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New York City takes steps to prevent child pedestrian accidents

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For many New York City residents, walking is a major and preferred means of transportation. Even though pedestrians are plentiful in the city, they are not immune to the dangers posed by motorists. This fact becomes especially apparent when reviewing New York City rates of child pedestrian fatalities.

According to the Health Department, from 2003 to 2012, a total of 78 child pedestrians under the age of 12 were killed in the city. When examining these tragic deaths, researchers note that a significant number of children were hit by motor vehicles in close proximity to their homes and while “crossing against the traffic light at an intersection or crossing mid-street.”

According to the New York City Government’s website, pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for New York City children under the age of 14. In an effort to improve pedestrian safety and prevent “traffic death and injuries” in the city, the government has enacted a Vision Zero Action Plan.

Speeding, distracted driving and failing to yield to pedestrians are all factors that have been identified as contributing to pedestrian accidents in the city. Reducing these types of dangerous driving behaviors is key to preventing pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

To date, Vision Zero initiatives to improve pedestrian safety include “reengineering intersections and corridors”, installing additional traffic signals and increasing pedestrian safety education for school-age children.

Any pedestrian who survives being hit by a motor vehicle is likely to suffer injuries that are serious and that have long-term and disabling physical and mental effects. This is often especially true in pedestrian accidents involving children whose bodies and brains are still developing and therefore more fragile to the effects of injury.

Source: Staten Island Live, “Motor vehicles remain the leading cause of ‘injury death’ for NYC children, study shows,” Vincent Barone, May 5, 2015

NYC.gov, “Vision Zero,” May 29, 2015

Jason Fuiman

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Co-Managing Partner and Chair of O'Dwyer & Bernstien's Labor & Employee Benefits practice, Jason has over twenty years of experience in the New York legal industry.