NYPD got a lot of press last month for ticketing pedestrians, but officers were also summonsing more motorists for deadly driving behaviors.
NYPD issued 1,993 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian in January. That’s a 66 percent increase from the 1,198 failure to yield tickets issued in January 2013, and a 60 percent jump from last year’s monthly average of 1,240.
January’s speeding summons total was also up 20 percent from last year, but since most speeding tickets are issued on highways it’s impossible to know for sure how much of that increase happened on neighborhood streets. Failure to yield stops, by definition, occur where pedestrians are present.
Tallying the number of tickets is a blunt way to assess NYPD’s traffic enforcement performance. The department should be releasing the summons data in a mappable format, so the public can tell where enforcement is happening. And there should be a metric of motorist compliance, in addition to the summons data, so people can tell if overall driver behavior is getting better or worse.
It’s possible last month could be a fluke — police wrote 1,916 failure to yield tickets last November, by far the highest total of any single month in 2013. Or with the launch of Vision Zero, the January uptick could be the first substantial sign that NYPD is making pedestrian safety a higher enforcement priority.
We’ll get a clearer picture over the next few months.