New Traffic Regulations Set to Improve Pedestrian Safety at Intersections in New York

Lever & Ecker, PLLC January 31, 2022 Pedestrian Accidents

On January 19th, Mayor Eric Adams announced his “Vision Zero” program, implementing several new rules and practices to increase pedestrian safety in New York City. The announcement came following an increase in pedestrian accidents and fatalities, and immediately after a 15-year-old was fatally struck by a school bus on Monday, January 17th. Outrage spread through the streets of New York as a video showing the hit-and-run accident surfaced on the New York Post. The school bus turned into an intersection as the teenager crossed the street near her high school, causing her to suffer fatal injuries.

New York City’s official website states that 55% of pedestrian fatalities and 79% of pedestrian traffic injuries occur within intersections. With concern for pedestrian safety higher than ever, for good reason, Mayor Adams and governmental agencies including the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) are implementing these new traffic rules and procedures in effort to provide greater protection to pedestrians.

What Are the Major Traffic Law Changes That Seek to Improve Pedestrian Safety?

These new changes, which will affect more than 1,000 intersections around New York City, including:

  • Implementing and Enforcing New “Stop. Let The Cross” Rule: Effective January 19, 2022, drivers and cyclists passing through any of the more than 1,200 intersections that are not governed by a traffic signal or a stop sign must fully stop, and not just yield, until a pedestrian has completely crossed the street. The DOT has started a public awareness campaign to showcase and spread awareness of this new rule.
  • Focusing on Street Improvement Projects with Intersections: By redesigning specific high-risk intersections, the DOT will create new turn signals and “head-starts” intended to give pedestrians enough time to enter the intersection and cross before vehicles receive a green signal to proceed.
  • Creating Raised Crosswalks: The DOT plans to construct 100 raised crosswalks, at curb height, a year, to both serve as speed bumps to slow drivers and increase accessibility for the disability community.
  • Installing Bike Corrals Near Intersections: Bike corrals increase crosswalk visibility and prevent drivers from turning quickly and cutting corners. The DOT plans to install more than 10,000 additional bike racks by the end of 2022.
  • Increasing Preventative Measures in High-Traffic Locations: In areas like gas stations and parking lots, drivers are known to often cut corners. These actions put pedestrians at high risk, and the DOT is planning on targeting these problem locations through observation and the implementation of additional safety regulations.
  • Doubling the Turn-Calming Program: The citywide effort to reduce left and right turning speeds, to enforce safe turning behavior, has shown favorable results, and the DOT will increase the program to problematic intersections across the city. Not surprisingly, studies have found that drivers who turn at higher speeds are more likely to cause pedestrian accidents than those taking turns at lower speeds.
  • Increasing Law Enforcement Presence at Intersections: One of the main factors in this new change is increased patrolling around intersections. The NYPD will vigorously enforce pedestrian safety by penalizing drivers who violate the failure-to-yield and failure-to-stop law. When drivers do not come to a complete stop or look before turning, they can cause life-threatening harm to pedestrians.

Government officials and New York residents hope that these new regulations and procedures will decrease the number of severe, and all-too-often fatal, pedestrian accidents.

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Lawyer at Lever & Ecker, PLLC

While it is hoped that these new regulations and campaigns, and additional ones in the future, will greatly decrease and even eliminate pedestrian injuries, until then, Lever & Ecker, PLLC, is here for you. Our personal injury lawyers have over 60 years of combined experience advocating for the rights of our clients, including many who have been injured as pedestrians. We understand how complicated and overwhelming the legal process can be, and we will be there for you every step of the way.

Find out how our team can assist with your case and to schedule a free consultation by calling (914) 350-6328 or (718) 550-6924 and filling out our contact form.