Fatal car crashes are so common they aren’t big news anymore, as David Leonhardt pointed out in The New York Times last week. Dozens of auto accidents kill hundreds of teenagers every year. But from a news media perspective, the death of a teenager in a car crash on America’s increasingly more dangerous highways is just another day at the office and barely worthy of coverage for most U.S. news media outlets. One top New York auto accident injury law firm has noted an increasing number of cases involving car accidents with severe injuries and deaths involving teenagers.
“No other affluent country,” Leonhardt reported, “subjects its teenagers to the risk of violence — or early death — that the United States does. Guns are one of the two big reasons. In 2016, 1,675 Americans between the ages of 13 and 19 were murdered with a gun. That made gun homicides the second leading cause of teenage death.”
However, the leading cause of teenage death in the U.S., according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), was motor vehicle accidents, and by a wide margin. Car crashes killed 2,829 teenagers in 2016. But rarely is the subject the lead story in big and even small city newspapers, or on national or local TV news broadcasts.
“If the Stoneman Douglas shooting [in Florida],” Leonhardt said, “is finally going to stir Americans’ consciences about the unique violence of childhood here, let’s make sure that the discussion doesn’t end with guns.”
NHTSA data shows that back in 1990, driving in America was less dangerous than most anywhere else in the world. Today, the U.S. has a higher teenage accident death rate than all other advanced nations and teenage driving is by far the single biggest contributor to that statistic. But even the most attentive consumers of media wouldn’t know that by paying attention to the daily 24-hour news cycle.
“In some respects, it’s reasonable to conflate guns and car crashes as similar public-health safety issues,” Jay W. Dankner, managing partner of the top New York auto accident injury law firm of Dankner Milstein, P.C. said. Leonhardt seconds Dankner’s comments by noting that with both guns and cars, “Other countries have reduced deaths by following the evidence,” Leohhardt explained. “If we can follow their lead, reducing vehicle deaths should actually be easier.” Gun deaths, Leonhardt said depends on either persuading one political party to abandon a core position or defeating that party. “Vehicle safety is different than guns,” Dankner said. “There is no lobbying behemoth like the N.R.A. insisting that teenagers get unrestricted licenses.”
Leonhardt points out that states that have adopted the safest teen-driving policies lean left, but only somewhat. Alabama, for example, passed new rules last year. Most states, left or right leaning, have gotten tougher in the last two decades, and deaths have fallen. “But they haven’t fallen nearly enough,” Dankner adds, “because the laws, and in particular law enforcement, are not tough enough.” One possible solution, experts say, revolves around a system called “graduated drivers licenses,” in which teenagers slowly gain privileges as they gain experience. “The fatal-crash rate for 16- and 17-year olds,” Leonhardt said, “is about six times higher than the rate for people in their 30s and 40s.
Teen driving kills a lot of people.” To underscore his point about lax law enforcement, Dankner points out that in the “ordinary course of business,” the driver is typically able to walk away from the scene of the crash with little or no consequence. Drivers of all ages do not get their licenses revoked until they are charged. Teen deaths on the roadways in New York City roadways point to the limits of Mayor De Blasio’s Vision Zero Action Plan, which was designed to reduce pedestrian fatalities. It’s one of the mayor’s signature initiatives. The program has been, generally speaking, successful: Pedestrian deaths dropped by 32 percent last year, making 2017 one of the safest on record.
Moreover, “speed cameras,” Dankner noted,” of top New York auto accident injury law firm has noted an increasing number of cases involving car accidents with severe injuries and deaths involving teenagers. which are in place in some parts of the city have been shown to reduce crashes involving fatal and serious injuries. But automation has come with a cost; it removes the presence of a police officer who could pull a speeding driver over and see if something might be off. “A system that shifts too much of the burden of maintaining public safety away from individuals, on whom we depend to exercise a proper authority, will not solve what has, and continues to be despite the Mayor’s dedicated efforts, an intractable problem in our city,” he added.
Top New York auto accident injury law firm
For more information, or if you have been in an auto accident and injured, contact the top New York auto accident injury law firm of Dankner Milstein, P.C. by calling 212-751- 8000. Or you can E-mail one of the firm’s lawyers for a free consultation.