NYC Makes No Bones About It: Obey The 30 MPH Speed Limit or You’ll See a Skeleton

Throughout New York City and other places, drivers are becoming accustomed to seeing radar-equipped speed boards that tell them how fast they’re going, and flash when their speed exceeds the speed limit. This past week Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that some of the speed boards will now also show the words SLOW DOWN and the image of a healthy pedestrian turns into a skeleton on electronic signs when drivers exceed the city speed limit. As long as a driver obeys the city’s 30 mph speed limit, no skeleton will appear. The signs have been placed along stretches of Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx and Richmond Avenue in Staten Island roads that, respectively, were shown by a DOT study to have 96 percent and 66 percent of motorists speeding. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said driving only 10 miles per hour above the city’s 30 miles per hour speed limit can mean the difference between life and death: If a pedestrian is hit by a car going 40 miles per hour, there’s a 70 percent chance that pedestrian is going to die, she said. If a pedestrian is hit by a car at 30 miles per hour, there’s an 80 percent chance that pedestrian will live. Statistics show that a pedestrian struck at 40 mph is 3.5 times more likely to be killed than one struck at 30 mph. The mayor also announced another program, which would lower the speed limit in the city’s busiest neighborhoods. The first change, according to NY1, will be a 20 MPH from 30 MPH decrease in the Claremont section of in the Bronx. Last fall the DOT released a series of television and outdoor ads to call attention to the fact the speed limit in New York City is 30 mph and that it is no arbitrary number. These programs reflect the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report on the causes of pedestrian fatalities and injuries titled the Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan released in August of 2010. The report found that pedestrian fatalities occur disproportionately along multi-lane streets and avenues and that speeding, driver inattention and failure to yield are the underlying factors behind the vast majority of pedestrian fatalities or serious injury accidents. The report recommended a series of actions to reduce crashes involving pedestrians, including legislation to authorize the use of speed cameras, pilot programs to reduce speed limits in residential neighborhoods to 20 mph and street designs to increase pedestrian safety. As part of its research, DOT convened six focus groups during 2010: four with drivers, two with non-drivers. The research found that the vast majority were unaware of New York Citys speed limit and that nearly all of the drivers sped. Some young men admitted to achieving speeds of up to 100 mph. on arterial streets. Nearly all non-drivers perceived speeding and dangerous driving as serious safety concerns. The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving auto accidents. For over 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and surrounding areas. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. To learn more, watch our videos.

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