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Why are so few criminal charges filed against drivers who violate pedestrian laws?

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In a recent blog post, we discussed the significant number of pedestrians and bicyclists who are injured in traffic accidents every year in New York City. We also questioned whether city and law enforcement officials are doing enough to prevent such accidents. According to at least one traffic safety nonprofit in the city, Transportation Alternatives, the answer appears to be no.

The group recently released a report in which it discussed the failures on the parts of the city’s district attorneys in pursing the prosecution of drivers who violate traffic laws. In particular, the group cited low prosecution rates with regard to some of the city’s newer laws which are largely aimed to protect pedestrians.

In fact, despite pledges by city officials to eliminate traffic deaths under its Vision Zero campaign, DAs throughout the city have only brought criminal charges using four of these new laws “a total of 46 times.” 38 of these criminal convictions were sought against drivers who violated the city’s right-of-way law whereas only eight were filed in relation to drivers who failed to use due care.

Even more troubling is the fact that city DAs have only pursued charges against two percent of drivers in hit-and-run cases. This shockingly low figure is likely a direct reflection of the overall low investigation rate into hit-and-run traffic accidents which is reportedly at less than one percent. Despite these figures, city officials continue to profess their commitment to vision zero and to preventing traffic accidents, injuries and deaths.

For those pedestrians who are injured in a traffic accident, it’s important to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney. An attorney who handles personal injury matters can fight to recover compensation to help pay for medical bills, lost wages and disabling injuries.

By: Andrew Levine

Andrew J. Levine is co-owner at Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm, P.C. in New York, NY. A graduate of Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. For 15 years he has been widely trusted and respected as a formidable attorney but acknowledged as a reasonable and ethical collaborator who impresses clients, judges and jurors alike. Andrew has been featured in New York Magazine as one of New York’s “Top Personal Injury Litigators” and recognized by Super Lawyers as a “Top Rated Personal Injury Attorney in New York.” View all posts by Andrew Levine

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