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Hold drivers more accountable for their role in car accidents

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How many pedestrians and cyclists do you think die in crashes in an average month in New York City? If you guessed a dozen, you would be right; a recent report shows that New York City car accidents led to the deaths of at least 11 pedestrians and one cyclist in June 2015. Statistics for the entire calendar year indicate that 62 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed in car accidents since the beginning of 2015, and more than 6,200 have been injured.

If those numbers sound astonishing to you, you are not alone. The stark reality of pedestrian fatalities can be shocking when the numbers are finally crunched. Even more disconcerting is the fact that most victims of the fatal crashes had the right-of-way; one victim was even killed while inside a building. Other victims were walking on the sidewalk or in marked crosswalks.

Experts say that even though these victims clearly have the right-of-way, authorities are loath to enforce the criminal regulations that are designed to protect pedestrians. In fact, only one right-of-way citation was issued in connection with a pedestrian accident in the entire month of June. This is particularly surprising, considering that more than 1,200 pedestrian accidents were caused by drivers failing to yield the right-of-way since the beginning of the year. Other contributing factors include driver inattention and inexperience, following too closely and unsafe lane changing. Historical records indicate that fewer than half of those drivers accused of killing a New York pedestrian or cyclist end up receiving a citation for careless or reckless driving.

Since the criminal courts seem to overlook these egregious violations, victims of vehicle crashes in New York City must look to the civil courts for solutions. Victims whose family members have been killed in a car accident may be entitled to damages for wrongful death, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, medical bills and a variety of other costs. At-fault drivers need to be held responsible for their negligence and recklessness.

Source: StreetsBlog NYC, “NYPD: Drivers Injured 1,228 Pedestrians and Cyclists in June, and Killed 10,” Brad Aaron, Aug. 06, 2015

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