more so. Teenagers attempt to text with one hand, while trying to steer with the other. This is a recipe for disaster.

Listening to music and talking on your cell phone is also very dangerous. If you’re not listening to the vehicles around you, it will be difficult to react when something unexpected happens.

Just pay attention.

The best overall advice is to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Regardless of how much safety equipment you are wearing, if you don’t pay attention, you increase your risk of being injured, or causing someone else to be injured.

So to protect you and your children while riding a bike pay attention, use reflectors and lights and wear a helmet!

This post is part 1 of 5, presented by Cellino and Barnes. Our firm is committed to keeping our community safe this summer. 

Ocean Therapy Solutions – Status of Program

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Ocean Therapy Solutions (Kevin Costner’s company) and BP held a news conference to update us on the ongoing efforts to deploy Ocean Therapy’s oil separating centrifuge devices in the Gulf of Mexico to clean up the Horizon oil spill.

Kevin Costner explained that BP ordered 32 of his oil cleaning machines. Three of the units are currently aboard ships in the Gulf, but it will take about approximately 1 to 1.5 months for the remaining units to be built.

Officials advised that skimmer vessels will pump oily water onto the ships where the centrifuges can process a total of 600,000 gallons per day, separating oil and debris from water. Costner said he is gratified the technology is being deployed.

VIDEO – Ocean Therapy Solutions and BP News Conference

VIDEO – Costner Centrifuge Technology. In this video, Brian Musselman, Director of Operations for Hornbeck Offshore and Lance Ortemond, General Manager at D&L Salvage explain the centrifuge technology and how it will affect the Gulf Coast.

Texting While Driving – Part 3 – Potential Solutions and Issues

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010


While state legislation punishes drivers for driving while texting, many still often fail to do so.

Watch texting accident – YouTube

While authorities don’t have the capability to always be watching over everybody’s shoulder. Some possible solutions may be to encourage the creation of technologies that will prevent drivers from accessing their text messaging while driving. For instance, Textecution is a mobile phone application that blocks text messaging functions on your children’s phones while they drive. Essentially, how the program works is that it links into the phone’s GPS system and disables the text messaging function if a vehicle is moving more than 10 mph.

Similarly, Xuesong Zhou, a University of Utah researcher, has developed a device that disables cell phones entirely when a specially engineered car key is inserted into the car’s ignition.

Finally, several states have outlawed texting while driving, and others are moving to ban the practice. Additionally, legislators are trying to move bills to create federal legislation to keep drivers from texting while driving.

Cellino & Barnes Assisting Gulf Residents with Claims Against BP

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

One of the nation’s largest personal injury law firms, Cellino & Barnes has established a team of attorneys focused on assisting residents of the Gulf Coast who have suffered economic damages as a result of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Cellino & Barnes attorneys are representing individuals and business owners who have lost income, been hit with decreased business revenues, experienced property damage or suffered other economic consequences or injuries as a direct result of the spill.


Read more.

Texting While Driving – Part 2 – The Problem is Growing

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

In our previous post, we demonstrated the risk that drivers of light vehicles pose on the road. But what about drivers of heavy vehicles (e.g. trucks and trains)?

Believe it or not, operators of heavy vehicles are 23 times more likely to experience a safety critical event compared to a non-distracted operator when texting while operating. This represents a much higher statistic than drivers who are operating light vehicles (only 2.8 times more likely to experience a safety critical event).

Below is an article about the 2008 Chatsworth Train Collision, which killed 25 people on September 12, because the train operator was sending text messages.

The 2008 Chatsworth train collision occurred at 16:22 PDT (23:22 UTC) on Friday September 12, 2008, when a Union Pacific freight train and a Metrolink commuter train collided head-on in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles, California, in the United States. The scene of the accident was a curved section of single track on the Metrolink Ventura County Line just east of Stoney Point.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigated the cause of the collision, the Metrolink train ran through a red signal before entering a section of single track where the opposing freight train had been given the right of way by the train dispatcher. The NTSB faulted the Metrolink train’s engineer for the collision, concluding that he was distracted by text messages he was sending while on duty.

Metrolink commuter train 111, consisting of a 250,000-pound (113,000 kg) EMD F59PH locomotive (SCAX 855) pulling three Bombardier BiLevel Coaches, departed Union Station in downtown Los Angeles at 15:35 PDT (22:35 UTC) heading westbound to Moorpark in suburban Ventura County. Approximately 40 minutes later, it departed the Chatsworth station with 222 people aboard, and had traveled approximately 1.25 miles (2 km) when it collided head-on with an eastbound Union Pacific local freight train. The freight train was led by two SD70ACe locomotives, UP 8485 and 8491, weighing more than 500,000 pounds (227,000 kg) each. The Metrolink locomotive telescoped into the passenger compartment of the first passenger car and caught fire. All three locomotives, the leading Metrolink passenger car and seven freight cars, were derailed, and both lead locomotives and the passenger car fell over.

The collision occurred after the Metrolink passenger train engineer, 46-year-old Robert M. Sanchez, apparently failed to obey a red, stop signal that indicated it was not safe to proceed into the single track section. The train dispatcher’s computer at a remote control center in Pomona did not display a warning prior to the accident according to the NTSB. Metrolink initially reported that the dispatcher tried in vain to contact the train crew to warn them; but the NTSB contradicted this report, saying the dispatcher noticed a problem only after the accident, and was notified by the passenger train’s conductor first.

Both trains were moving toward each other at the time of the collision. At least one passenger on the Metrolink train reported seeing the freight train moments before impact, coming around the curve. The conductor of the passenger train, who was in the rear car and was injured in the accident, estimated that his train was traveling at 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) before it suddenly came to a dead stop after the collision. The NTSB reported that it was traveling at 42 miles per hour (68 km/h). The freight was traveling at approximately the same speed after its engineer triggered the emergency air brake only two seconds before impact, while the Metrolink engineer never applied the brakes on his train.

The events on September 12, 2008 leading up to the collision (all times local):

05:54        Engineer Sanchez begins his 11-hour split shift.
06:44        Sanchez begins his morning run.
08:53        Sanchez finishes his morning run after exchanging 45 text messages while en route.
09:26        Sanchez finishes the first part of his shift and goes off duty.
14:00        Sanchez returns to work after reportedly taking a two-hour nap.
15:03        Sanchez begins his afternoon run.
15:30        Sanchez uses his cell phone to order a roast beef sandwich from a restaurant in Moorpark.
15:35        Metrolink train #111 departs Union Station with Sanchez at the controls of locomotive #855.
16:13        The signal north of the Chatsworth station is set to red to hold the Metrolink train.
16:16        Train #111 is scheduled to depart Chatsworth station with the next stop in Simi Valley.
16:21:03        Sanchez receives a seventh text message while en route.
16:22:01        Sanchez sends the last of five text messages while en route, 22 seconds before impact.
16:22:19        The locomotive crews can first see each other 4 seconds before impact.
16:22:21        The Union Pacific freight engineer triggers the emergency brake 2 seconds before impact.
16:22:23        The trains collide after Sanchez ran through a track switch and did not apply the brakes.

Basic aftermath: Initially the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) originally dispatched a single engine company with a four person crew for a “possible physical rescue” at a residential address near the scene in response to a 9-1-1 emergency call from home. The crew arrived at the address four minutes later, just before 16:30 PDT and accessed the scene by cutting through the backyard fence. Upon arrival, the captain immediately called for an additional five ambulances and 30 fire engines and every heavy duty search and rescue unit in the city. Hundreds of emergency workers were involved in the rescue effort.

Austin Walbridge, a train passenger, describes the incident by saying: “Bloody, a mess. Just a disaster. It was horrible.” Emergency responders described the victims as having crush type injuries. Dr. Amal K. Obaid, a trauma surgeon who practices at USC University Hospital where several victims were treated, described their injuries in more detail, “They have head injuries, multiple facial fractures, chest trauma, collapsed lungs, rib fractures, pelvic fractures, leg and arm fractures, cuts in the skin and soft tissue. Some have blood in the brain.”

Trains derailed, massive damage caused by head-on collision

Last known text message sent: “yea… usually @ north camarillo”

Obama's Promise to the Gulf Coast

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

In a speech today, President Obama stated that he “will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes” to deal with the oil spill. He further promises that “We’re going to fight back with everything that we’ve got.”

President Obama is scheduled to address the nation tonight to lay out plans for dealing with the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

So how much oil has leaked into the gulf?

No one can say for certain how much oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, however, some experts are now estimating that between 1 million and 2 million barrels. That converts to bewteen 42 million and 84 million gallons of oil.  The lowest estimate is nearly four times the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.

Texting While Driving

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Texting While Driving

Texting while driving is a growing concern in communities across the United States and the world.  In many New York communities from Buffalo to Rochester and to the Bronx, numerous lives have been tragically lost because of texting while driving.

Cellino and Barnes offers this series of blog posts to help grapple with the lingering issues and potential solutions of texting while driving.

Part 1: Overview

One of the leading causes of serious injury and death in America is motor vehicle accidents.  How often do we see distracted drivers behind the wheel? People eating, applying makeup, talking on the phone… there always seems to be some distraction that is inhibiting a driver’s attention. In the last couple of years, a new distraction has arisen: Driving While Texting (DWT).

Under current legislation, the act of driving while texting is defined as: composing, sending, or reading text messages, email, or making similar use of the internet on a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. The practice is viewed by many authorities as dangerous and has been outlawed or restricted in twenty states and the District of Columbia.

While everybody understands that distracted driving is dangerous, some question how DWT is more dangerous than being distracted by a messy cheeseburger or a hot cup of coffee? Studies show that texting while driving increases the likelihood of accidents and distracted driving. For instance, a study conducted at the University of Utah found a six-fold increase in distraction-related accidents while texting. While a more recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute presents the follow facts:

  • Using driving studies of observing long-haul trucks and light vehicles driving 6 million combined miles, researchers observed 4,452 safety-critical incidents, which includes crashes, near-crashes, safety-critical events, and lane deviations
  • 81% of the safety critical events involved some type of driver distraction
  • Text messaging had the greatest relative risk, with drivers being 23 times more likely to experience a safety-critical event when texting.
  • The study also found that drivers typically take their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of four out of six seconds when texting.

All in all, there is conclusive evidence of the dangers of driving while texting.  This post is part 1 of 6, presented by Cellino and Barnes.  Our firm is committed to helping the community deal with the growing problem of texting while driving.

Cellino & Barnes Donates $26,000 to Juvenile Diabetes

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

During the 2009-2010 hockey season, Rochester Accident Lawyers, Cellino & Barnes, once again, partnered with Derek Roy to help support Juvenile Diabetes. Each time Derek scored a goal during the regular season, Cellino & Barnes agreed to donate $1,000 to help fight Juvenile Diabetes.

Cellino & Barnes is proud to announce that Derek Roy scored 26 goals this season, which resulted in $26,000 being donated to Juvenile Diabetes.

Ross Cellino delivered checks to Mary Ann Fox, Executive Director of the Rochester Chapter and Karen Swierski, Executive Director of the WNY Chapter of Juvenile Diabetes. Each Chapter received a check in the amount of $13,000.