NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - New York City's Vision Zero initiative is zeroing in one of the most disturbing statistics when it comes to pedestrian safety: a vehicle making a left-hand turn is three times more likely to injure pedestrians and cyclists than one making a right-hand turn.
City officials unveiled an education campaign to urge drivers to slow down and take greater care, especially when making left-hand turns.
Since 2016, vehicles making left turns have killed at least 70 people in New York City, including Raul Ampuero's son Giovanni. Last year, the 9-year-old was crossing an intersection holding his mother's hand when he was killed by a car making a left-hand turn that failed to yield to pedestrians.
"His last words were 'Don't let me go mom, I love you mommy and I love daddy,'" Ampuero said. "That kills me every day."
Left-hand turns are particularly dangerous since drivers tend to take the turn at higher speeds despite it being, technically, a more difficult a turn than right-hand turns. And the car's A-frame on the left side of the windshield obscures the driver's field of vision, especially when it comes to smaller pedestrians and children.
The Vision Zero plan is working. Vehicle-related deaths have dropped dramatically since 2013, the year before Mayor Bill be Blasio launched the initiative, when 300 people died. In 2018, that number dropped to 200.