New York City is reporting success with its new policies designed to reduce traffic fatalities . In 2014, the city recently reported the lowest number of pedestrian deaths ever for one year of pedestrian accident reporting. That still comes to 134 pedestrians killed in 2014, but it is a significant improvement.
The city’s ambitious Vision Zero program has led to a number of changes that seem to be working. For one thing, the speed limit was reduced to 25 mph for most areas of the city. Furthermore, speed cameras placed in the five boroughs resulted in 445,000 tickets for speeding. The city tracked 19 cameras, and reports a reduction in speeding in 2014 by 59 percent.
The transportation commissioner announced that the speeding enforcement will be continued in 2015. It will be supplemented by education and traffic safety redesigning of certain dangerous intersections and roadways. For example, one street, Queens Boulevard, which is dubbed the Boulevard of Death, will get an overhaul in safety design.
Many different considerations go into improving safety at a given location. There are such things as bike lanes, relocation of crossings, better signaling, changed signal timing and controlling the flow of intersecting roadways. However, one national automobile association criticized the city for not going slower and making more studies prior to making changes.
The point of criticism was that it takes at least three years of accumulated data to make conclusions about whether changes are needed. While New York City pursues its admirable programs and goals for reducing fatalities, those individuals injured in a pedestrian accident are entitled to make a claim for personal injury damages against a driver deemed to have been negligent. In some select instances, the lack of safety measures at certain dangerous spots may even make the city itself responsible to contribute to the damages suffered by an innocent pedestrian or bicyclist.
Source: brooklyn.ny1.com, “Mayor: Traffic-Related Accidents Hit Record Low”, Dean Meminger, Jan. 14, 2015
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