The New York City Department of Transportation announced on Jan. 6 that traffic accident fatalities in the Big Apple fell by 6.6% in 2022 after three years of sharp increases. Pedestrian fatalities around the country reached a four-decade high in 2022, but they fell by 6.3% in New York City. DOT officials and city leaders said the figures showed that the Vision Zero road safety initiative was saving lives. Since the Vision Zero program was launched in 2013, traffic deaths in the city have fallen by 14.7%.
Speed cameras and safer intersections
To help reach its Vision Zero goals, the DOT has redesigned 1,400 intersections in New York City to make them safer for pedestrians. The improvements made include upgrading signals, raising crosswalks and installing daytime lighting. The city has also ramped up its efforts to prevent accidents in school zones by keeping its speed cameras on around the clock. This has led to a 25% reduction in speeding violations according to city officials.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams says that he hopes to reduce road deaths further in 2023 by clamping down on reckless driving. Legislative measures that could assist the mayor’s efforts include a bill that would issue long driving bans to persistent reckless drivers and a proposal to lower the drunk driving threshold in the city to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%. The current drunk driving limit is a BAC of 0.08%. The passage of the BAC bill would be a significant step because impaired driving is a leading cause of road deaths and accident-related personal injury lawsuits.
The worrying rise in accident deaths and pedestrian fatalities across the country has been blamed on bad habits that drivers picked up in 2020 when travel restrictions emptied the roads. New York City officials should be congratulated for tackling these problems head on.