Two Children Killed In Brooklyn Traffic Accidents
March 5, 2020 | Napoli Shkolnik News
Last week in Brooklyn, two children were fatally hit by vehicles in a traffic accident, while walking to school.
The first death occurred last Tuesday when a ten-year-old girl crossing the street with her older brother was hit by an empty school bus making a right turn.
Just two days later and two miles away, a seven-year-old boy was hit and killed by a Jeep SUV.
The boy was walking to school with his mother who was also hit and is in critical condition.
Both had the right-of-way.
The owner of the SUV was driving with a suspended license and authorities said she initially fled the scene but returned moments later.
Drivers in both incidents were charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care.
Parents are now calling for crossing guards at busy intersections that are close to schools.
Two crossing guards appeared Thursday afternoon at the intersection where the fatal incident occurred, but neighbors were frustrated it took a child dying for that to finally happen.
Neighbors said the intersection was dangerous as buses and garbage trucks often ignore stop signs.
Niurka Vasquez, 35, lives with her two children next to the intersection.
“The thing is, around here they never stop,” Vasquez told the New York Times.
“Sooner or later, it was going to happen.”
After the second incident, Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted “The NYPD is committed to protecting our schools and making sure every student gets to class safely,” he wrote.
“We will be increasing efforts in the coming days to keep our streets safe. Our kids deserve nothing less.”
In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio created the Vision Zero plan on street safety with the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and injuries in New York City by 2024.
In 2018, traffic deaths fell to the lowest they had been in the state in a century, but in 2019 traffic and pedestrian deaths increased. So far in 2020, there have been 22 pedestrian deaths and six in the past week.
Also last week, an 88-year-old woman was killed crossing the street in Queens, a 26-year-old man was killed in a hit-and-run in Brooklyn, a 59-old-woman was killed by a car in the Bronx, and a 39-year-old man was killed by two vehicles in the Bronx.
Being hit by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14 and the second leading cause of death for senior citizens.
The Vision Zero plan is based on the belief that traffic accidents are not accidents but are preventable with stricter traffic laws and enforcement, better public education, and changing street designs.
Recent New York City initiatives to deter reckless driving include installing red-light and speed cameras near schools, giving pedestrians exclusive crossing time or a head start, lowering the speed limit to 25 miles per hour, and requiring a driving-safety course for reckless drivers with five red-light camera tickets or 15 speeding tickets.
Many believe a mandatory class should be required for even fewer violations.
People pointed out that the driver who killed the seven-year-old boy on Thursday had 10 speeding tickets and two red-light tickets and thus would not have had to take a mandatory driving safety class under the current program.
New York City has red-light cameras at 150 intersections and over 600 speed cameras close to schools.
Around these areas, the number of people killed or injured has decline by about 20 percent in the past three years.
Many parents have demanded that the mayor completely ban cars from streets in front of schools, but he responded that the idea is impractical.
Last month, data showed that just 7 percent of the city’s streets are responsible for half of all pedestrian fatalities.
These areas are now being targeted with more police enforcement and re-engineering the streets.
Also underway is the 2020 major protected bike lane project in Brooklyn.
Thirty miles of new protected bike lanes will be added to Brooklyn streets.
This comes at an important time as 2019 was the deadliest year for New York cyclists in a decade.
Street safety infrastructure projects are highly important in preventing pedestrian and cyclist deaths. Building pedestrian refuge islands, speed bumps, and bike lanes prioritize the safety of people over vehicles.
These infrastructure projects along with physical enforcement through crossing guards, police, and cameras can prevent pedestrian deaths.
Parents should always accompany their children to school, and it’s important not to assume a car will stop for you even if you have the right-of-way and are on a cross walk.
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