A NYPD police car responding to a scene of a crime struck a teen girl in the Bronx recently leaving her looking like “a human pretzel” according to witnesses. The 13-year-old girl was hit on Grand Concourse at East 170th street when she tried to run across the street with the light still blinking. The police officer that hit her had just given a motorist a ticket and was responding to a call about a stabbing at the time of the accident.
The lights and sirens were on as the cruiser sped down the street. The girl was in stable condition despite bleeding from the mouth and neck. She was lucky to say the least because many accidents involving pedestrians do not have happy outcomes.
In late June of this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the subject of speeding in school zones by passing a new law authorizing the use of school speed zone cameras in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and expanding use of current camera speed zones in parts of New York. It is his goal to provide safer conditions for children, encourage drivers to be safe, and help law enforcement catch and punish violators.
Saving children’s lives is something the Governor is hoping to achieve with Bill A.09206/S.06918. It allows the use of photo speed violation monitoring systems in one school speed zone per district in Nassau and Suffolk counties. It also increases the number of New York City school zones eligible to use speed cameras by 20 for a total of 140.
The New York Department of Transportation (DOT) published the Pedestrian Safety Report and Action Plan which examined over 7,000 records of crashes that causes serious injuries or fatalities to pedestrians. What they founds was that “Traffic crashes cost the City’s economy $4.29 billion annually.” That’s a tremendous amount of money that could be spent elsewhere.
Even more incredible is that “Pedestrians are 10 times more likely to die than a motor vehicle occupant in the event of a crash.” Inattentive drivers were cited in nearly 36% of crashes where pedestrians were killed or seriously injured. Failing to yield was responsible for 27% of fatal pedestrian crashes.
Males are more likely to kill or seriously injure pedestrians. 80% of the crashes examined involved male drivers. Installing additional pedestrian signals at crosswalks and reducing speed limits in school zones are among the different tactics used by the DOT to reduce the amount of accidents and deaths involving pedestrians.
An increase in pedestrian deaths in 2014 poses a lot of questions. What is the best way to address a growing problem in the city? NYPD data showed that there were 156 fatalities in 2013 which was a small increase from 2012’s 152 and a significant jump from 2011’s 142.
The number of children struck and killed by cars was close to doubling between 2011 and 2013. It went from seven to 13 in just a few years. Speed zone cameras can help law enforcement crack down on violators better and ultimately save more pedestrian lives in the future.
Bronx car accident lawyers deal with these types of accidents on a routine basis. Inattentive walking is every bit as dangerous as distracted driving. This is particularly true for young people who have no ability to judge distances or assess the level of danger that potentially awaits them by running across a busy intersection and into traffic.
About the Author:
Joseph G. Macaluso is a personal injury lawyer practicing at the Bronx law firm of Macaluso & Fafinski, P.C. A graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Mr. Macaluso has been in private practice since 1990 with an exclusive focus on personal injury and medical malpractice. A member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, he has served on the Legislative Committee of this organization and is also a member of the Bronx County Bar Association and has served on the Board of Directors of Bronx Legal Services.