The State of New York averages 300 pedestrian fatalities a year. Many of these unfortunate encounters occur in New York City, with approximately 15,000 pedestrians injured in NYC each year, but accidents occur across the state. A New York traffic lawyer will handle cases involving pedestrians injured everywhere from rural roads to suburban streets.

The number of pedestrian accidents makes improving pedestrian safety a top priority for New York law enforcement. Police patrols in New York are cracking down on drivers that violate traffic laws and put pedestrians in danger. To avoid legal complications and prevent serious injury to a pedestrian, drivers must be aware of these traffic laws. However, a New York traffic lawyer quickly learns that drivers are rarely aware of the exact rules of the road. To start, few people recall the specifics of New York’s right of way laws.

Traffic Violations Used to Determine Fault in Pedestrian Accidents

Often, drivers are held accountable for pedestrian accidents because the driver failed to observe a traffic law put in place by the local municipality, New York legislature, or rules by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. Even when a pedestrian isn’t injured, law enforcement can still issue a ticket for failing to obey the rules of pedestrian crosswalks and right of way. As moving violations, these traffic tickets count against your license.

Generally, local governments police traffic laws, such as the pedestrian right of ways, crosswalks, and turning right on a red light. For this reason, a New York traffic lawyer in Long Island and Nassau County must be aware of the specific laws in several municipal jurisdictions. But across each of these municipalities, the laws are substantially similar.

For example, in each municipality on Long Island, pedestrians are granted the right of way in a crosswalk. Across Long Island, a driver can be issued a moving violation for failing to yield at a crosswalk or blocking a crosswalk during the pedestrian crossing signal.

What Does New York Law Say About Right of Way?

New York State does implement some statewide laws regarding pedestrians and right of way that a New York traffic lawyer and any driver should know. Section 1151 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Laws clarifies that in the absence of a traffic signal, pedestrians are afforded the right of way over motor vehicles. Second, any driver that must cross a sidewalk or other pedestrian walkway to access a driveway or parking lot must yield to pedestrians on such sidewalk.

In contrast, to the traffic laws that favor pedestrians, Section 1152 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Laws gives motor vehicles the right of way where there isn’t a crosswalk. This traffic law is broad, stating that pedestrians must yield to motor vehicles when crossing any roadway, at any time, other than in a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. A New York lawyer often uses this traffic law to establish comparative fault on the part of the pedestrian. 

Impact of Vision Zero In and Around New York City

The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio is striving to eliminate traffic deaths in New York City by 2024. Called Vision Zero, the mayor’s plan calls for changes to local traffic rules, driver behavior, and some logistics on city streets.

One change already taking place at several NYC intersections is a change in the order and timing of traffic signals. Whereas walk signals and traffic lights used to change in tandem, the walk signal is now illuminated several seconds before the green light. This gives pedestrians a head start on entering the crosswalk before turning traffic begins to move. This and other changes in the plan for Vision Zero are being discussed for other parts of the state.

Talk to a New York Traffic Lawyer

Whether you were cited for an accident involving a pedestrian or simply ticketed for failure to yield at a crosswalk or intersection, a New York traffic lawyer can handle your case. In some instances, these traffic tickets or moving violations lead to a substantial and serious civil case involving the pedestrian. To discuss the specifics of your traffic case with a New York traffic lawyer on Long Island contact Jeffrey Bettan at 516-642-6636.

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