Traffic deaths in New York City in 2018 dropped to the lowest level in more than a century, according to the Mayor’s office.
Yet, while traffic deaths are down, there have been more vehicular crashes since Mayor DeBlasio instituted his Vision Zero Action program, based on reports provided to this blogger by the NYPD.
Fatalities are down, but collisions on streets throughout 4 of the City’s 5 boroughs are up more than 11 percent from 2014 to 2018, NYPD statistics show. In 2014, 205,486 collisions were reported. In 2018, that number jumped to 289,227. Injuries resulting from these collisions in the same two periods increased 18 percent, from 37,556 in 2014 to 44,508 in 2018. These numbers are based on information compiled from various city agency reports.
“As a New York City resident who often gets around town on foot,” Jay W. Dankner, Managing Partner of the top New York car accident injury law firm of Dankner Milstein said, “and as auto accident injury lawyer who speaks almost daily to often badly-injured victims of car crashes, the story sounds familiar. The most nerve-wracking part of getting around the city on foot, or even by car, is having to constantly be on the defensive of not just cars and trucks and motorcycles, but bicyclists, skateboarders and people traversing the city on all other forms of leg and motor-powered vehicles. I worry more about the latter group than I do about car, taxi and truck drivers. It’s this group who are more inclined to cavalierly disregard traffic safety regulations.”
When confronted with these statistics, city officials are quick to point out that overall city streets are still safer, despite the crash and injury count. They site data confirming record low traffic fatalities, even as population and tourism growth have filled New York City streets to overflow levels. “Conditions are measurably safer for the most vulnerable street user,” is the common bureaucratic retort when asked about street safety.
The Mayor has been credited with making a number of improvements in his stated quest to eliminate all traffic death by the 2024 target date. As referenced earlier, his Vision Zero program, named after a Swedish plan that worked in that country, also appears to be working in at least one critical instance in a massively large and crowded city like New York. Gatherers of statistics in the city point to a drop in deaths due to vehicle collisions. In 2017, fatalities dropped to 222, the lowest number of deaths since 1910, when the city began tracking such deaths. According to The New York Times, the reduction is part of a five-year decline from 299 deaths in 2013. Pedestrian deaths caused by car crashes account for the largest share of traffic fatalities. “As good as this sounds, this is a troubling sign that our city’s streets remain dangerous for many New Yorkers,” Dankner said.
Mr. DeBlasio, who began his second term a year ago, called the rise in pedestrian deaths disappointing. According to The New York Times the Mayor was quoted as saying “Drivers haven’t taken their responsibility to yield very seriously. There has been a lot of enforcement. But there needs to be more.” Mr. Dankner disagrees with hizzoner. “Based on the dozens of accident investigations we have conducted for our clients, we often find that accidents and injuries occur because of a lack of sufficient enforcement. More needs to be done by the city, especially the NYPD in this area. We’re only really taking baby steps.”
On a related note, The New York Times reported recently that the number of bicyclist deaths due to collisions with motor vehicles also dropped in 2018 when compared with 2017.
For more information, or if you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the top New York auto accident injury law firm of Dankner Milstein, P.C. by calling 212-751-8000. Or you can E-mail one of the firm’s lawyers for a free consultation.