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New York's "Boulevard of Death" gets a facelift

It's a nickname that no one would be proud to have in their neighborhood: the "Boulevard of Death". This nickname refers to a stretch of Queens Boulevard that has resulted in the death of over 185 people in the last quarter of a century. Almost 50 were killed or suffered from serious injuries from 2010 to 2014 alone.

What causes these accidents?

Accidents responsible for these deaths and additional serious injuries can occur for a number of reasons. Drivers can be operating their vehicles while distracted by their smartphones and not notice the bicycle sharing the same lane until too late, a car may make a right hand turn and not notice a pedestrian stepping on the street at the same time or a driver may simply be traveling too fast through the city. Whatever the cause of the accident, the results can be life changing.

Can the risks of accidents be reduced?

In some ways, the answer is yes. A new program was recently implemented in an effort to reduce the risk of these tragic accidents. Some examples of changes that are a part of this program include:

  • Adjusting road design. The basic design of roads is shifted to allow for more space. This allows cyclists, cars and pedestrians to use the roadway more safely.
  • Reducing speed limits. A drop in speed is expected to reduce both the number and severity of accidents. These changes are also be coupled with increased enforcement efforts, making use of speed cameras.
  • Increasing enforcement efforts of drunk driving laws. Removing drunk drivers from the roadways and deterring the practice through ticketing and arrests is also an element to this project.

These changes are rooted in basic engineering principles and follow a practice popular in Sweden known as Vision Zero. Many of these changes have already been implemented. Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the project in 2014 and has already reported success. By 2015, pedestrian deaths in New York City are reported to have fallen almost 30 percent.

What about those injured in accidents?

Unfortunately, even when steps are taken to reduce the risk of crashes, accidents still happen. Those who are injured due to another's negligent or reckless driving may be eligible to receive compensation through a civil suit. This compensation can be used to help cover the costs associated with the accident.

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