New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
A Look at Reckless Driving in New York and the Limits of Vision Zero
Posted on Apr 13, 2018 in Car Accidents
Car accidents can cause devastation to families, and those affected by an accident will need to get help from New York City motor vehicle accident attorneys to take legal action to hold drivers accountable if those drivers cause accidents that result in injuries or fatalities.
There has been a dedicated effort within New York City to try to reduce the number of fatal accidents through Vision Zero policies focused on road design that takes the needs of all motorists into account, along with other techniques for encouraging drivers to share the road more safely with pedestrians.
Unfortunately, there are limits on what Vision Zero can actually do when drivers behave recklessly, as a recent New York Times article explained.
Limits on Vision Zero and Reckless Drivers Mean Accidents Still Happen
The New York Times highlighted the limits of Vision Zero in regards to an accident involving a driver who sped through a red light and killed two children in Brooklyn. There was a picture published of the driver sitting on a gurney texting without appearing to be upset or agitated that she had just caused the deaths of two children.
The picture drew outrage from commentators calling the woman a murderer and expressing dismay that she had not been charged several days after the accident, even though she’d killed a four year old, killed a baby and injured a pregnant mother.
In response to the controversy, Mayor Bill de Blasio indicated that he wished that the woman had been arrested and highlighting the limitations of the laws that govern driver behavior. In this particular situation, because of the publicity and outrage, the Brooklyn DA, the Department of Motor Vehicles, a local city councilman, and the Department of Motor Vehicles all worked together jointly to get the driver’s license suspended. However, in ordinary cases, drivers usually walk away from crash scenes without facing any real consequences and in most cases their licenses are not revoked unless or until they are charged with a crime.
In some cases, drivers are never charged and so are free to continue driving even after they have caused a fatal accident. One example given in the New York Times involved the death of a woman who was on the phone with her husband at the time she was struck by a vehicle.
The driver who hit her had been twice arrested for heroin possession in his car, but was allowed to keep the vehicle. At the time of the accident, the driver was allowed to leave the crash scene without a drug or alcohol test and he never ended up getting a ticket or getting charged with a crime for the fatal accident. Police indicated they believed he’d had a seizure.
As the New York Times points out, incidents like this one highlight limitations of Vision Zero. While Vision Zero has been successful in causing pedestrian fatalities to drop, and 2017 was one of the safest years on record for pedestrians, Vision Zero cannot get around laws that make it difficult to take away people’s right to drive even when they are behaving in an unsafe way.
When dangerous drivers cause accidents to occur, victims should talk with New York City motor vehicle accident attorneys to find out what their rights are and how to pursue a case to at least obtain compensation from drivers who harmed them.