Vision Zero: Decrease Senseless Deaths!

Sadly, for some time, the news has been full of stories about senseless deaths and injuries due to gun violence. Many of those tales of woe have unfortunately featured young people: the recent shooting at Florida State University’s library, the lunchroom shooting at the Marysville, Washington school where a boy killed his cousin and others, a shooting at Langston Hughes High School in Georgia, and many others. The group Everytown for Gun Safety maintains a horrifying “School Shootings in America Since Sandy Hook” listing, yet more deaths and injuries? in the United States (and especially those of children, teens and young adults) are from car accidents and other accidents caused by vehicles.

senseless deaths
Car and pedestrian accident (Image courtesy of

Death and injury to car passengers and drivers, or to pedestrians, usually do not have the dramatic shock that guns lend to such stories. Yet each year more people succumb to this fate. New York City is trying to take this horror down several notches with the Vision Zero initiative, meant to make drivers and pedestrians aware of the potential dangers of unsafe and reckless driving. The Big Apple recently instituted a lower city speed limit, applicable to many roads in the Five Boroughs. It’s now a 25 mile per hour speed limit, and while many drivers grouse about this and say it is meant to fill the city’s coffers due to the increased number of speeding tickets being issued, the vast majority of New Yorkers hope it helps our quality of life.

Yet this Thursday we witnessed the painful story of 9th grader Mohammed Uddin’s death. He was hit by a car just while walking around the corner from his home; the 78 year old driver left the scene of the accident but was caught. Another family grieves, another school (the elite Brooklyn Technical High School) loses a student, and we are left to ponder another senseless death. Our condolences to the family, his friends, his neighborhood and to the school system.

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Ellen Levitt is the author of The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn (2009), The Lost Synagogues of the Bronx and Queens (2011) and The Lost Synagogues of Manhattan (2013), all published by Avotaynu. She is a lifelong New Yorker, a veteran public school teacher, writer and photographer. Bird lover as well.