On January 1, the New York Times reported that more auto accident fatalities occurred in New York City in 2020 than in any year since 2014. This unexpected surge in serious collisions comes after years of declining auto accident death rates, according to data from the city’s transportation department.
Review the factors contributing to last year’s reported spike in catastrophic motor vehicle incidents.
Looking at the numbers
New York City experienced 243 auto accident deaths in 2020, a dramatic increase over fatalities in recent years. This phenomenon also occurred nationwide as the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reported higher U.S. auto accident fatality rates for the first time in three decades.
Considering contributing factors
As city dwellers largely stayed inside last year, the empty streets created a culture of speeding and reckless driving in many neighborhoods. Younger drivers, who are statistically more likely to cause serious auto accidents, were also more likely to spend time on the roads in 2020.
The New York Times also reported that the rate of automated speeding tickets in the city doubled last spring, with overall traffic speeds surging up to 80% over the normal average in both Queens and Brooklyn.
Many crashes occurred on the highways outside Manhattan. Time of day also played a role, with a much higher rate of late-night than daytime accident fatalities. In addition, these deaths disproportionately affect men in their teens and 20s.
New York City drivers should understand the factors that led to the significant 2020 increase in auto accident fatalities. This type of awareness may help prevent dangerous collisions.