Death of Queens Teenager Underscores NYC Pedestrian Safety Concerns

Last Monday a 16-year-old boy standing on the sidewalk was struck and killed when a vehicle jumped the curb and collided with a group of pedestrians waiting to cross the street. Details about the accident are now being released, and it appears the driver lost control of his vehicle while reaching to prevent a carton of milk from spilling. The driver was uninsured at the time of the accident.

The accident occurred at approximately 10:30 in the morning at the corner of 30th Street and Thompson Avenue in Long Island City. A 2002 Dodge Caravan traveling east on Thompson suddenly veered across traffic and onto the sidewalk, striking the victim and four other young people (all of whom survived). The van continued on the sidewalk until crashing into a tree. Bystanders reported the driver immediately got out of the van screaming "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

The street corner where the accident took place is notoriously unsafe. Students from nearby LaGuardia Community College cross the street at this location, and the danger of sidewalk and crosswalk accidents is high. In fact, 500 students from the college signed a petition in July requesting that the City discontinue use of the blinking yellow turn signals at the corner, and that walk signals be changed so they last longer. The Department of Transportation is considering the requested improvements, but no changes have yet been made.

In recent years, safety officials all across New York City have come under increasing pressure to address pedestrian safety issues. Advocacy groups are pushing for changes to the design of the City's streets and intersections, as well as more strict enforcement of traffic laws.

With respect to traffic laws in particular, there is strong evidence that better driving would make an immediate impact on street safety in New York City. Based on a study of fatal crashes with known causes, it has been estimated that 69% are a result of poor driving behavior. Clearly, last week's tragedy in Queens was avoidable. The driver admitted to law enforcement that he swerved while trying to prevent a beverage from spilling. Depending on the other facts of the case, the driver may be liable to the victim's family for wrongful death, and he may face criminal charges. Regardless, a teenage boy has died, and the incident could have been prevented.

At the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel, we represent people who have been injured by negligent drivers. We can explain what to do after an accident, and answer specific questions about your case. Please contact us at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn more.

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