Believe it or not, driving is as safe a form of transportation as it has ever been. Although the number of miles we travel by car is increasing substantially every year, the number of fatalities has declined since the early 2000s, and even more since it peaked in the mid-1980s. In 2017 there were 37,133 deaths, and in 2016 there were 37,806. Tens of thousands of dead, but we’re doing better than we’ve ever done before. How sad is that?
One of the lesser-known statistics is this: about 3,000. This is the approximate number of women who suffer a miscarriage from a car accident on an annual basis.
In early 2018, Ruthie Ann Miles–an esteemed, Tony award-winning actress–was crossing a street with her friend, who had her own 1-year-old child in a stroller and another four-year-old child on foot. A car accelerated through a red light and struck the group. The two young children were killed, and Miles suffered a subsequent miscarriage. Dorothy Bruns, the driver of the vehicle, was suffering from an apparent seizure–even though prosecutors filed evidence that she was told not to drive by doctors for that exact reason.
Bruns was subsequently charged with second-degree manslaughter, reckless endangerment, criminally negligent homicide, third-degree assault, and more. Witnesses say that she was foaming at the mouth before police arrived. She won’t face charges related to Miles’s miscarriage because New York state does not define an unborn baby as a person.
Although it’s too late for Miles’s unborn baby, the crash did result in increased public awareness and a push for new safety measures to make roads safer from reckless drivers. Mayor Bill de Blasio has asked the legislature to boost funding so the state can place more traffic cameras in school zones. There are currently restrictions in place that prevent the installation of such cameras in certain areas–like the one where Miles’s accident occurred.
If the legislators choose to take on this worthy cause, then they might soon increase fines for those who repeatedly break traffic laws. It might be easier to get a license suspended for those who speed, and harder to get it back. Those who support new legislation also desire a stipulation for the DMV to be notified by physicians of any medical issues that might preclude a person from continuing to hold a license.