As a resident of New York City, it undoubtedly does your heart good to know that the number of NYC traffic fatalities dropped to its lowest level last year than at any time since 1910, the year NYC first began recording traffic fatalities. Per the New York Times, 200 people died in a NYC traffic accident in 2018, as compared to 222 in 2017 and 299 in 2013, the year before Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative took effect.
Unfortunately, however, while the overall traffic fatality statistics are good, this does not hold true for all segments of the NYC population. Witness the following statistics:
- Pedestrian deaths increased last year to 114, up from 107 in 2017.
- Motorcyclist deaths increased last year to 39, up from 33 in 2017.
- Bicyclist deaths dropped last year to 10, down from 24 in 2017.
- Driver and passenger deaths dropped last year to 37, down from 58 in 2017.
Pedestrian deaths represent the largest share of traffic fatalities in NYC. In addition, the statistics reflect fatalities only, not the number of people injured in traffic accidents.
Vision Zero initiative
Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative has included numerous street redesigns, reduction of speed limits on most NYC streets to 25 miles per hour, and enhanced enforcement of laws requiring vehicles to yield to pedestrians. The ultimate goal is to reduce NYC traffic deaths to zero by 2024. But even the mayor concedes that many drivers still fail to take their responsibility to yield to pedestrians seriously.
Many safety advocates, meanwhile, criticize Mayor de Blasio for going too slowly in his Vision Zero street improvement efforts. One such critic is Marco Conner, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives. His reaction to the 2018 statistics: “Why aren’t we doing more against the enormity of the epidemic?”
Polly Trottenberg, NYC’s transportation commissioner, responded that her agency completed 138 street improvements in 2018, including adding over 20 miles of protected bicycle lanes. She called the 2018 statistics, “encouraging results unparalleled among American cities.”
If you’re in an accident, contact Surdez & Perez. We can help.
This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.