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Pedestrian accident numbers in the city may be eased by new law

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A new law will apply in New York City as of November 7. It reduces the speed limit on city streets from 30 to 25 mph. Mayor De Blasio pointed out that a pedestrian hit by a vehicle at 25 mph is only half as likely to die then if hit at a speed of 30 mph. That vital pedestrian accident statistic is important enough to justify the change, according to the mayor. 

The mayor also said that 291 people died in traffic-related accidents in the city last year, and about 4,000 who were injured. The mayor touted the new speed limit as an important weapon in the arsenal of the city's Vision Zero plan to end traffic-related deaths and injuries. Although it sounds like the goal is unachievable in full, it is a worthy attempt to better the numbers and reverse the cycle of unnecessary deaths and injuries.

Motorists were warned by traffic authorities that the law will be enforced, although some leeway may be given to vehicles going 26 or 27 mph. A few days before the mayor's signing of the new law, a pedestrian accident near Brooklyn Heights was reported. An elderly man was crossing the street at Cadman Plaza West at Clark Street when a Lexus struck him down and sent him to the hospital with a possible broken leg and other injuries.

Although the Lexus driver disavowed fault at the scene, the man was crossing with companions and there were other witnesses who apparently supported that the victim was crossing properly. The Lexus came around the corner without slowing down, according to witnesses. It appears that the victim did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

The New York mayor cited another statistic: vehicular accidents are the second highest cause of traumatic death for senior citizens and the leading cause for children under 14. Furthermore, a senior may be particularly vulnerable to a pedestrian accident. Hopefully, the new law will help to reduce the city's problem of accidental injuries and deaths in the coming years.

Source: brooklyneagle.com, "Accident in Brooklyn Heights brings NYC's 25-mph speed limit into focus", Mary Frost, Oct. 29, 2014

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