Pedestrian accidents continue to be a focus of the New York City Police Department. In the past, the lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have monitored how the N.Y.P.D. has approached the problem and shared our thoughts with you, the readers.
Too often in the last few years, there has been a focus on the pedestrian as the source of the problem and little attention on rogue drivers. To be clear, we are not suggesting that drivers are the sole cause; nor are we claiming that pedestrians are not in any way responsible for the dramatic increase in violent traffic collisions. Rather, we are merely pointing out that, previously, the police had placed a disproportionate amount of blame on pedestrians.
According to a New York Post article, cops have shifted gears and have begun to target reckless drivers in an attempt to reduce the number of violent collisions.
As advocates for pedestrian victims, we have long called for increased and sustained investigations after serious accidents, while demanding that drivers be held accountable when appropriate. How can the city do this? They can start by increasing the number of qualified investigators that are responsible for investigating collisions. This is merely a resource allocation issue. The police can also responsibly issue more summonses to drivers that ignore the rules of the road. Another preventative measure is to identify problem collision areas and have a stronger police presence in those areas to deter offenders from ignoring the law.
The Post piece examines how an undercover operation reveals the depth of the problem. One undercover officer pretends to be a pedestrian while another nearby cop waits for a motorist who fails to yield to the pretend “pedestrian.” When they catch an offender, they issue summonses. In just 2 days, cops reportedly nailed 17 offenders in Brooklyn’s 78th Precinct, which covers Park Slope. It is no small detail that this neighborhood happens to be the area where Mayor DeBlasio resided before moving to Gracie Mansion. Hopefully this type of enforcement and commitment will continue.
What are the stakes when the city fails to pay attention to the pedestrian accident problem? Lives are lost or forever changed. As trial lawyers, we have the evidence to prove it, including a $32,756,156 verdict, a $12,000,000 settlement and a $8,800,000 settlement all on behalf of seriously injured pedestrians. We have seen the devastation that can result when a reckless driver strikes a pedestrian. We must remain vigilant in trying to keep our streets safe.