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Legendary Lawyer Wants NY to Hold Reckless Drivers Accountable

The lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy have long been calling on New York to begin enforcing the laws in a meaningful way against reckless drivers. Far too often we have seen defenseless folks seriously injured or killed by a blatantly reckless driver only to see the driver walk away often without even a slap on the wrist. Now, Block O'Toole & Murphy has a powerful ally advocating for reckless drivers to be held responsible for their misconduct.

In a recent New York Daily News editorial, renowned attorney Alan Dershowitz discussed the constant dangers the city's motorists, passengers and pedestrians face due to reckless driving. Mr. Dershowitz talked about the obvious risks associated with negligent driving, including intoxication, speeding, disregarding traffic devices, texting or other forms of driver distraction. The article discusses the inherent challenges in bringing negligent drivers to justice and also laments the reality that law enforcement is apathetic about dangerous driving unless or until it results in a fatality or severe injuries. Even then, Dershowitz points out that only 5% of city drivers who kill pedestrians are charged with serious crimes. Mr. Dershowitz concludes that traditional law enforcement measures have little if any deterrent effect on negligent and reckless driving in New York City. Why? He forcefully and convincingly argues that the combination of apathy with reckless drivers who haven't killed yet, and the legal challenges with following through successfully with a criminal prosecution have led to a massive increase in serious auto collisions and fatal pedestrian accidents in recent years.

Make no mistake: a car is a deadly weapon if used in a reckless manner, no different than a .9 mm on the street. Something definitely has to change.

Dershowitz suggests some changes to New York's outdated and ineffective approach. They include uniform arrest and prosecution for all reckless drivers; not just the ones that kill. His theory is that the deterrent impact is far greater in that context than merely going after the fatal offenders. After all, few drivers contemplate actually killing someone beforehand. But, if they all thought about the legal consequences of merely driving recklessly, perhaps it will alter some behavior and save lives. He also offers that an increase in the number of tickets given for serious moving violations accompanied by a much higher price tag will lead to less serious accidents. Again, deterrence is the theme here. The more tickets and the greater weight the reckless drivers feels as a consequence of their actions will likely result in more drivers reigning their behavior in. There is also mention of red-light and speed cameras and how they may deter reckless drivers.

This is an important and thoughtful piece written by a well-respected lawyer. His comments are from the heart because he recently lost his sister-in-law to a collision in Manhattan. We suggest you give it a read. We agree with much of what Mr. Dershowitz has to say. Fatal pedestrian accidents and serious auto collisions are an ongoing concern in New York City. It is a problem that is not going away. While the City seems to be placing greater emphasis on it of late, the statistics for fatal accidents are soaring. In fact, they have never been higher.

The trial lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy also have experience in what a person endures after a serious collision. We have represented the unwary pedestrian that has been struck by a bus, truck or car and understand their struggles. For instance, we have won a $32,756,156 verdict, a $12,000,000 settlement and a $8,800,000 settlement for pedestrian victims. We also have represented folks whose lives have been devastated by auto collisions. For instance, we won a $22,500,000 settlement and a $14,000,000 verdict for seriously injured clients. The serious injury lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy have amassed more than $750,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for our injured clients. To learn more about our firm, please see the firm website at For a free consultation, please call us at 212.736.5300.


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