Fatal traffic accidents have been as inevitable as vehicle congestion in New York City. Each year, approximately 250 New Yorkers are killed and another 4,000 suffered injuries in auto accidents in the city. Every two hours, a person is seriously injured by a vehicle in the city. For children under 14-year-old, a car verses pedestrian accident is the leading cause of death. This is the second leading cause of death for seniors.
Pedestrian deaths account for 56 percent of all traffic fatalities in New York City. Analysis of pedestrian fatalities over the last five years show that 70 percent of these fatalities were attributed to causes outside the pedestrians’ control such as speeding drivers or their failure to yield.
New York City has implemented a Vision Zero plan to combat this problem that requires coordination among government, advocacy groups and the private sector. It intends to combine stronger enforcement, better roadway engineering and improved emergency response.
Police will increase enforcement for serious moving violations such as speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians, signal violations, making improper turns, disobeying signs and using devices while driving. Training will be enhanced, speeding enforcement will be increased at precincts and advanced speed detection equipment will be purchased.
The Department of Transportation will change 50 intersections and corridors by making engineering and safety improvements. They will create new slow zones, install 250 speed bumps and enhance lighting at 1,000 intersections. It will issue summonses to Taxi & Limousine Commission drivers identified by traffic light cameras.
The TLC has created a safety enforcement squad equipped with speed radar equipment to enforce speed and safety regulations, will improve training and instruction of taxi drivers and will pilot technology that alerts passengers and drivers that the speed limit is being exceeded. The TLC will also conduct research on new in-car technology that limits vehicle speed, warns drivers of potential crashes or reduces the fare when the driver speeds. The City is also equipping its vehicles with technology that records speeding and other reckless driving behavior.
This program and enhanced technology will take time to implement and cannot end all car accident fatalities in New York City. Victims of these accidents should consider obtaining legal representation to help protect their rights to compensation for serious injuries and other losses.
Source: City of New York, “Vision Zero Action Plan 2014,” Retrieved Dec. 19, 2014