NEW YORK – Traffic fatalities across the nation have been declining but a digging deeper into the numbers, there are still reasons to be alarmed. Truck crashes, for example, are spiking and so are collisions involving bicycles. However, a new report puts pedestrians in the spotlight.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 pedestrians were struck and killed by vehicles in 2013, the most recent year of data available. It’s a 15-percent jump from the previous decade.
New York car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes said few places are affected more by these crashes than New York City.
“Last year, more than 120 pedestrians were killed in New York,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “This year, the total is already over 70 pedestrians killed and many more have been injured.”
In 2014, more than half of the city’s total traffic fatalities involved pedestrians. Cities across the country, including New York, are scrambling to create traffic and transportation plans to curb the number of these accidents.
Despite having a program called ‘Vision Zero,’ which aims to eliminate pedestrian deaths, New York City is on-pace to record more pedestrian fatalities than last year.
One possible factor for the growing number of deadly crashes is distraction. Not only are some drivers distracted by cellphones, the GHSA report suggests pedestrians are too. According to the report, men and women between 20 and 29 years-old were the highest at risk of being involved in a crash. Researchers also discovered as many as 2 million pedestrians suffered injuries related to texting and walking.
“Distractions are now the leading cause of car crashes,” Cellino said. “Drivers have the responsibility of operating a deadly machine, so it is up to them to avoid distractions and drive at the safest speed.”
Other cities like Washington D.C. also expect to adopt a Vision Zero plan in an attempt to curb pedestrian deaths. The plan has been successful elsewhere around the globe and traffic officials in the Big Apple hope, eventually, the plan will also succeed in New York.