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Mayor de Blasio Launches Interagency Working Group to Implement 'Vision Zero,' Prevent Pedestrian Fatalities

January 15, 2014

NYPD, DOT, DOHMH and TLC convened to develop comprehensive roadmap for safer streets by February 15

Traffic enforcement cameras to begin enforcing speed limit tomorrow, NYPD to increase Highway Division personnel by 50 percent, Mayor de Blasio to meet with crash victims’ families

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NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced an interagency working group dedicated to implementing his “Vision Zero” plan and preventing traffic fatalities. The mayor charged the New York Police Department, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Taxi & Limousine Commission with developing a comprehensive roadmap to eliminate deadly crashes, especially those involving pedestrians. So far this year, there have been 11 New Yorkers killed in traffic—seven of them pedestrians.

The working group’s report will be released publicly and serve as the blueprint for the Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, a broad strategy aimed at reducing traffic fatalities to zero within 10 years. According to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, being struck by a car is the leading cause of injury-related death for children younger than 14, and the second leading cause of injury-related death for senior citizens.

“This will be a top-to-bottom effort to take on dangerous streets and dangerous driving. We aren’t going to wait and lose a son, a daughter, a parent or a grandparent in another senseless and painful tragedy. Our top responsibility is protecting the health and safety of our people. From tougher enforcement to more safely-designed streets and stronger laws, we’ll confront this problem from every side—and it starts today,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The working group will report to the mayor by February 15 with concrete plans to:

  • Dedicate sufficient NYPD resources and personnel to deter against the most dangerous behavior, especially speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians;
  • Improve at least 50 dangerous corridors and intersections annually to discourage dangerous driving;
  • Significantly expand the number of 20 mph zones across the city;
  • Pursue a traffic safety legislative agenda, including home rule on traffic cameras, so New York City can deploy red light and speed enforcement cameras based on safety needs.

As immediate measures:

  • Mayor de Blasio announced that speed cameras recently installed on New York City streets will begin issuing tickets on Thursday to enforce the speed limit on dangerous streets.
  • Police Commissioner Bratton announced the NYPD is increasing the number of personnel assigned to the Highway division, which enforces against serious traffic violations. Since taking office, the Commissioner has increased personnel dedicated to the Highway Division by 10 percent, with the goal of increasing staffing by 50 percent, to a total of 270 officers.
  • Mayor de Blasio also committed to personally meet with victims’ families in the coming weeks and work in close partnership to enact the Vision Zero plan.

The mayor made the announcement near Northern Boulevard and 61st Street, the dangerous Woodside intersection where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was struck and killed in the crosswalk while walking to school in December. Immediately after taking office, Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton dispatched a crossing guard to the intersection to protect school children navigating the dangerous street.

Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton emphasized that additional and more rigorous enforcement against dangerous violations—like speeding and failure to yield to pedestrians—would be central to their efforts—representing a significant new undertaking for the NYPD.

“Our job is to save lives. We will be just as aggressive in preventing a deadly crash on our streets as we are in preventing a deadly shooting. Our police are going to enforce the laws on our streets consistently and effectively. This is going to be central to our work to keep New Yorkers safe. We will put the personnel and resources in place to protect New Yorkers,” said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

“This is our top priority. It is our job to get ahead of this epidemic on our streets. We know what the tools are, and we are going to immediately set to work on the concrete plans to put them into action. We are going to build on what’s working, fix what’s broken, and make sure that nothing is held back as we make our streets safer,” said Under Secretary for Policy at the US Department of Transportation and incoming NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

“Traffic crashes rank among the city’s leading causes of injury-related deaths and hospitalizations, but they are preventable,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “We are committed to working with other city agencies to improve traffic safety and reduce pedestrian fatalities in New York City.”

“Public safety must always be at the forefront of what we do. Whether it’s our drivers and passengers, or the people who share the streets with them, we want to do our part to protect every New Yorker,” said TLC Chief Operating Officer Conan Freud. “This working group will enable us to do that more effectively and comprehensively with our partners across the city than ever before.”