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New York roadways scrutinized in wake of fatal accident

When individuals travel along stretches of roadway provided by the city or state, they likely feel secure in terms of the safety of the roadways and their structures. Sadly, this belief is not always well-founded. A recent accident has turned the spotlight on what some consider unsafe roadways in New York.

Recently, seven individuals were killed in a fatal car accident in which an SUV plunged off the Bronx River Parkway and fell 50 feet into a ravine on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo.

This accident is by no means the first such to occur on this stretch of roadway. Just last year, another SUV went out of control and hit a divider, careened through two lanes of traffic and eventually fell over the guardrail. There were no fatalities in that car accident, but the passengers were injured Yet another accident in 2006, in the same area, left six people dead when a car crossed over into the oncoming lane.

According to the state Department of Transportation, this stretch has been listed on the federally mandated "5 Percent" report, which lists the top 5 percent of roads with the highest rate of serious car accidents. Narrow, winding roads like the Bronx River Parkway were never intended to carry the level of commuter traffic they do now and they are sorely in need of modernization, according to critics. They blame city and state officials for failing to address the dangerous conditions on the roads. In the most recent instance, for example, it is thought that hitting a 2-foot curb actually propelled the SUV up and over the 4-foot guardrail.

All drivers need to be alert in challenging situations and follow the rules of the road. But on some roads, due to poor design, poor maintenance or both, that's just not enough to avoid injury or even a fatal accident.

Source: The Journal News, "Bronx River Parkway fatal accident stretch among state's most dangerous roads," Shawn Cohen, Ned Rauch and Rebecca Baker, April 30, 2012; Times Union, "City crash puts roads in focus," Associated Press, May 5, 2012; MSNBC, "Expert: Inadequate guardrails on Bronx overpass where seven died," May 1, 2012

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