New York Remembers Road Traffic Victims and Tries to Prevent “Crashes”

New York City car accident lawyers see a growing number of cases each year. This fall in New York City hundreds of people marched from City Hall to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza as part of an international World Day of Remembrance. The World Day of Remembrance (WDR) for Road Traffic Victims, as adopted by the UN in 2005, is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year. It is a day “to remember the many millions killed and injured on the world’s roads, together with their families, friends and many others who are also affected.” Many of the marchers, some of whom lost loved ones of their own, carried signs that read “Crash, Not Accident.”

Automobile Crashes and Accidents in New York

What is the difference between an automobile crash in New York and an accident and why does it matter in this context? The word accident is the one most often associated with automobile collisions. But an accident implies an unavoidable event or result, or a situation largely out of one’s control. In reality, when it comes to motor vehicles there are very few true accidents on our roadways. Rarely will an automotive defect or the onset of a sudden medical event cause a truly “accidental” collision.

The New York City car accident attorneys in offices look at these daily. Consider whether or not any given motor vehicle collision fits this description. Is it an accident when a drunk driver gets behind the wheel of a car and causes a fatality? Is it an accident when someone looks down to read a text message, running through a red light into a busy intersection? How about when a driver loses control of his car because he is talking to a passenger?

It is suggested by some organizations, such as Road Peace, that attaching the word “accident” to these situations somehow acts to diminish the personal responsibility and accountability of the drivers involved. Using the word “crash” instead, suggests that there is an element of control or choice involved. In any one of the scenarios above, if the driver made a different choice, a collision would have been less likely. A driver can make the choice not to speed, or not to text while driving. A construction company can make the decision to warn drivers of obstacles in the road. If dangerous drivers and dangerous road conditions cause crashes, perhaps some can be prevented.

Reducing the Number of New York Auto Accident Injuries

Before the march to the United Nations, Mayor DeBlasio spoke to the crowd in City Hall Park and addressed the recent string of vehicle-related deaths in the city. In fact, 13 people were killed in three weeks. The number of deaths has called into question the mayor’s “vision zero” plan which was intended to reduce the number of traffic-related deaths in the city to zero. The plan contains new legislation, new enforcement regulations, and increased penalties for drivers in NYC. According to the mayor, the speed limit has been reduced to 25 mph, and over 125 intersections have been redesigned. Also, the police department has issued twice the typical number of tickets for speeding and three times the number of tickets for failing to yield to pedestrians.

The mayor stated that part of reducing the number of crashes is “reminding these drivers there are consequences to their reckless actions.” He added, “if it takes the presence of an NYPD car, that officer walking up to your window and the ticket that will cost you a lot of money, if that’s what it takes to change behavior, I guarantee we’ll give you plenty of that.”

In his address to the crowd that consisted of many families who have been seriously impacted by traffic crashes, the mayor stated, “We have to put the most important thing first, which is saving lives. Not rushing to your next appointment, trying to get through one more light, but actually saving lives.”

If we can change the behavior of drivers, perhaps we can change the number of injuries and fatalities as well. Whether increased penalties, road safety revisions, and greater enforcement will make a difference, however, remains to be seen.

Contact New York Personal Injury Attorneys if You Suffer Injuries in a Car Accident

If you have been in a traffic crash and have sustained injuries, contact our compassionate trial attorneys at Leeds Brown Law. With decades of personal injury litigation experience in New York, including automobile crashes, we may be able to help you secure the compensation you deserve and assist you on your road to recovery.

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