The New York Personal Injury Trial Lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have been closely following the implementation of “Vision Zero” and how it impacts the alarming number of traffic fatalities in New York City. Many have heard newly elected New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio touting the goals of his grandiose “Vision Zero” plan – – specifically, to eliminate all traffic fatalities in New York City. However, few are aware of where New York’s “Vision Zero” came from. To be clear, this innovation was actually borrowed from another country.
Since 1997, Sweden has been implementing a roadway safety “Vision Zero” plan similar to the one New York City Mayor De Blasio has been slowly unveiling. In Sweden, the country’s road safety plan has been aimed at the seemingly impossible goal of reducing traffic deaths to zero with the approach that every inch of street space in its design, contours, speed limits, etc., must anticipate, and accommodate, human error.
While roadway deaths in Sweden have not been completely eliminated, the country’s rate of fatalities has been reduced to an international low. Even the most vocal of critics must concede that Sweden’s plan has been wildly successful. It has saved lives and reduced the costs associated with collisions and medical treatment. Now, Mayor De Blasio is implementing NYC’s own “Vision Zero” plan using similar strategies, targeting 2024 as the first year with no traffic deaths.
Important concepts of the Swedish model include speed limit reductions, using vegetation as barriers, creating roundabouts and using automated enforcement. In comparison, recent efforts in NYC include improved precinct-level police enforcement of speeding rules, speed bumps, the widening of parking lanes and the placement of “black box” data recorders in taxicabs. In recent weeks, the city has also reduced the speed limit to 25 m.p.h. from 30 m.p.h. in designated high traffic areas. Lastly, lawmakers have approved 140 speed cameras in New York City school zones. Sweden, by comparison, has more than 1,100 speed cameras. So, we have a long way to go but progress is being made.
Improved roadway safety is not a new goal for NYC. Mayor Bloomberg enacted street adjustments during his time as Mayor and traffic deaths decreased by about 26 percent since 2001. Last year, according to the city’s Department of Transportation, 290 people were killed.
Traffic collisions can result in serious physical injury or death. They have a devastating impact on an individual basis as well as how they change the fabric of families. The trial lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy know; we have seen some of the most tragic accidents in New York. With that, we have helped clients and their families meet the challenges presented by a serious auto collision. For instance, we persuaded a jury in Suffolk County jury to reach a verdict of $32,756,156 on behalf of a collision victim. We also reached a $22,500,000 settlement with New York State for a collision victim. Finally, our lawyers negotiated a $12,000,000 settlement for a victim in a Brooklyn collision. You can see how the firm has helped other collision victims here.
Block O’Toole & Murphy is proud to fight on behalf of and protect collision victims. The lawyers at the firm have amassed more than $750,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for their clients. You can learn more about the firm at www.blockotoole.com. For a free consultation, you can call them at 212.736.5300.