New York traffic fatalities declines, but more work is needed
Pedestrian deaths down significantly, but bicyclist deaths are up
Overall, 2014 was a good year in terms of traffic safety in New York City. As the New York Times recently reported, traffic fatalities in the city fell to 248 in 2014, down from 293 in 2013. The biggest improvement was in terms of pedestrian accident fatalities, which fell sharply, along with motorcyclist deaths. Other types of traffic fatalities, like bicycle and auto accident fatalities, were either the same or saw some increases. While the overall picture is encouraging, experts note that traffic fatalities are still high in New York compared with other major global cities.
Pedestrian fatalities dropped significantly last year, from 180 deaths in 2013 to 132 deaths in 2014. In fact, pedestrian deaths were the lowest ever recorded since the city began collecting data on such accidents a century ago. Motorcyclist fatalities also dropped from 42 to 37 deaths between 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Not all types of traffic fatalities were down, however. Motor vehicle fatalities, at 59, were the same in 2014 as the year previous. Bicyclist fatalities also saw a significant increase to 20 last year from just 12 the year previous.
Room for improvement
That overall traffic fatalities have decreased is laudable and has largely been attributed to the city’s Vision Zero plan, which seeks to reduce traffic deaths to zero by 2024. As part of the plan, the city has lowered its default speed limit to 25 mph and the NYPD has increased traffic safety enforcement. Citations increased by 24 percent for speeding last year and by 126 percent for drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians.
As Streetsblog notes, while traffic safety has improved, fatalities last year were in keeping with a decades-long decline in traffic fatalities and the statistics may not be quite the breakthrough officials are presenting them as. While 2012 and 2013 saw a spike in traffic fatalities, for example, overall traffic fatalities in 2014 were about the same as in 2011. It is also worth pointing out that despite the improvements, traffic fatalities in New York City remain high compared with many of its global counterparts, such as Berlin or London.
While the streets of New York are getting safer for most pedestrians and motorists, the truth is that every day far too many people are either injured or killed in traffic accidents in the city. Even if an accident does not lead to death, the injuries sustained, especially for any pedestrians involved, can be severe and life-altering.
Anybody who has suffered because of a traffic accident should get in touch with a New York personal injury attorney right away. An experienced attorney can help victims following an accident, including, in certain cases, pursuing compensation against any driver or other party who may have negligently or recklessly contributed to an accident.