Pedestrian safety

At about 6:23AM, on Sunday, June 9, 2013, officers from District A-1 (Downtown) responded to a call for a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian in the area of Stuart & Charles Streets. On arrival, officers observed the Boston Fire Department and Boston EMS already treating an elderly female victim, approximately 80 years of age, for what appeared to be head trauma. The victim, suffering life threatening injuries, was transported to Tufts Medical Center.

Officers located and spoke to the operator of the vehicle who stated that he did not see the pedestrian in the roadway.

Detectives assigned to the Boston Police Department’s Accident Reconstruction Team are currently investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding this accident. At present, the cause of the accident is still under investigation and no violations have been issued at this time.”

I see that there is a committee meeting on June 26th to discuss many transportation safety issues, such as vulnerable road users. However, I feel that a crucial point has been left out of the proposed legislation: the police refuse to prosecute dangerous drivers.

For pretty much every incident, it’s the same old story: someone is killed, the driver says “I didn’t see them”, and the police wrap things up and go home.

“I didn’t see them” should not be considered a valid excuse. Blind people are not allowed to drive, and anyone who claims to have “not seen” the victim is either lying or does not have the eyesight ability required to drive. In addition, the police seem to go out of their way to try and protect the motorist, by blaming the victim.

For example, I was horrified to see supposedly impartial investigators start to make excuses for the truck that killed the Japanese scientist in Kenmore Square. That’s not their job, but they did it anyway.

but it is possible that in a vehicle that large, the driver would have had a difficult time seeing Miura, two law enforce­ment officials briefed on the investigation said.”

Naturally, there have been no charges or citations issued in that case. It’s difficult to believe in the impartiality of the investigators when they are making excuses already.

Is there any way to address this problem? Increasing penalties doesn’t do any good as long as the police seem to be fighting a culture war against non-motorists, and refuse to bring charges against dangerous drivers in the first place. How can a court of law make a judgement if there is no case to begin with?

3 replies on “Pedestrian safety”

  1. My quotes didn’t quite come out right in the post. To clarify: the quoted text I included begins with a URL and ends with a ”

  2. Here’s another recent story:

    The two pedestrians who were struck in South Boston had serious, but non-life-threatening injuries after they were hit by a taxi, authorities said.
    The women, both 23, were walking in a crosswalk at Seaport Lane and Congress Street at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday when they were hit. They were taken to Tufts Medical Center, State Trooper Reid Bagely said.

    As of Sunday night, no citations had been issued and no charges filed against the 48-year-old Boston man who was driving the taxi, Bagely said, adding that the case remains under investigation.

    South Boston resident John Bozarjian said he and his wife witnessed the crash and were interviewed by police.

    Bozarjian said he told police that his car was stopped behind several other vehicles, which were all stopped to allow a group of people, led by the two women, to cross the street.

    A taxi, which had been in the line a few cars back from the crosswalk, quickly pulled around the other cars and “slammed on the gas,” Bozarjian said. He said that he witnessed the moment the women were hit by the taxi, and that each was knocked several feet in the air.

    “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “It was traumatizing.”

  3. Hi Matt, I think the civil justice system does offer an avenue of relief for vulnerable road users. The police role is to determine criminal culpability — which usually involves intoxication or intentional actions. Negligence is addressed in lawsuits. I do work with groups like WalkBoston and MassBike to file legislation that strengthens the hand or victims in the liability lawsuit context.

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