The proposal by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) to equip buses with cameras is coming days after two NYC drivers were seen driving on school sidewalks to avoid school bus traffic. Both cars were caught by surveillance cameras and the police are actively looking for the drivers. However in many other instances impatient New Yorkers are putting the life of children at risk by going around school buses and are never caught by the police. These reckless drivers should be identified and punished so others will think twice before acting recklessly by driving around school buses. For now drivers who are passing the school buses despite the stop signal only receive a ticket if the police catch them doing it. The ticket is $250. In New York State it is estimated that 50,000 drivers ignore the rule every year.
A pedestrian died from her injuries after being struck by a taxi driver who tried to flee the scene of the accident but was shortly after arrested by the police. 26 year old Sherena Hundalani was walking on the sidewalk of Queens Boulevard near 63rd Road next to a gas station when she was struck by a green taxi. It was not exactly clear if the driver pulled in the station to get some gas or to cut across. Witnesses saw him driving through the station and turning left onto the Queens Boulevard service road where he slammed into Sherena.
Good Samaritan stopped the reckless driver
A young man going by the name of Bolat told the News that he was at the scene of the accident with his wife and kid and that he witnessed the taxi driver behaving erratically. The taxi almost drove into him and his family before abruptly turning on the service road slamming into Sherena. Then the driver tried to leave the scene of the accident and drove the wrong way in the middle lane of the road before pulling over. After he pulled over Bolat opened the front door of the taxi and took out the key. Then the police arrived and brought the driver to the station. He was released later on at night. So far the man hasn’t charged and the police indicated that they were still investigating the accident.
Half of NYC fatal pedestrian accidents occur on 7% or 424 miles of the city’s streets. These specific streets are going to be the main focus of the new Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans that were just released by the DOT yesterday. Mayor de Blasio announced that by the end of this year specific streets and avenues will undergo design changes to protect pedestrians from being killed in traffic. The following priority corridors were identified for safety modifications:
- Westchester Avenue, Boston Road and Soundview Avenue in the Bronx
- Linden Boulevard, 8th Avenue, Surf Avenue and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn
NYC Motor vehicle accidents injuries reached a record high in 2018. 1,083 pedestrians, 4,281 cyclists, 18,687 passengers and 26,843 motorists suffered personal injury in a crash in New York City in 2018. 60,646 people were injured in NYC traffic accidents in 2018 compared to 58,990 in 2017 and 54,818 in 2013. Over the last five years the number of traffic injuries increased by more than 10%. The main reason for this increase are motorists injured in auto accidents often related to distracted driving. Distracted driving is the number one cause of crashes in New York.
The total number of traffic fatalities in New York City in 2018 was below 200 for the first time since Vision Zero was implemented. 112 pedestrians, 70 motorists, 9 cyclists and 8 passengers were killed in traffic accidents in the city in 2018. Annual traffic fatalities declined by more than 30% since 2013.
The total number of crashes in the city has been culminating above 227,000 for the last 3 years with a record 227,924 accidents in 2018. Driver inattention is the primary cause of accidents followed by driver following too closely. Backing unsafely and changing lanes unsafely are two other common causes of accidents in the city. Since 2013 auto accidents increased by 12%.
3 months after 20 people were killed in a limousine accident in Schoaries, NY (see previous blog), the National Transportation Safety Board has still not been able to inspect the vehicle. The NTSB has not been able to get closer than 15 feet from the vehicle because the local district attorney is blocking them from doing so. The accident was the deadliest of all traffic accidents in the US since 2009. The vehicle was a modified 2001 Ford excursion that had failed a state inspection and was driven by a driver that didn’t have the credentials to drive such vehicle.
In certain area such as aviation or train transportation, the NTSB has the legal authority to control the investigation but in highway crashes, local authorities are in charge and in this case the local district attorney has been keeping the federal agency from completing their investigation.
Loss of critical evidence
Secondary traffic accidents are accidents that occur after a first accident mostly because the traffic conditions changed. When a car accident occurs, the road may be blocked for a significant time so that police can proprely assess the accident scene. As a result traffic conditions quickly change, with congestion increasing the risk of additional collisions especially rear-end crashes. Studies show that secondary crashes go up by a factor of almost 24 when highway safety officials are assessing an accident scene.
REDUCED RISK OF TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
To try to speed up the assessment process, Engineers at Purdue University teamed up with the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office to study how drones could help in assessing car accident scenes. They found that drones can significantly reduce the time to assess a crash scene. A drone can typically assess a crash scene in 5 to 8 minutes. As a result safety improves for everybody involved, from officers securing and assessing the scene of the accident to emergency responders assisting the victims and regular road users stuck in the traffic congestion created by the accident. The faster the road is back to normal conditions, the safest it is for everybody.
Speed cameras have proven their efficiency in reducing car accidents as well as pedestrian injuries and deaths. As part of the Vision Zero Program, 140 speed cameras were installed nearby schools all over the city. The installation of the cameras led to a decline of 63% of speeding in school zones and pedestrian injuries decreased by 23%.
Based on this successful record the city asked the NY Senate for more cameras but New York State Senators refused to vote on a bill to continue the program and increase the number of cameras in NYC school zones to 290. As a result, all the 140 cameras were shut off in the middle of last summer.
After that episode, the Mayor signed a new city bill at the beginning of September to not only preserve but also expand the use of speed cameras in school zones. In order for the bill to become law, Cuomo declared a state of emergency and so far has been renewing the emergency order every month. The bill provided no cap on the number of speed cameras that the city was permitted to deploy. The result of a collaborative effort between City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, the bill can only expire after the state legislature passes a “photo speed violation monitoring program in the City of New York that is identical to, substantially similar to or more expansive in scope than the program that would result from the enactment of A. 7798-C, as passed by the New York state assembly on June 18, 2018.”
A pedestrian was fatally struck by a pick up truck in New York City last Friday around 5 pm. 51 year old Jose Rubi was crossing Maspeth Avenue in Bushwick when he was hit by a 46 year old man driving a 2015 Ford pick up. The driver stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged. According to the police, the driver was attempting to make a left turn onto Vandervoort Ave when he struck Rubi. He told the police that he didn’t see the victim.
The police blamed the victim for crossing “mid block”. However it is unclear how the police could determine that the pedestrian was crossing mid-block while the driver testified that that the accident occurred as he was making a left turn at the intersection.
After the accident, the pedestrian was rushed to a nearby hospital but he didn’t survive his injuries.
10 motorists and 7 pedestrians died in NYC traffic accidents in October. No fatalities were recorded among cyclists and vehicle passengers. Truck accidents reached a record high while bus accidents were unusually low for October. Motorcycle accidents started to decline compared to the summer months as the temperature drops and bikers keep their motorcycle in the garage.
The total number of monthly traffic deaths continues to decline despite a rise in the total number of monthly accidents in the city. Traffic injuries continue to rise as well.
Over the last five years while Vision Zero initiatives focused mostly on making the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, distracted driving has led to a significant increase in accidents injuries and fatalities.
3 pedestrians died in car accidents in New York this week-end.
Staten Island Pedestrian killed in Brooklyn
65 year old Losif Morgenshteyn was fatally struck by a hit and run driver as he was changing a flat tire on the driver side of his car. The accident occurred on Saturday night around 6:30 pm. on Shore Parkway near East 28th Street in Sheepshead Bay. According to CBS News, the man was hit by a white Toyota minivan with Pennsylvania plates. 3 people came out of the van and checked on the condition of the pedestrian before speeding away. The van was found empty about a mile away and the police are still looking for the driver. When the EMS arrived they gave the man CPR and then rushed him to the hospital. Unfortunately he couldn’t be saved and he was pronounced dead upon his arrival.