Traffic Safety near NY Schools a Cause for Concern

Traffic Safety near NY Schools a Cause for Concern

About 1,800 kids are hit by cars and trucks in New York City each year, according to New York State Department of Motor Vehicle data, many of them as they make their way to and from school. A few years ago, Radio Station WNYC examined traffic safety data and found several ways in which kids are different from adults when it comes to pedestrian accidents.

There are several scenarios in which children age five to 17 are much more likely than adults to be the victim of a pedestrian accident:

  • Crossing against the signal (2 to 1, compared to adults)
  • Jaywalking or crossing at an intersection with no signal (3 to 2)
  • Emerging from behind a parked vehicle (2 to 1)
  • Playing in the street (4 to 1).

“In large cities like [ours] the most important danger to children walking to school are motor vehicles, cars,” said Charles DiMaggio, Associate Professor at Columbia University and public health expert. “Kids really are the most unpredictable pedestrians, which puts the responsibility for their safety … squarely on the shoulders of adults and drivers.”

WNYC searched for patterns in all traffic accident data where a child was injured between 2009 and the end of first quarter 2012. It found that children between ages five and 17 were hit by cars most often when walking to and from school: 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays; comprising around one-third of all pedestrian accidents during that time period.

New Data Reinforces Earlier Conclusions about Kids, Schools and Accidents

Localize.city is a smartphone app which offers real estate buyers and renters data on several important buying categories, including transportation, safety and education. One feature includes the most dangerous traffic intersections. Localize.city’s president, Steven Kalifowitz, said his firm chose to focus on the schools that were in close proximity to the most dangerous streets and place warnings that would alert parents to where they should be “extra careful.”

His company’s data shows some intersections near schools have collision rates four times higher than average, putting them in the most dangerous (“top 10”) category. Some school-proximate intersections on the list include:

  • West 14th Street, at both Sixth and Fifth avenues, near Harvest Collegiate High School in Greenwich Village; these are the ninth and tenth most dangerous intersections in the city for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • At Manhattan Village Academy High School on West 22nd Street, there were 62 collisions involving vehicles hitting pedestrians or cyclists within 500 feet of the school between 2013 and 2017. It’s around the corner from Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street; which ranks as the city’s third-most dangerous intersection.
  • PS 33 Timothy Dwight is near the intersection of Jerome Avenue and West Fordham Road in The Bronx. There were 67 nearby vehicle crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists there last year, making it the city’s fifth-most dangerous intersection.

Many have suggested that an increase in traffic cameras used to catch speeders might be an answer.  Such an increase of the legal limit of traffic cameras from 140 across the city to 290 was proposed during recent state budget negotiations – but it was defeated. So it falls mostly to the city’s Department of Transportation and other areas of government and law enforcement to keep awareness alive.

Last year [2017] was “the safest year on record for traffic fatalities, and this year’s overall fatality numbers fall below that in a year-to-date comparison thus far,” according to City Transportation Department spokesman Scott Gastel.

If your child has been injured as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle while walking to or from school, please contact The Kaplan Law Firm today.

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