New data shows that illegal driving behaviors are responsible for the vast majority of New York City pedestrian and bicycle deaths.
The advocacy group Transportation Alternatives recently analyzed New York State Department of Transportation crash reports relating to New York City fatal bicycle and pedestrian accidents between 1995 and 2009. It found that an astounding 60 percent of all accidents with known causes can be attributed to illegal behavior on the part of a driver of a motor vehicle. Common accident causes included speeding, DWI and texting while driving.
In the wake of this news, Transportation Alternatives called on the New York Police Department to do more to enforce traffic laws.
The organization also wants the NYPD to do more to investigate non-fatal bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Currently, the NYPD only collects evidence when a crash is fatal or when the victim is likely to die. Accidents involving serious or catastrophic injuries aren’t always investigated. As a result, the NYPD often does not have the evidence necessary to hold drivers criminally accountable after a serious accident.
Of course, this does not mean that there is no way for victims and their families to seek justice. New York City bikers and pedestrians who are injured as a result of a driver’s negligence have a right to seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit. After a fatal accident, the family of the deceased victim can bring a lawsuit for wrongful death.
Still, accident victims deserve access to both sides of the justice system. All serious accidents merit investigation, and dangerous drivers need to be held accountable for their actions.