February 17, 2017

US Traffic Fatalities Reaches Nine Year High

The National Safety Council (NSC) just released estimates that as many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2016. This is a 6% increase over 2015 in traffic fatalities and a 14% increase over 2014. The 2014 to 2016 increase in traffic fatalities marked the largest increase in 53 years, according to the NSC.

With the upward trend in traffic fatalities, the NSC is calling for the immediate implementation of life-saving measures, including:

  • Mandatory ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers
  • Automated enforcement techniques to catch speeders
  • Laws banning cell phone use
  • Upgrade seatbelt laws
  • Adopt a three-tiered licensing system for all new drivers under 21
  • Standardize and accelerate automotive safety technologies
  • Pass or reinstate motorcycle helmet laws
  • Adopt comprehensive pedestrian safety programs

Increase in Traffic Deaths a Call to Action

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) said that the increase in traffic fatalities was a call to action for the highway safety community. In a statement released by the GHSA, they named three predominant factors in contributing to traffic deaths. The factors include seat belt use, alcohol and speeding. Driver distractions and “our society’s addition to electronic devices” were also mentioned by the GHSA as likely playing a role in the increase in fatalities.

Risky Behaviors Can Cause Traffic Crashes

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, young millennials top the list of worst behaved drivers. A new report from the Foundation found that 88 percent of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days. The behaviors, which increase crash risk, included texting while driving, red-light running and speeding. Alarmingly, a high percentage of drivers of all ages surveyed responded that they had engaged in a risky behavior while driving in the past 30 days. The new survey was completed to identify attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety.

The car accident attorneys in Wilkes-Barre encourage everyone to drive safely and free of distractions. We’ve seen the devastating results of car crashes and want you to be safe. If you need to speak to a car accident lawyer, call Distasio Kowalski in Wilkes-Barre today for a free consultation. Call 570-970-5400.


December 14, 2016

PA accident lawyer warns of winter weather related crashes

Freezing temperatures have brought snow, sleet and icy road conditions to Pennsylvania and other areas of the country. This has caused many winter weather related crashes. Just this month, a crash involving more than 75 vehicles occurred on the Interstate 90 at the Pennsylvania Ohio border. On that same road, a 13-vehicle pileup occurred. Snowy driving conditions were said to have played a part in the crashes, according to CBS News. Another pileup involving 40 vehicles occurred in Michigan last week as well. This past weekend, a multi vehicle wreck also closed part of Interstate I 80 near Luzerne County.

Many motorists are killed and injured in winter weather related crashes every year. With the snowy weather just starting, hazardous road conditions and crashes will be all too common in months ahead.

Five winter driving safety trips

  1. Slow down. Adjust your driving speed according to conditions. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
  2. Increase the distance between you and the car in front of you. It takes longer to stop in snowy conditions.
  3. Brake and accelerate slower than normal to avoid sliding.
  4. Winterize your vehicle. Have tires, brakes, heater/defroster, wipers, battery and other items checked on your vehicle before driving this winter.
  5. Keep on the lookout for slippery spots and black ice on the road.

Winter storms will continue to cause unsafe driving conditions in the northeast and throughout Pennsylvania. It is imperative that drivers prepare and stay alert. Snowy conditions can result in winter weather related crashes from minor fender benders to fatal multi-vehicle collisions. Be aware of the possibility of black ice when driving, especially when driving on bridges, on and off ramps, and at intersections. Be particularly carefully when driving near snowplows and tractor-trailers. Visibility may be low and trucks have blind spots.

The car accident lawyers at Distasio Kowalski encourage drivers to keep a winter emergency kit in their vehicles at all times when driving. The kit should include items such as jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, flares and water.

Winter accident statistics

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 445,303 people were injured and 5,897 people killed in weather vehicle related crashes in a 10-year period from 2005-2014. Following safety precautions and being alert when driving in winter conditions can help reduce your chance of a car accident. Winter crash studies have found that a high percent of winter season crashes involve driving too fast for conditions. This can definitely be a factor when looking at cases of multi-vehicle pileup crashes.

If you have been injured in winter car accident or truck accident, call the car accident lawyers at Distasio Kowaslski in Wilkes-Barre today. Call 570-970-5400 if you need an attorney who is experienced in vehicle accidents to fight for your rights.


November 3, 2016

Biscontini Named Plains Township Commissioner

Peter J. Biscontini, Esquire, an attorney with the law firm of Distasio & Kowalski, LLC, was appointed to serve as a Plains Township Commissioner. He Peter-Biscontinireplaces the late Bridget O’Connor and was sworn in on October 13th.

“It is an honor to be representing the residents of Plains Township and serving as a commissioner for this growing community in which I live,” said Biscontini. The Commissioners serve as liaisons between the citizens of Plains Township and county, state and federal governments. Their responsibilities also include making appropriations, adopting budgets and levying taxes. In addition, they also adopt ordinances and resolutions to make rules and regulations. Further, the Commissioners supervise the appointment, suspension or removal of all Township employees.

Attorney Biscontini focuses on personal injury and workers’ compensation law at Distasio & Kowalski in Wilkes-Barre. Biscontini earned his Juris Doctor at Duquesne University School of Law and also a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at Kings College. He is a member of the Pennsylvania and Luzerne County Bar Associations and the Wilkes-Barre Law Library Association. He also serves as vice president of the Plains Lions Club.

Distasio & Kowalski

Distasio & Kowalski LLC represents the victims of Auto/Truck Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability and Personal Injury/Wrongful Death. For more information on Attorney Peter J. Biscontini please read his full bio on the Distasio & Kowalski website at www.dklawllc.com.

October 18, 2016

Workers’ Comp Attorney Discusses Dangerous Jobs

Every day an average of 13 workers die on the job in the United States working dangerous jobs. According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, 4,821 workers died on the job in 2014. 20.5% of the worker fatalities in private industry were in construction. That’s one in five worker deaths coming from the construction industry.

Falls were the leading cause of construction worker deaths, accounting for nearly 40%. Other leading causes included electrocution, struck by object and caught-in/between. Referred to as the “fatal four” for construction workers, these causes were responsible in total for more than half (60.6%) of construction worker deaths in 2014.

Improving safety on construction sites can save lives. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 545 workers’ lives could be saved every year just by eliminating deaths occurring as a result of construction’s fatal four. OSHA’s number one cited violation in 2015 was fall protection. Considering that falls were the leading cause of death in construction, a strong focus on safety surrounding fall protection in construction is warranted. the third most cited violation had to do with scaffolding, which also ties into the fall hazard in construction.

Within the construction industry, Forbes reporting of the Most Dangerous Jobs has specifically mentioned roofers, steelworkers, electrical power line installers/repairers and general construction workers. Forbes information came from CareerCast using data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the CDC. Here is the complete list.

Ten Most Dangerous Jobs of 2016

  1. Taxi Drivers
  2. Nursing Assistant
  3. Construction Worker
  4. EMTs
  5. Truck Drivers
  6. Corrections Officers
  7. Firefighters
  8. Police Officers
  9. Farmers
  10. Veterinarians

Transportation-related incidences are the most common cause of work-related deaths. There are a reported 11 accidents involving semi trucks every day. Driving a truck is a dangerous job for truck drivers, as well as a danger for others on the road.

Taxi drivers also face the danger of accidents, in addition to a high rate of robberies. Nursing assistants and others in the medical field have a high chance of exposure to various contagions. This leads to a high rate of work-related illnesses. EMTs, firefighters, police officers and corrections officers all face work-related dangers every day. They are called on to go forth into hazardous situations that sometimes result in their injury or even in death, as we’ve seen in many news reports. Farmers also have a very high instance of fatalities. On farms throughout this country, there is the operation of with heavy farm machinery that can sometimes be dangerous. Finally, the danger to veterinarians is the result of injuries sustained from large animals and sometimes-dangerous animals.

construction-1A Focus on Job Safety

Policies and procedures must be put into place to protect American workers. Although OSHA and other agencies have done much to improve job safety, there is much more to be done. In a labor department report on the topic of workers’ compensation, Thomas Perez, the secretary of labor, said “A nation built on the dignity of work must provide for workers’ safety, as well as take care of them if they get hurt on the job.”

We need to focus our attention on better job safety and the enhancement of safety precautions to help prevent worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses. We must also focus on ensuring that we provide adequate workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers.

Have you been injured on a construction site or anywhere on the job in the Wilkes-Barre, Scranton or Northeast PA? Call the Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Distasio & Kowalski today at 570-970-5400. We will schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in our Wilkes-Barre office. Your safety is our top priority.

September 29, 2016

Speed limiting devices proposed to reduce large trucks crashes

truck-accidentsTwo safety regulators, the NHTSA and the FMCSA, have proposed a joint rule to help reduce large truck crashes. The rule would require large trucks and buses to be equipped with speed limiting devices. The proposal would affect all newly manufactured trucks, school buses and multipurpose vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or more. Each vehicle would be required to have its device set to a specified speed.

Safety administrations feel that this truck speed limiting safety measures could affect force of impact in the event of a crash and could save lives. The proposal addresses the benefits of setting maximum speeds of 60, 65 and 68 miles per hour. According to the Wall Street Journal, the government agencies said that capping the speeds on new large vehicles would reduce the 1,115 fatal crashes involving large trucks that occur each year. The speed limiting devices could also save $1 billion in fuel costs.

Studies in the proposal examined the relationship between travel speed and crash severity. It was concluded that the severity of a crash increases with increased travel speed. Furthermore, research found that the effect of this kinetic energy in a crash is particularly relevant for combination trucks, such as tractor-trailers, due to their large mass. Higher speeds also affect the brake time of trucks,  significantly increasing the distance it takes to come to a stop.

Researchers studied truck crashes that occurred between 2004 and 2013 where speed likely contributed to the severity of the crash. During that time period, safety administrations estimated that truck crashes resulted in 10,440 speed-related fatalities.

Large Truck Crash Statistics

The NHTSA Truck Safety Facts 2014 Data released earlier this year found that in 2014, there were 3,903 people killed in crashes involving large trucks. An estimated 111,000 people were injured in large truck crashes. This was an increase of 17 percent over the previous year. 73 percent of those people killed in large truck crashes were the occupants of other vehicles. With these facts, any measure that safety administrators can implement and enforce to reduce truck accidents and protect lives should be taken.

As truck and car accident lawyers who see the devastation and traumatic injuries caused by large truck accidents, we feel it’s important that this be addressed. Read the entire proposed trucking rule.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, call the truck accident attorneys at Distasio Kowaslski in Wilkes-Barre today at 570-970-5400. You need an attorney who is experienced at litigating truck accident cases and fighting for the injured.