It's been recently reported that the New York City Fire Department has budgeted $1.3 million to send every fire truck and ambulance driver to a one day "refresher" driving course. This safety initiative by the FDNY is part of Mayor DeBlasio's "Vision Zero" action plan to protect the public by reducing traffic accidents and fatalities.
The Mayor's office recently released some alarming statistics, in that approximately 4,000 New York City pedestrians and occupants of motor vehicles are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year in car accidents. Being struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian is the leading cause of injury related death for children under the age of 14, and the second leading cause for seniors. On average, car accidents seriously injure or kill a New Yorker every two hours.
Operators of emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks and police cars face unique challenges in operating under the Mayor's new vision to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities. They must be able to respond to the scenes of an emergency swiftly in order to promote public safety and save lives and yet they must do so and exercise due regard for the safety of pedestrians and operators of motor vehicles that they share the road with.
The laws of New York State allow those who operate emergency vehicles to travel in excess of posted speed limits, pass through red traffic signals and stop signs, and ignore other restrictions on turns, solid lines and the like. Of course, there are some exceptions, but generally these vehicles are given latitude to do their very important jobs.
Motor vehicle operators and pedestrians involved in accidents with emergency vehicles must show that the emergency vehicle operator acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others and failed to drive with due regard for those they share the road with.
At the Law Offices of Louis Grandelli, P.C. we have successfully represented many people who have been injured due to the recklessness of operators of emergency vehicles. We have recovered significant settlements on behalf of our clients by revealing crucial facts to support our contention that the emergency vehicle operator caused the car accident by reckless conduct.
Our office is determined to uncover this evidence whether it be through the use of retaining an accident reconstruction expert to examine and inspect the objective and physical evidence from the accident or an investigator to interview witnesses who might have been unwilling or unable to come forward at the time of the accident. Additionally, our investigations often involve canvassing the area to locate video cameras that might have captured the accident. This is often a very time sensitive process since all video monitoring systems have different recording capacities and memory. Failure to act quickly and preserve evidence can severely prejudice a car accident victim's chances to prove that an emergency vehicle operator acted recklessly.
The attorneys here at Louis Grandelli, P.C. hope that the efforts of the Mayor's 'Vision Zero" plan are successful since it would promote public safety for those of us who live, work and visit New York City. We are committed to continue to advocate for the rights of those victims who are seriously injured or killed by car accidents.