Traffic Remains Top Injury-Related Killer of New York City’s Children

Picture_2.pngTransportation-related injuries, overwhelmingly caused by motorists hitting pedestrians, remain a top killer of New York City children. Graphic: NYC Department of Health

New York’s public transportation keeps children alive. New York City traffic kills them. Those are the fundamental facts that explain injury fatality rates among the city’s children, according to the Department of Health.

Last week the health department released their fourth yearly report on children’s injury deaths [PDF]. As in past years, motor vehicles are the leading cause of death due to injury among children. Between 2001 and 2008, 1,535 children died in New York City, 445 from injuries. Of those, 106 were killed by motor vehicles. The overwhelming majority of these victims were walking at the time they were fatally struck, while a few were in cars themselves or on bikes or scooters. The first report in this series focused more closely on traffic crashes and offered a more detailed look at how cars kill children.

In this year’s report, the Department of Health focused on disparities
in fatalities, and the unequal burden of traffic couldn’t be clearer.
For instance, 26.6 percent
of city residents are black, but black children account for 46 percent
of the transportation injuries that claim the lives of New Yorkers age 12 and under.

"The public health imperative for safer streets has never been clearer," responded Transportation Alternatives’ Wiley Norvell. "Our city’s children are falling victim to dangerous roadways and reckless driving."

The ray of light that emerges from the grim statistics is that because so many New Yorkers rely on public transportation to get around, children are much safer than they would otherwise be. New York City has only a third as many transportation-related child fatalities as the national average. Our safer transportation system is the prime reason that overall, New York City kids die from injuries at half the national rate. 

The report also offers a few recommendations for how to keep New York’s children safe. With regards to transportation, they recommend stronger enforcement of traffic violations and allowing cameras to enforce speeding laws on dangerous speeds (a measure that has seemingly stalled in Albany this session), as well as installing convex mirrors on trucks and better installation of child car seats. Said Norvell, "It’s time to marshal every lever in government to bring these numbers down."

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

TA: NYPD Enforcement Priorities Don’t Match Its Own Street Safety Data

|
Yesterday, Transportation Alternatives released a report [PDF] highlighting the mismatch between what causes fatal and serious crashes, according to NYPD crash reports, and what police choose to prioritize when it comes to traffic enforcement. The report lists some statistics to illustrate the public safety crisis on the city’s streets: One New Yorker suffers a traffic-related injury […]

The Lhota Platform: No Walking, No Biking, No Details on Street Safety

|
It looks like Joe Lhota didn’t listen to Nicole Gelinas or Transportation Alternatives. Yesterday, Lhota released what his campaign billed as a “comprehensive policy book” [PDF], but New Yorkers interested in safer streets or better bicycling and walking are still awaiting much of any policy from the Republican candidate. After platitudes about how “an effective transportation system is a […]

Traffic Still the Top Injury-Related Killer of NYC Kids

|
Every year, the Department of Health releases a report on the injuries that kill NYC children [PDF]. And every year, the grim statistics show traffic to be the single largest cause of injury-related death among kids. Between 2001 and 2009, 1,681 children under 13 years old died in New York City, 324 of them from […]