Police in New York are searching for the driver of a private sanitation truck that struck and killed a woman in Brooklyn's Bensonhurst neighborhood during the early morning hours of Jan. 16. The 67-year-old local resident was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. Accident investigation specialists from the New York City Police Department are said to be scrutinizing security camera footage to identify the truck and its driver.
Pedestrian fatalities in New York and across the country spiked in 2018 according to data from the Governor's Highway Safety Association. The organization reports that New York had the sixth highest number of pedestrian deaths last year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released estimates indicating that the number of bicyclist deaths increased by 10% in 2018. Cyclist and pedestrian deaths are on the rise in New York and across the country, with each of those statistics likely to hit its highest total in decades. Meanwhile, cars and trucks are getting safer thanks to new technologies.
The Vision Zero program in New York City that began in 2014 appears to have reduced pedestrian deaths even while the problem has ballooned throughout much of the nation. The city was among 10 large urban areas that experienced a collective drop of 15 percent in the number of pedestrians killed by vehicles in 2017. The program reduced speed limits in the city to improve safety, but people on foot continue to face a dangerous landscape. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association calculated that pedestrian deaths nationwide have jumped 51.5 percent since 2009. The report blamed multiple factors on the deadly trend.
The end of Daylight Saving Time means that many residents of New York will be making their evening commute in the dark. The diminished visibility puts both drivers and pedestrians at a higher risk for injury. Pedestrians are especially in danger in the early stages when they are trying to adjust to distractions like the glare from headlights and streetlamps.
The New York State Department of Transportation has identified Middle Neck Road by Station Plaza in Great Neck Plaza as a hot spot for pedestrian accidents. A review of data from 2014 to 2016 showed that at least 20 accidents that injured pedestrians or bicyclists happened on or close to that stretch of road. Most recently, a 2007 Lincoln struck a 71-year-old man, causing him to sustain serious head injuries.
Although there has been a concerted effort in New York City and numerous other cities and towns across the U.S., the number of fatal pedestrian accidents has remained high. While many factors have been blamed for the increase, including smartphone use and marijuana legalization, a study showed that SUVs might be a major part of the problem.
In 2016, there were 5,987 pedestrian deaths in the United States. That was a 27 percent increase since 2007, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). During this same time period, all other types of traffic fatalities dropped by 14 percent. It is believed that cell phones and marijuana are among the main culprits for the rise in pedestrian deaths.
Pedestrian accidents can involve just about anyone at anytime, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the three groups that are most at risk are people 65 and older, children ages 5 to 9, and people who have had too much to drink. Drivers in New York will want to consider the following tips so that they can safely share the road with pedestrians.
New York residents who walk everywhere may be dismayed to learn that there has been an increase in the number of fatal pedestrian accidents over the last few years. In fact, it was estimated that there were 6,000 pedestrian fatalities across the country in 2016 alone, a 22 percent increase over 2014. Because pedestrians are more vulnerable if they are struck by motor vehicles, it is important that they take steps to reduce the risks of becoming involved in a pedestrian accident.