A dramatic increase in pedestrian accidents in New York is raising local and national consciousness to find preventative measures and solutions that are more in-tune with the behaviors and perceptions of modern day motorists, as well as, pedestrians for more effective results.
Traditional issues that have long affected travel safety such as alcohol and drug abuse by both motorists and pedestrians, of course, persist and have proportionally worsen keeping pace with society’s woes. However, the greatest shift in society may be …life’s busy-ness. We seem to want to do more in less time, with greater and greater speed. Our priories…our expectations… and our sense of entitlement… are evolving. Unfortunately, along with those changes come distraction, greater risk taking… and more pedestrian accidents and fatalities.
Hurried motorist too often ignore traffic laws. A taxi cab may swerve lanes to pick up fares, a working mother speeds as she rushes to pick up her child from day care, a truck driver rushes through a yellow light to make his/her delivery deadline or a teen forgets to pull over while texting mom that they will be getting home late. All mentioned could be considered a small infraction in the motorist’s perception, yet result in pedestrian accidents in New York with critical, even fatal consequences.
Solutions must also address the fact that pedestrian attitudes and perceptions play their own part in the mounting trends and statistics documenting pedestrian accidents. Texting while driving, cell phone usage, smartphones, jaywalking and navigation of confusing intersections are contributing factors to the perils of navigating as a pedestrian.
Solutions for Pedestrian Accidents in New York:
Change Perceptions through Education:
• Increase programs for pedestrian safety and awareness at the public elementary school level
• Greater emphasis on pedestrian safety in driver education courses
• Reinforce pedestrian safety to emergency service drivers
• Increase programs for pedestrian safety at senior citizen centers, library programs for seniors etc.
• Media attention on the harmful consequences of cell phone usage (or other distractions) while driving
• Media attention of hazardous intersections
• Public promotions to lessen driver expectation and entitlement to speed
• Public promotions to increase motorist awareness of traffic laws and increased enforcement
◦ Understand pedestrians and their attitudes/characteristics
◦ Install cameras for accountability
◦ Install speed sign posts to acknowledge motorist speed
◦ Install speed bumps
◦ Target hazardous intersections for redesign (particularly four lane roads, and high speed areas)
◦ Increase visibility of pedestrians and motorist with improved lighting and/or reflectors
◦ Reexamine nighttime visibility
◦ Accommodate pedestrian flow with sidewalks
◦ Provide adequate crossing time for pedestrians (consider the elderly and physically handicapped)
◦ Reexamine crosswalk signals, eliminate confusing messages to pedestrians
◦ Increase communication with law enforcement for greater collaboration
◦ Prioritize pedestrian safety, not traffic flow in designs
◦ Enforce existing laws
◦ Elect official who are serious about prioritizing pedestrian safety
◦ Use collected evidence, statistics, data to generate new effective laws
◦ Communicate with traffic planners and designers about specific needs and requirements
If you or a loved one have been injured in pedestrian accidents in New York, call Pulvers, Pulvers & Thompson to speak with an experienced New York personal injury attorney about your legal options.