A 19 year old driver died and two teen passengers were injured in a car accident in New York City. The accident occurred Tuesday afternoon around 4:30 pm. 19 year old Claudio Poggy was speeding in a Mercedes. Two of his friends aged 16 and 19 year-old were on board. According to witnesses, he was drag racing. As he was speeding north on Kings Highway, Brooklyn, the driver lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree at the intersection with avenue D. The impact was so brutal that the driver died at the scene of the accident. The 16 year old passenger suffered critical injury and the 19 year old one minor injuries. Investigators found that the speedometer was stuck on 130 mph on the unregistered Mercedes.
Male teen driver with teen passengers is a deadly combination
The risk of car accidents is higher among 16 to 19 year-old drivers than among any other age group. Car accidents are indeed the leading cause of death for American teens. According to statistics 6 teenagers die and hundreds of them are injured every day in car accidents in the US. The risk of dying in car accidents is two times higher for male drivers than for female drivers. When another teen is on board with a teen driver, the risk of a fatal crash doubles and increases further when more teen passengers are in the car.
A pedestrian was killed by a hit and run driver in New York on Friday. 26 year old Erica Imbasciani was fatally pinned against a parked car by a speeding hit and run driver on 141st Street and Amsterdam on Friday night. The driver was caught by the police and identified as 27 year old Tyrik Cooper. The police alleged the driver was on drugs and he was slapped with numerous charges including driving without a license, leaving the scene of an accident and vehicular manslaughter. The young female pedestrian suffered massive head and body trauma. She was rushed to the hospital but didn’t survive.
Community Board opposed Vision Zero street safety redesign
The accident occurred in an area that had been targeted by Vision Zero for a safety street redesign as early as March 2017 that had been opposed by the community board. On March 2017, the DOT presented a proposal to the Community Board 9 to eliminate one through lane in both directions and add an unprotected bike lane as well as other traffic calming measures such as left turn treatments and pedestrian islands on Amsterdam Avenue between 113rd Street and 162nd Street. The street redesign was proposed after statistics indicated that the area was particularly prone to speeding and reckless driving. Four pedestrians were killed and 28 of them were injured on this street segment between 2010 and 2014. An additional 8 people were also injured in bicycle accidents during the same time and in the same area.
Speed cameras have proven to significantly reduce car accidents related to speed in NYC school zones. Sine the first cameras were installed in 2013, statistics show that speeding went down by 63% in the 160 zones where the cameras have been installed. Four million speeding tickets have been issued over four years by the first program. Drivers who exceed by more than 10 miles the 25 mph speed limit receive a fine of $50. This amount is less than a school zone speeding ticket given by an NYPD officer which can go from $300 to $1200 depending on cases. After being caught once, drivers usually slow down and rarely get caught a second time. Speed cameras are an effective way to make drivers slow down, make school zones safer and prevent accidents.
Pilot speed cameras program installed in 2013 were temporarily shut down by NY Senate
The first school zone speed cameras program was launched as a pilot in 2013 and expired last summer after the NY Senate controlled by Republicans refused to extend it and increase the number of cameras to 290. In order to keep the program alive Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency and allowed a bill signed by mayor de Blasio and created by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez to become law. The bill not only extended the actual 160 speed cameras program but also allowed for the installation of an unlimited number of additional cameras in the city. The bill was temporary and would only expire if a similar program was signed by the NY legislature. To keep it alive Governor Cuomo had to renew the State of Emergency every month.
Reckless driving can cause dangerous car accidents in NYC and NYPD officers who are supposed to lead by example and prevent such behavior are indeed the worst offenders. After investigating the driving habits of NYPD personal, Streetblog found that some NYPD officers were repeatedly ticketed for serious violations. Among the wort drivers was a Park Slope, Brooklyn cop who accumulated 58 serious moving violations and another cop from Harlem in Manhattan who got 41 of them.
Globally when comparing regular drivers to cop drivers, police officers drive their regular car twice as recklessly as regular New Yorkers. Streetblog found that 36% of regular New Yorkers had their car ticketed once for a serious violation compared to 58% for cops’ personal cars. Additionally 19% of regular people’s cars received a second serious violation compared to 37% of cops’ personal cars.
Streetblog also found that if the Reckless Driver Accountability Act would pass, more cops’ cars than regular New Yorkers’ cars would be seized by the City
A cyclist was fatally struck by a car in NYC on Thursday. The victim, identified as 53 year old Robert Spencer, is the sixth person to die in a bicycle accident in New York City since the beginning of the year. Spencer was riding his bicycle on Borden Avenue on Thursday morning a little bit before 8:00 am when he was struck by a car traveling on Second Street in Queens. The driver, a 51 year old man stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged.The victim was rushed to the hospital but he couldn’t be saved.
The area where the accident occurred used to be industrial but recent developments are quickly transforming the neighborhood into a more residential area. While there is a protected bike lane on Second Street, Borden offers no protection for cyclists. According to residents, speeding double parking and failing to yield to pedestrians is common on Borden. The shareholders of the Murano, a residential building located a block away from the accident have already written a letter to the city and to their Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer to ask for a two-way protected bike-lane on Borden as well as other traffic calming measures. Their effort was supported by Van Bramer who wrote directly to the DOT on March 4th to support the residents’request for a bike lane and other traffic calming measures. The residents of the Murano also tried to lobby their local community board for protected bike lanes along Borden Avenue, but the community board refused to consider their request. (read more in Street blog)
Bike lane delays are not about the money but about the community
The driver who fatally struck an 85 year old woman in Brooklyn, NYC, last Wednesday had previously received 10 tickets for speeding in a school zone and two for running red lights. The police haven’t filed any charges against the driver. The daughter is furious and wants the driver charged. She believes that a bill such as the “Reckless Driver Accountability Act” proposed by Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander would help stop reckless driving in New York and could have prevented the death of her mother. The bill was proposed last year by Councilman Brad Lander after a reckless driver killed Abigail Blumenstein and Joshua Lew in Park Slope. Stella Clinton was backed over by the reckless driver as she was walking home from her Brooklyn parish church after an Ash Wednesday service. The accident occurred on Avenue S near Brown Street, in Marine Park, Brooklyn.
Read more in the NY Daily News
19 people died in 167,686 NYC motor vehicle accidents in January 2019 . More than half of the fatalities were pedestrians. 3 of the fatalities were cyclists, 3 were passengers and 3 others died behind the wheel. This number compared to 20 fatalities in December and respectively 11, 18, 17, 13, 21 and 28 in January 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. This is the highest amount of traffic deaths for a month of January in 5 years. (click on graphs for full size view)
For the third consecutive years NYC auto accident injuries in January stayed above 4,000. 4,347 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents in New York City in January compared to 5,361 in December 2017 and respectively 4,351, 4,383, 3,624, 3,449, 3,899 and 3,993 in January 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.
Pedestrian fatalities increased by more than 40% in January 2019 compared to January 2018. However the number of pedestrian fatalities was still half what it was before Vision Zero started. 10 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in New York City in January 2019 compared to 7 in January 2018 and 20 in January 2013. A month before in December 2018, 16 pedestrian died in traffic fatalities. The period covering October November December and January is the most dangerous for pedestrians because the sun goes down a little bit after 4 pm and pedestrians become less visible by motorists during the rush hours. The city is running preventive campaigns to raise awareness about this problem. It looks like the campaign was more effective last year than this year as monthly pedestrian injuries never went above 10 during the entire period of October November December and January. This year, except for October monthly pedestrian fatalities were back above 10 during the fall and winter months.
The train accident occurred Tuesday night during rush hour at a railroad crossing near the Long Island Rail Road Westbury Station in Nassau County, NY. As the gates were down and the lights were flashing, the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident was witnessed driving around the gates to cross the railroad tracks. As he was in the middle of the railroad crossing, the vehicle was struck by a train that had just left the Westbury station and was heading East. The vehicle was then hit a second time by another train arriving at full speed in the opposite direction. The impact caused the two first cars of the westbound train to derail while the last car of the eastbound train struck a platform and partially destroyed it. The 3 occupants of the vehicle all died in the accident. So far the vehicle was so mangled that it was difficult to identify who were the victims and what type of vehicle it was. After further investigation the police found that the victims were 3 workers of a grocery store located a block away from the crossing: dairy manager Jesus Hernandez, and meat department workers Saul Martinez and Miguel Luna. According to a witness the men travelling in a maroon SUV might have been involved in a fender bender moments earlier and were trying to flee the scene of the accident.
7 other people who were travelling on the westbound train were also injured. They were transported to the hospital to be treated for non fatal injuries. Around 1000 people had to be evacuated from both trains and heavy delays were expected as crews had to work on two train derailments and assess damages to the tracks and to the platform.
Apple recently dodged several product liability lawsuits from families of victims of distracted driving crashes. The lawsuits claimed that Apple not only is aware that the Iphone triggers dangerous compulsive behaviors in some individuals but that the company has the technological means to prevent such behavior when a cellphone user is driving.
Back in 2008, the company submitted a patent for a lockout mechanism that disabled certain phone functions such as texting that could interfere with safe driving when the user is behind the wheel. In the patent, Apple indicated that it was fully aware of the dangers of its product by writing: “Texting while driving has become so widespread that it is doubtful that law enforcement will have any significant effect on stopping the process”. Later on in 2017 Apple briefly introduced a “Do not Disturb while Driving App”. The app had to be activated by the user and critics said that compulsive users would not be the one activating it.
Despite being aware of the danger of its product, Apple still hasn’t implemented any technology to protect innocent people from being killed on the road on a daily basis. So far all product litigation against the popular company has been dismissed. One of the most recent ones involved the family of 5 year old Moriah Modisette. Back in 2014, Moriah was in a car with her parents and her sister on a highway in Dallas when Garrett Wilhelm crashed into their car. Moriah died and her parents and sister were injured. The investigation found that at the time of the accident Wilhem was chatting on FaceTime.