DOT: Speeding the Leading Cause of NYC Traffic Deaths in 2012

Circles indicate motorists speeding near schools. ## for full-size PDF. Image: NYC DOT

Motor vehicle occupant deaths increased by 46 percent from 2011 to last year, NYC DOT said today, as the agency emphasized the need for automated enforcement with the release of 2012 traffic fatality counts.

There were 274 traffic deaths in NYC in 2012, compared to 245 in 2011. Motor vehicle occupant fatalities increased from 50 to 73. The number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths was mostly unchanged: 166 in 2012 compared to 163 in 2011. Pedestrian fatalities were up in 2012, while cyclist deaths decreased.

Speeding was the leading single factor in traffic deaths, contributing to 81 fatal crashes.

Other factoids from DOT:

  • Most fatal crashes involved “speeding and disregard of red lights or stop signs, driver inattention and/or alcohol.”
  • Speeding was a factor in 65 percent more crashes in 2012 than in 2011 (81 compared to 49).
  • Fatal hit-and-runs increased 31 percent from 2010 to 2012.
  • For the third year in a row, no pedestrians were killed in crashes with cyclists.
NYC traffic fatalities. Image: NYC DOT

DOT released a map illustrating 100 locations where 75 percent or more drivers were speeding within a quarter-mile of schools. The agency observed widespread disregard for children’s safety across the boroughs: 79 percent of motorists were found speeding near P.S. 199 in Sunnyside, Queens; 97 percent near P.S. 187 in Washington Heights, Manhattan; 87 percent near P.S. 270 in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; 89 percent near P.S. 69 in the Bronx; and 81 percent of drivers were speeding near P.S. 35 in Grymes Hill, Staten Island.

“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,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, in a written statement. Sadik-Khan was joined by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Chancellor Dennis Walcott in calling for “swift authorization” of legislation that would allow NYC to employ its first-ever speed camera program.

Speed cameras have been endorsed by the State Assembly but have yet to gain support from the Senate, where they are up against opposition from Senator Marty Golden and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.


NYC Pedestrian and Cyclist Traffic Injuries Hit Five-Year High in 2013

Motorists injured more pedestrians and cyclists in New York City last year than in any of the previous five years, according to official 2013 data on traffic injuries and deaths released by the state DMV [PDF]. Confirming preliminary NYPD figures, the final DMV stats show total traffic injuries remained near the five-year low — meaning pedestrians […]

New Data Debunks “Bike Bedlam” Sensationalism

New data is online about the extent of bike-on-ped crashes in New York City, and it adds some much-needed perspective to the public discourse about the “safety crisis” on city streets. According to reports collected by NYPD and compiled online by NYC DOT [PDF], police responded to 27 bike-ped collisions citywide in the last three […]

To Make NYC Streets Safer, Focus on the Cause of 98 Percent of Harm

On Wednesday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer spoke in support of legislation that would create a “bicycle safety task force.” The language of the bill, introduced by Council Member Rosie Mendez at Brewer’s request, says the task force would make recommendations for improving bike infrastructure. But in testimony to the council transportation committee, Brewer suggested the panel would […]