Vision Zero: Will The Plan to Eliminate NYC’s Traffic-Related Fatalities Work?


Reckless and distracted driving have become major issues now that nearly everyone has “portable” devices that allow us to talk, text and surf the web at all times.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently proposed a program called Vision Zero, which seeks to eliminate all pedestrian and bicycle deaths caused by motorists in New York City over the next 10 years.  The question is – will it work?

The Pros & Cons of Vision Zero

Most people think that reckless and distracted driving has gotten out of control; it causes millions of car accidents every year – many of those in New York City.  A New York Post article recently reported that over 20 taxi drivers have killed or injured pedestrians or bicyclists in New York City over the past five years.  However, only one has been criminally charged; the others were issued traffic violations and simply paid a fine.

The fire behind the issue was re-fueled in a recent New York Times article in which Dr. Barron H. Lerner told the tragic story of how his young nephew was killed earlier this year by a cab that drove directly into the child, who was crossing a street with a lit “walk” sign.

Police administered a Breathalyzer test to the driver, but the results were negative.  Dr. Lerner says that police often don’t – or can’t – do more when it comes to reckless driving, and his article likely prompted many New Yorkers to get on board with Vision Zero.

However, others still aren’t convinced that de Blasio’s project will work and say that implementing it is too expensive and time-consuming, as it would require:

  • installing speed cameras and forming a high-powered Vision Zero panel
  • increasing the number of traffic cops
  • creating a specially trained collision investigation team

Whether the proposed plan becomes a reality still remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure – distracted driving is an issue that is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

Average Cost of a Distracted Driving Accident Is $37,000

Distracted driving comes in all shapes, sizes and degrees.  It can be caused by drivers who are too preoccupied to safely operate their vehicles because they are eating, drinking, talking to passengers, playing music and, above all, using their cell phones to talk, text or search for information on the Internet.

It is one of the highest causes of car accidents in and around Syracuse, New York, and the average cost of a distracted driving accident is over $37,000 according to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).  Although New York State law bans the use of handheld mobile devices behind the wheel, it does not specifically address other forms of distraction.  However, even if a driver wasn’t charged with breaking a traffic law, evidence of distracted driving could still be used to show that the driver was negligent.

If you’ve been the victim of a reckless or distracted driver, contact an experienced New York car accident lawyer to analyze your situation, discuss your legal options and determine whether you might be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, physical and emotional pain and suffering and more.

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