Back in 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced what is known as Vision Zero, a program created to reduce traffic fatalities. The program, which is partly based on a Swedish model, is aimed especially at addressing pedestrian deaths. The idea is that pedestrian deaths are better understood as the product of failed street design rather than mistakes in judgment.
The program met with some initial success, but an increasing number of pedestrian fatalities have prompted de Blasio’s expansion of the program. Apparently, the largest portion of the new money being funneled into the program will go toward redesigning streets, spreading the use of features like pedestrian islands, signals, brighter lights, pedestrian ramps, speed cameras, crossing signs and additional turning lanes.
According to de Blasio, the biggest obstacle to getting to zero is reckless drivers, since they present the greatest threat of causing injury and death. That being said, de Blasio has also called on pedestrians to exercise increased caution on city streets, particularly in using cell phones while navigating traffic. Drivers, of course, are far more dangerous when distracted by cell phone use, and this is reflected in New York’s strict distracted driving laws, which come with steep fines for violations.
Because of the high aim of de Blasio’s Vision Zero program and the push to deliver on the promise, law enforcement is keen to catch motorists believed to be breaking the law. This is particularly the case when a pedestrian is harmed. Those who have been unfairly ticketed for distracted or reckless driving, though, have rights and should always work with an experienced attorney to build the strongest possible case in their defense.
New York Daily News, “NYC ups spending to $1.6B for effort to curb traffic deaths,” Erin Durkin, Jan. 25, 2017.
Abc7ny.com, “Mayor de Blasio wants pedestrians to pay attention, stay off phones,” Time, Sept. 9, 2016.