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Runaway Taxi Death Raises Pedestrian Safety Concerns in NYC

A tragic accident has once again drawn attention to pedestrian safety in New York City. The New York Post  reports that on December 30, 2015, a 67-year-old cab driver got out of his taxi to assist his passenger to the curb when the vehicle rolled away. The accelerating cab hit 22-year-old Suhuyn Park at the corner of W. 51st Street and 8th Avenue. She was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital with critical injuries and died five days later. A second victim sustained minor injuries.

Citizens rally over traffic safety concerns

Park’s death is a grim reminder of how perilous it can be simply to cross the street in New York City. In fact, during two deadly weeks following last Halloween, more than a dozen pedestrians were killed by motorists, prompting a rally at City Hall Park and a subsequent march to the United Nations building on November 14 to commemorate the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

However, these events do not tell the complete story of a city that seems to be making significant improvements in pedestrian safety. Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero is a comprehensive plan to regard traffic crashes as preventable incidents rather than mere accidents. New York City has lowered its default speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph and expanded enforcement of moving violations. The city is also holding pedestrians more accountable for risky behavior, handing out an increased number of citations for jaywalking.

Under Vision Zero, New York City saw an historic low for pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2014. Although statistics are not final for 2015, the New York Times reports  the trend for pedestrian fatalities was down again from the previous year, even counting the spike in traffic fatalities at the beginning of November. However, Vision Zero’s own website concedes that traffic fatalities in NYC had been trending downward dramatically “from 701 in 1990, to 381 in 2000, to an all-time low of 249 in 2011.”

At Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, our dedicated attorneys assist pedestrians who’ve been seriously injured in traffic accidents. A compassionate and knowledgeable injury lawyer can evaluate your case free of charge. 

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