NYC Traffic Injuries Down 6.6 Percent in First Half of 2014

Traffic injuries in New York City declined nearly 7 percent in the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period last year, according to NYPD data compiled by Streetsblog. Fatalities have also declined slightly, from 121 to 117.

The most significant drop in traffic deaths was among pedestrians, falling from 72 in the first six months of 2013 to 55 this year. Pedestrian injuries, which are less subject to random variation, declined 6.8 percent, nearly the same rate as overall traffic injuries.

While the decline in injuries suggests a tangible improvement in street safety, the precise causes are unclear. The deployment of speed cameras, increased NYPD enforcement of failure-to-yield violations, DOT street redesigns, and the harsh winter are all plausible factors.

The human toll — 24,383 injuries and 117 deaths — remains staggering and points to how much Mayor de Blasio and his commissioners at NYPD, DOT, and the TLC must change to achieve the administration’s Vision Zero goals.

While fewer lives have been lost on NYC streets in 2014 compared to 2013 and 2012, the first six months of 2011 saw fewer fatalities — 102, according to NYC DOT records. (NYPD’s monthly crash reports don’t go back to the beginning of 2011.) With 250 traffic deaths over the course of all 12 months, 2011 was the least deadly year on NYC streets in modern history.

Looking at vulnerable street users, drivers killed 63 pedestrians and cyclists in the first six months of 2014 and injured 7,080, compared to 78 deaths and 7,633 injuries for the same period in 2013. Below are the traffic violence summaries for the month of June, which NYPD recently posted online [PDF].

Twenty people died in New York City traffic in June, and 4,950 were injured.

Citywide, at least five pedestrians and three cyclists were fatally struck by drivers in June: three pedestrians and one cyclist in Brooklyn; one pedestrian and two cyclists in Queens; and one pedestrian in Staten Island. Among the victims were Nicholas Soto, Robert Moczo, Wayne White, Christal Aliotta, Xochil Zack Fortune, Bryan Loughran, an unnamed male cyclist in Queens, and an unnamed male pedestrian in Brooklyn. Motorists killed at least one child in June: Nicholas Soto, 14.

Two people were killed in work-related incidents: Gustavo Tapia in Brooklyn and Steven Frosch in Queens. These deaths were recorded as pedestrian fatalities by NYPD.

Across the city, 941 pedestrians and 470 cyclists were reported hurt in collisions with motor vehicles in June. Per NYPD policy, few of these crashes were investigated by trained officers.

Of seven fatal crashes reported by Streetsblog and other outlets, no motorists were known to have been charged for causing a death. Historically, nearly half of motorists who kill a New York City pedestrian or cyclist do not receive so much as a citation for careless driving.

Ten motorists died in the city in June; 1,617 motorists and 1,922 passengers were injured.

There were 18,321 motor vehicle crashes in the city in June, including 3,539 that resulted in injury or death.

Download June NYPD summons data here. NYPD posts geocoded crash data here. Crash and summons data from prior months is available in multiple formats here. Below are the contributing factors for June crashes resulting in injury and death.

Image: NYPD
Image: NYPD
  • J

    An intelligent #visionzero strategy would look at this data and 1) identify the behaviors that are most likely to result in a serious injury or fatality, 2) develop a plan that most effectively reduces the volume of of those behaviors.

    So far, we’ve have had 1) a minor expansion of (limited-enforcement) speed cameras 2) a citywide lowering of the speed limit (a very big deal), 3) one precinct cracking down on speeding, and 4) a citywide bike ticketing blitz.

    I hope there’s more to come, cause this progress is pretty slow and seemingly uncoordinated.

  • Lora Tenenbaum

    Not much we can do about driver distraction and inattention, but certainly preventing failure to yield-related injuries and death can be helped tremendously by imposing a system in which drivers cannot turn at the same time pedestrians are given a green light to cross. Such conflict free systems are proved effective in preventing vehicle-pedestrian collisions.

  • Nathanael

    The “let’s break traffic laws for fun” attitude of the NYPD seems to be the single biggest problem. When NYPD “officers” are scofflaws themselves, they’re unlikely to actually enforce any laws whatsoever.

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