New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner (DOT) Janette Sadik-Khan today released 2012 traffic safety statistics and called for swift state authorization for the City to use speed-camera enforcement for the first time, with a priority given to streets near schools with documented speeding. Statistics show that New York City in 2012 sustained the recent historic lows seen in annual traffic fatalities, though speeding was the greatest single factor in traffic deaths, contributing to 81 fatal traffic crashes—about 30% of all traffic fatalities—while fatal hit-and-run fatalities increased 31% since 2010 to 47 last year. DOT also released a map (attached) identifying 100 priority schools across the five boroughs where 75% of vehicles or more were found to be speeding within a quarter-mile of school grounds. Our previous efforts to enhance street safety—including street redesigns, increasing the number of red-light cameras and aggressive enforcement of traffic laws—have contributed to the safest years on record and a reduction in traffic fatalities by more than 30 percent in the past decade—and 54,000 fewer traffic injuries a year compared to 2001. Today, New York City traffic fatality rates are less than one-third of the national average and half that of other big cities. NYPD issued 1 million moving violations last year, 71,000 of them for speeding alone.
“One thousand New Yorkers are alive today who would not be if we simply sustained the city’s fatality rate just one decade ago,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Still, we know we have to do more. The streets around our city’s schools are the real speed traps, and we can’t play it safe when it comes to doing everything we can to protect New Yorkers on our streets—and especially seniors and school kids.”
“Just as red light cameras reduced infractions at intersections where they were installed, we anticipate that speed cameras will result in greater compliance with posted speed limits,” said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
“The streets around our schools should be safe, but we all have to work together to make it happen. I applaud these efforts to reduce speeding near our schools,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott.
Statistics recorded 274 traffic deaths in 2012, the fourth fewest since recordkeeping started in 1910 and nearly 30% fewer than in 2001. In 2012 there were 148 pedestrian fatalities recorded, 23% fewer than in 2001. Nearly all of the increase in traffic fatalities occurred among motor vehicle occupants, which increased 46% from 50 in 2011to 73 in 2012. Fatal crashes overwhelmingly involved speeding (increasing from 49 in 2011 to 81 in 2012) and disregard of red lights or stop signs, driver inattention and/or alcohol. There were also 18 bicycle fatalities in 2012, four fewer than the previous year, and unchanged over the last decade despite the growth in bike riding. For a third year, no pedestrians were killed in crashes with bike riders.
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DOT released a map documenting 100 locations where 75% of vehicles were documented speeding within a quarter-mile of New York City schools. DOT tracked 79% of vehicles speeding near PS 199 in Sunnyside, Queens; 97% speeding near PS 187 in Washington Heights, Manhattan; 87% near PS 270 in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; 89% near PS 69 in the Bronx; and 81% speeding near PS 35 in Grymes Hill, Staten Island. State legislation is required for the city to install speed enforcement cameras. The City is currently authorized to use 150 red-light cameras citywide, which has led to dramatic reductions in instances of red-light running and violations issued at locations where they have been installed.
In the last five years DOT implemented safety improvement projects along 104 corridors and at 99 intersections, including extensive street redesigns along 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th avenues, Claremont Avenue and, 44th Drive in Queens, Grand Concourse in the Bronx, and along Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island. These projects accommodate cars, Select Bus Service, pedestrians and bike riders, and they collectively represent the most significant upgrade to our streets in some 50 years. In the last two years alone, these designs have brought better organization to some 120 miles of streets, including 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, Delancey Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Manhattan last year.
Pedestrian countdown signals are installed at more than 1,900 intersections citywide, with more than a thousand more planned. Last year DOT also implemented New York City’s first-ever Neighborhood Slow Zone, reducing speed limits to 20 mph and installing other traffic-calming measures like speed bumps, with four more community-requested slow zones completed in 2012 in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, and with nine more planned for 2013.
DOT has also escalated its safety education and advertising campaigns, launching the That’s Why It’s 30 anti-speeding campaign, the Be the Man anti DWI campaign; and the Heads Up and LOOK! advertising campaigns, bringing eye-catching advertisements to motorists on the dangers of distracted driving and stenciling the word “LOOK!” at pedestrian crosswalks intersections with high numbers of pedestrian crashes and indicating the direction pedestrians should look in when crossing the street. DOT Safety Educators also are continuing to conduct outreach in schools and senior centers, educating our most vulnerable New Yorkers on safety when walking, biking and driving a vehicle.