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Death Toll, Not Barriers, Rising on Bronx Highway

Safety is supposed to come first, whether in the workplace or driving to it. Many initiatives and laws exist to encourage drivers to slow down and be safer on roads, but New York State has been slow to curtail the potential for serious car accidents by leaving substandard guardrails in place along a stretch of highway that has contributed to two fatal crashes in the past half-dozen years.

The latest motor vehicle accident killed seven family members. Authorities say the fatal crash occurred after the family’s SUV collided with the center barrier, careened across three traffic lanes and flew over a short guardrail. The vehicle then plunged down about 60 feet from a highway before crashing into a private area of the Bronx Zoo.

Last year an SUV hit a divide, launched over the guardrail and dropped 20 feet onto a pickup truck in a parking lot. Everyone survived. In 2006, six people died in a crash at the same spot.

The Bronx Borough president says improvements to the stretch of road must be made, including taller protective railings, according to New York 1 News. Adding signage or more law enforcement to the area may help as well. The president says he has brought up to the state Department of Transportation and other agencies the need to prevent future wrecks.

The city replaced the center median following the 2006 fatal crash in which the vehicle jumped the divide and collided with oncoming traffic. A representative of the 2006 crash survivor says that the dividers have not been repaired along the edges of the roadway and that the barriers are substandard according to the state engineering inspection records.

To best avoid involvement in car accidents, it is important to obey all posted signage, remain alert and lean toward the side of caution when driving. An injured motorist may be entitled to compensation when injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another.