There Are Far Too Many Bad Drivers on New York Roads

Hit-and-Run in Patchogue

It was an almost unspeakably violent tragedy. On Sunday, December 6th, a 64-year-old man was struck by an SUV as he attempted to cross Route 112 in Patchogue. The SUV promptly pulled over, but before the driver could even check on the gentleman, he was struck by three more vehicles. Only one of these subsequent drivers stopped.

Sadly, the man did not survive.

Causing, or contributing to a traffic accident, either by striking a person, or another vehicle, or a permanent part of the roadway’s infrastructure with your vehicle, and then failing to pull over so as to assess the scene and self-identify, is a crime, commonly known as a “hit-and-run.”

In this incidence of a hit-and-run, the results were fatal. Local police are now on the hunt for a white Ford Taurus and a dark-colored Hyundai Elantra- the vehicles eyewitnesses claimed fled the scene.

Beyond the immorality of leaving behind potentially injured victims, and eschewing responsibility for the insurance processes that are necessary to complete after experiencing a crash, hit and runs are also illegal. Those that hit and run face heavy penalties in most places. However, whether or not a hit and run is classified as a felony or misdemeanor often relies on whether or not injury, death, or property damage exceeding a certain threshold has occurred.

 

Hit-and-Run Accident Statistics

As of December 1st of this year, there had been 38,000 hit-and-run accidents in New York City. If this number seems alarmingly high, it may ease your mind to know that most of these incidents were merely cases of property damage- situations involving only a vehicle and a mailbox, or a sign, etc.

However, a small percentage were vastly more serious. In fact, there were 48 cases of hit-and-run that involved a serious injury or death, and when these situations occur, the NYPD’s crash investigation squad is deployed to help close the case. So far, 28 of those cases have been closed. Leaving 20 pending cases involving accidents wherein irresponsible drivers, who have caused injury and even death, remain free to drive to this very day.

One theory posits that increasing the penalties incurred by drivers who “flee the scene” would do wonders in curbing the rate of hit and runs. New York City, as it stands, has taken a different tack in addressing this serious issue.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is attuned to this problem, and is steadfast in his commitment to reducing pedestrian deaths. In fact, he considers the safety of New York City pedestrians a primary component of his administration’s political game plan. Preliminary reports corroborate this governmental dedication. At this point in 2015, only 134 pedestrians have died due to “traffic violence.” This represents a serious downtick in this type of fatality. Mayor de Blasio attributes this “rapid progress” to a threefold modification in roadway protocol. First, speed zone camera systems have been implemented in many school zones. Secondly, the default speed limit of New York City has been reduced from 30MPH to 25MPH. Lastly, dangerous intersections have been intensely scrutinized, and redesigned so as to curtail the aspects which made them dangerous.

Speed zone cameras lead directly to an increase in driver awareness and, by extension, higher overall caution levels. Historically, studies have shown almost universally that lowering speed limits increases general safety. And the retooling of hazardous intersections relieves some of the burden from drivers. Instead of relying on the reflexes and driving ability of urban motorists, dangerous intersections have been streamlined and simplified so as to boost their accessibility and limit the potentiality of accidents. This three-pronged overhaul has had positive effects on the rate with which hit-and-run type accidents occur.

 

Kaplan Lawyers PC

Have you, or someone you love, been injured in a hit-and-run accident? Do you find yourself in the unenviable position of standing accused of fleeing the scene of an accident? No matter which side of the issue you’re currently on, we at Kaplan Lawyers PC can help. Our team of vehicular accident attorneys has a long and storied track record of both maximizing compensation for victims and, when on defense, minimizing the penalties our clients stand to face. Ideally, we’d live in a world where driving accidents didn’t exist at all. To that point, we’ve done our best to try and help educate our readers, providing driving safety tips and how-to articles for those in suboptimal situations. Though the fact remains: accidents will happen. When they do, you deserve to be represented by New York’s most highly acclaimed law firm. Our consultations are a free and easy way to get started. So if you’ve been involved in a driving accident, contact us today.