Many Manhattan County residents will agree that walking across busy city intersections can be a bit scary. Although a pedestrian right-away law is in effect, buses, taxis and cars often speed through the streets paying little attention to pedestrians crossing the road. This driver inattentiveness has led to an average of 300 pedestrian fatalities per year since 2011.
Just recently, a man was struck by a taxi while trying to cross an intersection in SoHo, and was taken to a nearly hospital in critical condition. The driver blamed intense sun glare as reason for not seeing the pedestrian. Sadly, this is not an isolated case in Manhattan County. In Brooklyn, a woman was sent to the emergency room with critical injuries after being struck by a school bus. The New York Department of Transportation is teaming up with the mayor, drivers and pedestrians to decrease the number of pedestrian accidents.
The New York City Pedestrian Safety and Action Plan
The New York Action Plan is a combination of efforts between the DOT and the New York Police Department to reduce the number of fatalities by 50 percent by the year 2030. It involves engineering new safety devices on major intersections throughout the city, enforcing driving regulations and educating the public on how to stay safe on New York roads.
Main causes for pedestrian accidents
While there are numerous reasons for pedestrian accidents, some are more common than others:
- Driver inattention accounted for 36 percent of all pedestrian crashes and was determined to be twice as deadly as other accidents.
- Failure to yield was another large cause of accidents coming in at 27 percent, with most occurrences taking place at intersections that have signals.
- Crossing against the signal was the cause in only 20 percent of pedestrian accident cases; however, these cases are 56 percent more deadly than crossing with the signal.
- Left turn crashes outnumbered those accidents where the vehicle was turning right three to one. Those turning left often have an obstructed view of the crosswalk.
- Speeding is a large indicator of an accident and incorporates issues such as driving too fast for the current weather conditions and limited sight distance.
- Driving under the influence involves eight percent of all pedestrian fatalities.
- Inappropriate lane changing or weaving can also contribute to pedestrian accidents.
Educating drivers and pedestrians on these potential hazards may help them to focus on their task at hand and be prepared for the unexpected.
Plans to increase pedestrian safety
As a way to decrease pedestrian injuries and fatalities due to being hit by motor vehicles, the New York DOT will take action by implementing the following:
- Redevelop twenty intersections, incorporating pedestrian safety.
- Redevelop over sixty miles of streets, incorporating pedestrian safety.
- Introduce a pilot program that will test compliance with the neighborhood’s 20 mph zones.
- Install pedestrian countdown signals at approximately 1,500 intersections.
- Introduce a program to increase left turn visibility along Manhattan avenues.
All of these safety precautions are expected to decrease pedestrian accidents by a significant amount.
If you or someone you know is the victim of a pedestrian accident, it is important to call an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A professional lawyer can help walk you through the process of obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.