NYC Expands Pilot Pedestrian “Countdown Signals” Program to Try to Reduce Auto Accidents

The New York City Department of Transportation has announced an expansion of the pilot program which analyzes the impacts on motorist and pedestrian behavior of “countdown signals,” which display the number of seconds pedestrians have to cross the street before the opposing vehicle traffic is given the right of way.

The expanded study will be conducted along busy corridors in all five boroughs. If successful in reducing injuries from motor vehicle accidents, the pilot program will no doubt be expanded. There are currently about 90,000 pedestrian signals citywide. This study will convert about 164 of these signals, at 24 … Read the rest

Fatalities From Car/Auto Accidents In New York City Dropped To Lowest Level Since Records Started Being Kept In 1910

New York City’s final 2007 traffic fatality data, released on January 28, 2008, shows that fatalities from motor vehicle accidents in New York City have dropped to the lowest level since records started being kept in 1910: 271 traffic fatalities citywide, down more than 30% since 2001.

There were also an all-time low 136 pedestrian deaths last year-13% fewer than previous lows in both 2004 and 2005. Since 1990 pedestrian fatalities in NYC have decreased by 62%. Prior to 1950, pedestrians accounted for of all traffic fatalities. Since then, the percentage has decreased to only .

NYC Fatal Accident History … Read the rest

Shift to Daylight Savings Time Nearly Triples Rate of Fatal Pedestrian Accidents

Two scientists have calculated that after clocks are turned back for the shift from daylight savings time to standard time, pedestrians walking during the evening rush hour are nearly three times more likely to be struck and killed by cars than before the time change, the Associated Press reports.

Ending daylight savings time translates into about 37 more U.S. pedestrian deaths around 6 p.m. in November compared to October, the researchers report. It’s not the darkness itself, but the adjustment to earlier nighttime that’s the killer.

Professors Paul Fischbeck and David Gerard, both of Carnegie Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh, conducted … Read the rest

Traffic Signals that Improve Pedestrian Safety

Earlier this month as the school year was beginning, we wrote a blog about safety tips for pedestrians. One of the points made was that it should not be assumed that obeying “Walk/Don’t Walk” lights decreases your risk of getting hit because studies show that standard pedestrian signals have no effect on pedestrian-motor vehicle accident rates compared with non-signalized intersections.

Recent travel to Toronto, Canada revealed an interesting and apparently effective way to make crossing streets less risky. In Toronto, situated next to the “Walk/Don’t Walk” signal is a lighted signal that counts down the seconds left before the … Read the rest

Damage Found on Throgs Neck Bridge During Inspection Began Before Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

New York State officials announced, on August 9, 2007, that some damage to the Throgs Neck Bridge showing advanced wear and tear was found during a routine biannual inspection that began prior to last week’s Minneapolis bridge collapse. As a result, restrictions to the access to the bridge by over-sized rigs will be increased. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”) said the bridge is safe for drivers.

To ease the bridge’s deterioration, the state is rescinding a two-year program that allowed certain trucks weighing 105,000 pounds to travel on the center lanes at 30 mph at any time of day. Those … Read the rest

Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths Highest in 15 Years

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in its preliminary report on fatalities occurring in 2006 as a result of motor vehicle accidents, project alcohol-related traffic fatalities increased by 2.4 percent from 2005 to 2006; 17,941 for 2006 versus 17,525 for 2005.

This represents the highest number of alcohol-related traffic deaths since 1992. Injuries sustained in alcohol-related traffic accidents declined 6 percent, from 2.7 million in 2005 to 2.54 million in 2006.

Comparing 2005 to 2006, overall traffic fatalities are down slightly by 0.3 percent, from 43,443 in 2005 to 43,300 in 2006. The 2006 fatality rate is projected to … Read the rest

Is the Increase of Technology Causing an Increase in Car Accidents?

Car accidents are becoming more prevalent today and there is a cause for concern that, at the least, this is partly due to the rise in consumer use of technology, including cell phones and other devices, while they are operating their vehicles. As a result people are sustaining serious personal injuries. For instance, on Saturday June 2nd, 2007, there was a multi-car accident on the Long Island Expressway in Commack, New York due to a driver who was distracted by his Ipod. It is apparent that there is a rise of use of cell phones and ipods while individuals are … Read the rest