New York City’s Pedestrian Fatalities Lowest on Record in 2014

Pedestrian fatalities in New York City fell to a historic low last year following the Vision Zero push to make streets less dangerous. Last year, 132 pedestrians died, the lowest total for a year since the city began keeping records a century ago. In 2013 there were 180 deaths, the highest number in a decade.

Overall traffic fatalities fell last year to 248, from 293 the previous year. There were 20 bicyclist fatalities in 2014, an increase from 12 deaths in 2013, and 37 motorcyclist deaths last year, down from 42 in 2013. Motor vehicle fatalities remained the same in 2014 as in 2013 with 59 deaths.

The drop in fatalities comes after the city put in place Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan, a set of proposals to help eliminate traffic deaths in the city. The goal is to eliminate traffic fatalities completely by 2024. With the change to lower the speed limit on all city streets to 25 mph from 30 and an increased enforcement of speeding laws, the plan has proven itself effective thus far.

“There is no question we are moving this city in the right direction, thanks to stepped up enforcement by the N.Y.P.D., strong traffic safety measures by the Department of Transportation, new laws passed by our legislators and the work of New Yorkers fighting for change,” the mayor said in a statement this week.

Another city effort that has helped decrease traffic fatalities in New York City is the passage of dozen of bills on traffic safety by the City Council, including one called Cooper’s Law, which was named for a 9-year-old boy who was killed by a taxi cab driver on the UWS in January 2014. The bill allows the city to suspend and revoke the license of a taxi driver or livery driver who kills or maims a pedestrian who has the right of way.

Police have also helped reduce the amount of traffic fatalities in the city by strengthening enforcement against dangerous driving, increasing summonses for speeding by 42% and for failure to yield to pedestrians by 126%. More than 117,000 drivers were given summonses for speeding last year, compared with about 82,000 in 2013.

“In 2015, we will continue to work with our Vision Zero partners and local communities to make their neighborhoods safer and save more lives,” Polly Trottenberg, the city’s transportation commissioner, said in a statement, “because our work is far from complete.”

Source: New York Times