Rutgers Magazine: Steve Vaccaro, A Passion and a Cause

Alumnus Steve Vaccaro, an attorney who is changing how automobiles, pedestrians, and cyclists share the streets of New York City, specializes in motorist negligence.

During the winter as he dressed for work, Steve Vaccaro found himself once again massaging his right knee, the one he banged up in the fall of 2012 when a car turned into the path of his bike as he rode in New York City. He had fractured a wrist and torn cartilage in his knee, which ultimately required meniscus surgery. But he was lucky, all things considered. Later that day, Vaccaro NLAW’96 was meeting with the parents of a student who had been killed while walking near the Queensboro Bridge by a police car that, witnesses say, had been speeding without having activated its warning siren or flashing lights.

Such is the life of Vaccaro, an attorney who is determined to change how automobiles, pedestrians, and cyclists share the streets of New York City. Vaccaro, a principal in the firm Vaccaro & White, which specializes in motorist negligence, aids the relatives of pedestrians and cyclists who are injured, or killed, by automobiles. Having been a victim himself, he knows of what they speak.

In January, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced Vision Zero, a program to reduce traffic fatalities to zero. Roughly 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 killed each year in traffic accidents, according to, the city’s website. Being struck by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14 and the second-leading cause for seniors.

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