The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has reported that over 25% of child fatalities resulting from traffic crashes in the city occurred in Staten Island. This statistic is disturbing and raises questions about the factors contributing to such a high number. This article will examine the reasons behind Staten Island’s elevated rate of traffic crash-related child fatalities and propose potential solutions to prevent them.
Contributing Factors to Traffic Crash-Related Child Fatalities on Staten Island
Various factors contribute to the high rate of traffic crash-related child fatalities on Staten Island. These include the absence of pedestrian infrastructure, such as crosswalks and sidewalks, in numerous island areas. These deficiencies force children to walk on streets without proper crossings, increasing their risk of being struck by a vehicle.
Additionally, the high-speed limits on many roads on Staten Island pose another risk to children’s safety, as drivers may be unable to stop if a child suddenly appears on the road. Distracted driving is also a significant contributor to traffic crash-related fatalities on Staten Island. The lack of safe routes to school is also a factor. Many children in Staten Island must walk or bike to school without designated bicycle lanes and sidewalks, making them more vulnerable to accidents.
Dependency on Automobiles Dangerous for
Staten Island is more dependent upon automobiles for transportation than the other boroughs because the area is more residential. Staten Island drivers claim the highest highway mileage per capita because of the area’s number of motor vehicles compared with the rest of New York City.
Tips to Keep Staten Island Children Safe
The following tips might help children to stay safe:
- Urge children to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
- If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
- Children under ten should cross the street with an adult since they cannot judge the speed of an approaching automobile.
- Instruct children not to dart into the street or cross between parked vehicles.
- Children should be careful around vehicles that are backing up or turning.
- Children should wear bright colors or reflective gear and carry a flashlight at dusk or night.
- Instruct children not to use cell phones or listen to music while walking. If they need to use the phone, they should stop in a safe place.
Finding Solutions: What Can Be Done
Several ways to decrease the number of child-related fatalities in Staten Island are:
- Improve Pedestrian Infrastructure: This can be done by adding crosswalks and sidewalks, which are often lacking on Staten Island. Traffic signals, safe routes and speed bumps are other additions that might help.
- Lower the Speed Limit: This action decreases driver reaction time and reduces the risk of hitting a child if they suddenly appear on the road.
- Stricter Enforcement of Traffic Laws: Enforcing traffic laws, such as speed limits and distracted driving, can help. This action requires an increased police presence and traffic cameras. Doing this makes it harder for drivers to break the law.
- Public Transportation: Increase options for public transportation and keep bus stops and train stations safe.
- Maintain Crosswalks: Keeping crosswalks well-lit and maintained can aid in pedestrian safety.
- Education and Awareness: Driver education and awareness programs can help promote safe driving on the island. In schools, children can learn more about safe road behaviors.
The mayor of New York City has implemented a program to improve 1,000 intersections. The improvement includes dozens in Staten Island. Over six East Shore intersections have been converted to all-way stops, and multiple projects on the South Shore will bolster pedestrian safety. In addition, The New York Department of Transportation targeted priority areas where fatalities frequently occur for redesign under Vision Zero.
How an Attorney Can Help
After a child-related fatality accident on Staten Island, parents are heartbroken and angry and want things to change. One of the most effective ways to right this wrong is to bring a legal lawsuit against the wrongdoer, including the at-fault motorist and the city agencies responsible for the fatality. An attorney can meet with the deceased child’s parents without cost to review the case against the negligent wrongdoer and answer questions they may have. Our lawyers will also search for evidence capable of proving negligence and filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of lawsuit can cover funeral and burial expenses and other losses.