November 2010 Issue of NYC Vital Signs Devoted to Improving Traffic Safety in New York City

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a data report focused upon traffic death statistics and touting its plans to improve safety in 2010-2011. The data in this report are from the NYC Department of Transportations (DOT) Traffic Fatality Database, the primary source of traffic-related death and injury statistics in New York City.

Key findings included (1) males and people in their 20s make up a disproportionately high number of those killed in motor vehicle accidents compared to their prevalence in the population; (2) traffic fatalities in NYC disproportionately occur on major streets; (3) pedestrian fatalities occur most often at intersections along major streets; (4) risky driver behavior contributes to NYCs traffic fatalities unsafe speed, driver inattention, failure to yield and alcohol/drug use; and (5) seat belts are a big life saver.

The NYC Department of Transportation announced plans for 2010-2011. It says it will: Install countdown signals at 1,500 intersections, focusing on wide arterial streets. Re-engineer 60 miles of streets to improve pedestrian safety, prioritizing locations based on corridor crash data. Typical projects include building pedestrian refuge islands, removing excess roadway space, installing bicycle lanes, and changing signal timing to reduce speeding. Re-engineer 20 intersections on major Manhattan two-way streets to improve pedestrian safety. Pilot a neighborhood 20 mph zone program in collaboration with local communities.

New York Citys traffic fatality rate is approximately one quarter of the national rate (3.5 vs. 12.2 per 100,000 in 2008) and has declined twice as rapidly as the national rate in recent decades (-64% vs. -32% since 1990). Traffic fatalities in New York City are at an all-time low, but remain an important public health problem. Traffic crashes are a leading cause of injury-related death and hospitalization for many New Yorkers, including pedestrians who are children or older-adults, and young adult drivers.

Between 2005 and 2009, New York City experienced 1,467 traffic fatalities. During this period, annual fatalities decreased 20% from 321 in 2005 to 256 in 2009. Pedestrians account for half of traffic fatalities (52%), followed by motor vehicle occupants (29%), motorcyclists (11%), and bicyclists (7%). Males comprise 48% of NYC residents and 56% of registered drivers, but 70% of New Yorkers killed in traffic crashes were male, including 60% of pedestrians, 87% of cyclists, 87% of drivers, and 98% of motorcyclists.

People in their 20s make up 36% of the drivers and passengers who die in motor vehicle crashesa higher proportion than any other age group. Motorcyclists account for a disproportionate share of traffic fatalities. Between 2005 and 2009, 11% of all traffic-related fatalities were among motorcyclists even though they represent only about 2% of all NYC motor vehicle registrations. More than three quarters of New Yorkers who died in motorcycle crashes were younger than 40 years: 46% were 18- to 29-year-olds and 32% were 30- to 39-year-olds. Nearly half (46%) of all fatal motorcycle crashes are related to speed. Driver inexperience (i.e., young drivers) was a factor in 21% of fatal motorcycle crashes.

The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving auto accidents. For over 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. To learn more, watch our videos.

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