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A New York City doctor lost his 9-year-old nephew to a traffic accident involving a cab. The driver mowed down the young boy, who was holding his father's hand as he crossed a New York City street at a crosswalk. The doctor has come up with a viable plan to reduce pedestrian deaths on New York streets. The doctor proposes criminalizing reckless driving much the same way as drunk driving was in the past few decades.

The doctor is the author of a book on the subject of drunken driving, "One for the Road: Drunk Driving Since 1900," which chronicles the history of driving while intoxicated. He states that prior to the intervention of Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in the 1980s, those who drank and got behind the wheel were given minimal to no punishment, even when their actions resulted in the deaths or horrific injuries of innocent people. Their efforts resulted in lower legal blood alcohol levels and stricter laws across the nation regarding DWI laws.

The cultural awareness of the DWI problem made people realize that these drivers still were legally accountable for the lives they took or damaged, even though they never intended to hurt anyone. According to his plan, by holding reckless drivers criminally liable for damages they inflict due to inattentiveness, irresponsibility, texting while driving or whatever distracted them from the road, drivers would pay closer attention behind the wheel and more deaths would be prevented.

While the Manhattan District Attorney's office investigates the circumstances surrounding the young boy's death, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his new program, "Vision Zero." The program will put more police on the streets and launch a collision investigation squad, which will review evidence at the scene and screen speed cameras to make their determinations of responsibility. Since the Vision Zero program began this month, three additional New York City pedestrians died after being struck by cars.

Whether or not the physician's ideas become policy, being ticketed for reckless driving is still serious. Those facing charges may want to consult with an experienced attorney well-versed in New York's traffic laws. Always remember that anything said at the scene could become part of the prosecution's case against you later.

Source: well.blogs.nytimes.com, "Treat Reckless Driving Like Drunk Driving" Barron H. Lerner, M.D., Jan. 24, 2014

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