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A vision for New York City car accidents

One mother loses her 23-year-old son and another mom's heart is broken when her three-year-old daughter is killed on a New York City street. The tie that binds the women together: tragic pedestrian accidents.

A recent City Journal article discusses the tragedies but also hails Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Vision Zero" plan to reduce car accident deaths to zero. The city police department has a similarly ambitious goal to cut the number of murders down to zero.

The plan is inspired by an effort in Sweden, where Stockholm traffic deaths dropped 45 percent, and pedestrian fatalities went down by 31 percent since 1999.

The approach to traffic fatalities includes a philosophy that holds not only drivers accountable for fatalities, but also the system that produces road design, traffic signage, enforcement and so on.

Even those pushing “Vision Zero” understand that no one can design an accident-free traffic system, but according to the City Journal article, “by applying rigorous, data-based methods, they can cut down on (accidents) dramatically.”

The writer expects strong opposition from politicians in City Hall and the state’s capital. The opposition might be just as fierce from drivers who habitually speed and pay attention to distracting electronic devices while they’re behind the wheel.

While New York City has made progress in reducing pedestrian accidents since 1990, it still has a long way to go to get to zero. In 1990, 701 people died in motor vehicle accidents, with 366 of them pedestrians. Last year, there were 288 traffic fatalities, including 170 pedestrian victims.

Though the goal is zero, the reality today is that far too many people are killed or injured in pedestrian accidents. For those who lose loved ones or suffer serious injuries, an attorney can help you to pursue full compensation for damages carelessly inflicted.

Source: City Journal, "New York’s Next Public Safety Revolution," Spring 2014

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