The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsors the National Pedestrian Safety Month during October. However, the New York Department of Transportation and other agencies are already collaborating on a commitment to improving pedestrian safety and reduce car accidents. Their focus is on Long Island and upstate New York, and the plan was initiated in 2016 with the expectation that it will remain a focus through 2021.
According to the NHTSA, in 2018, fatal pedestrian accidents happened every 84 minutes across the country. These are the most recent statistics available and, of course, include New York. The agency further says that the risks faced by pedestrians increase significantly after daylight saving time ends. From September through February, one-third of the fatal pedestrian accidents happen in the evening hours.
The NHTSA is using this month to increase awareness and encourage both drivers and pedestrians to be alert and comply with rules and regulations that are in place to limit these preventable deaths. Drivers are urged always to be on the lookout for pedestrians and take extra care during times of low visibility. Drivers may not pass stationary vehicles at crosswalks because they may be stopped to let pedestrians cross the road. They must always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and stop far enough back to allow other drivers to see pedestrians.
In turn, pedestrians should use sidewalks if possible and walk facing oncoming traffic when no sidewalks are available. Pedestrians should dress in bright or reflective colors and use flashlights if they walk after dark. Victims of pedestrian vs. car accidents may have grounds to pursue financial relief through the New York civil justice system if accidents result due to the negligence of others.