Traffic Accidents in New York City
New York City residents have seen a continuing rise in the number of traffic accidents throughout the city since the beginning of 2014. According to a recent story in the New York Daily News, bicyclist and pedestrians appear to be at a serious risk of traffic-related injuries. Specifically, two pedestrians died recently, and another accident victim lost a leg. One of the victims, a 68-year-old woman from Queens, had been using a crosswalk—just as pedestrians are instructed to do in order to be safe—when she was struck by a vehicle. She later died from injuries sustained during the accident. An unidentified homeless man was the other reported victim of a recent traffic accident.
In response to the disappointingly high number of traffic accidents and injuries, Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a campaign aimed to completely eliminate traffic fatalities in the city. How is he planning to do this? According to the New York Daily News, the campaign involves more ticketing for reckless driving, lowering speed limits across the city, and redesigning a total of 50 intersections that have been identified as particularly dangerous.
De Blasio also indicated that he plans to “push legislation to step up penalties against careless drivers involved in fatal crashes.”
Yet, a recent article in the New York Times suggested that it is not clear whether the mayor’s approach to lowering traffic fatalities will have the support of New York City residents. What’s the problem? In short, his pledge to put a stop to traffic deaths has resulted in a strikingly high number of jaywalking tickets—up “nearly eightfold this year” already, according to the New York Times, “despite the mayor’s insistence that his plan for safer streets did not include singling out pedestrians.”
Reducing Pedestrian and Bicycle Fatalities
According to the Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report from February 2014, one of the office’s primary goals is to “manage public safety programs related to traffic safety.” An ancillary goal involves reducing the total number of traffic accidents, and thereby reducing the number of injuries and fatalities in the city.
The report provides statistics surrounding traffic fatalities for motorists and their passengers, as well as for bicyclists and pedestrians. Between the fiscal years 2011-2013, the total number of motorist/passenger fatalities looked like this:
- 78 fatalities reported in 2011
- 115 fatalities reported in 2012
- 93 fatalities reported in 2013
At the time of the report this year, 52 fatalities had already been reported—a number that’s shockingly high compared to prior year totals.
Between fiscal years 2011-2013, the total number of bicyclist/pedestrian fatalities totaled:
- 158 fatalities in 2011
- 176 fatalities in 2012
- 168 fatalities in 2013
At the time of the report in 2014, 56 bicyclist/pedestrian fatalities had been counted. If more jaywalking tickets are not the answer, what can be done? The mayor’s office and other government officials believe speeding might be to blame and that anti-speeding measures might be the most effective way to combat the spike in traffic accidents.
Have you or a loved one sustained injuries in a NY traffic crash? You should contact an experienced New York injury lawyer to discuss your case.