Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

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New York City’s neighbor Hoboken has enjoyed three years free of traffic violence-related fatalities.

The city of Hoboken, New Jersey, has recorded zero traffic violence deaths for three years, an impressive feat which a recent report by Streetsblog recently attributed to the city’s commitment to its Vision Zero campaign.

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla launched the campaign in 2019, expanding its network of bicycle lanes by 38% in that year and 2020. Today Hoboken has a “total on-street network of 16.3 miles” of bike lanes, encompassing nearly 50% of the city’s 33 miles of roadway—although, as StreetsBlog notes, only 6.4% of the bicycle lanes are not protected. New York City, on the other hand, launched its Vision Zero campaign in 2014 and now has 1,375 miles of bicycle lanes (546 of which are protected) on its 6,000 miles of roadway, or about 23%. Continue reading

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Recently released statistics reflect New York City’s struggles to keep its roadways safe in 2020.

According to New York City’s preliminary Mayor’s Management Report, road fatalities in the city rose 40% from July 1 to October 31, 2020, reaching a total of 106 deaths compared to the same period in 2019. As StreetsBlog details, the report also found that pedestrian deaths rose 16% in that period, while motorcyclist rose 80% and car driver fatalities “almost doubled” from 7% to 13%. These figures, Streetsblog argues, reflects the shortcomings in the city’s governance of its “dangerous roadways” when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, rolling back progress in its Vision Zero campaign to eliminate all traffic violence in New York City. Continue reading

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A new law in New York City will task the Department of Transportation with investigating car crash injuries and issuing public reports about their investigations’ results.

A new bill passed by the New York City Council puts the city’s Department of Transportation in charge of “all vehicle crashes involving significant injury” rather than the New York Police Department. The new legislation, Intro 224-A, creates a “crash investigation and analysis unit” within the DOT which will also be tasked to recommend “safety-improving changes to street design and infrastructure” and to publish its car crash analyses, according to StreetsBlog.

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Pedestrian death rates from car crashes increased 20% during the first six months of 2020, according to federal data.

American roads have grown more and more dangerous for pedestrians in recent years, according to a recent article by NPR, and statistics show they are especially deadly for minorities. Data gathered by the Governors Highway Safety Administration shows that “6,301 pedestrians were killed by vehicles on American streets” in 2019, an increase of 46% since 2010. The same time frame saw a 5% increase in all traffic fatalities (vehicle occupants as well as pedestrians).

According to NPR, pedestrian deaths in the US increased 20% during the first six months of 2020. That figure, the pedestrian death rate, is calculated by comparing “the number of people struck and killed” by vehicles against “the number of miles driven.” Experts suggest that the death rate increased because as cars disappeared from the roads during the pandemic, many of the drivers who did venture out engaged in speeding and reckless driving. Continue reading

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An additional 4.8 million people were injured in car accidents in 2020, according to the National Safety Council.

Data released by the National Safety Council found that 42,060 died in traffic violence in 2020, up 8.4% from the 38,800 motor vehicle accident deaths counted in the National Safety Council’s report for 2019. According to StreetsBlog, “because total annual mileage dropped about 13 percent during the nationwide quarantine, the one-year increase in the car crash fatality rate was the highest since 1924,” or 24%. As that article notes, this increase appears to be linked to the nationwide decrease in cars on the road in 2020, which had the side effect of enabling “the remaining drivers to race around recklessly on roads designed to prioritize speed above all else.”

The report goes on to note that certain states experienced traffic violence fatality increases that exceeded the national average. South Dakota experienced a 33% increase in traffic violence fatalities; Vermont experienced a 32% increase in traffic violence fatalities; Arkansas experienced a 26% increase in traffic violence fatalities; and Rhode Island experienced a 26% increase in traffic violence fatalities. As the co-founder of traffic violence fatality support group Families for Safe Streets told StreetsBlog, these figures represent “people: children, parents, grandparents, friends, co-workers. These are lives lost and life-changing injuries suffered in preventable crashes.” Continue reading

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NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson supports a new bill giving the Department of Transportation authority to investigate car crashes.

A new bill in the New York City Council would remove the New York Police Department’s authority to investigate car crashes, vesting that power instead with the city’s Department of Transportation. According to StreetsBlog, the bill is supported by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson but opposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In a statement to the publication, Johnson said that the Department of Transportation “could operate in a better way,” and that the transfer of power would professionalize the investigation of car crashes and traffic incidents. In a statement arguing against the bill, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in part: “I want to see stronger penalties for people who hurt or kill other people with their automobile. I still think we have farther to go on that front, particularly in state law. I want to see more stringent investigations that lead to consequences… my goal is to just do better with crash investigations, but I think NYPD and DOT both have a role to play.” Continue reading

New York City Council candidate John Sanchez recently laid out his plan for making the streets of The Bronx safer for cyclists and pedestrians. In an essay on StreetsBlog NYC, Sanchez described the key elements of his plan, which include protected bike lanes, curtailing parking, and better street design. “As a lifelong resident of The Bronx, I want my neighborhood to be one in which a family can ride bikes safely,” he wrote, “in which no one dies or become seriously injured simply for walking in the neighborhood or for performing the job of delivering food — left and discarded on the road by a hit-and-run driver.” Continue reading

A new study by the transportation safety nonprofit organization Transportation Alternatives found that traffic violence is “a near-universal experience” for people living in New York City. According to the group’s research, 30% of New Yorkers have been injured in a traffic collision, while 70% of New Yorkers know someone who has either been injured or killed in a traffic collision.

Transportation Alternatives’ data shows that someone dies of traffic violence every 36 hours in New York City. The victims of traffic violence include pedestrians, drivers, motorcyclists, and cyclists. Transportation Alternatives attributes much of the risk of traffic-related fatalities to “unsafe streets,” “urban avenues built to encourage speeding,” and “lanes that are unprotected, disconnected, or entirely missing.” Continue reading

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10 of 26 NYC cyclist deaths in 2020 took place on streets with a median income less than $45,000.

Many of the cyclists killed by motor vehicles in 2020 were low-income essential workers, according to a recent analysis by StreetsBlog. There were 243 victims of vehicle-related deaths last year, 26 of whom were cyclists. As StreetsBlog notes, 2020 was “the second deadliest [year] for traffic violence during Mayor de Blasio’s seven years in office.” The analysis argues that the mayor’s administration did not do enough to protect cyclists, many of whom died in “neighborhoods that have historically been neglected and underinvested in for street-safety improvements.” Continue reading

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Reckless driving and speeding increased during the coronavirus pandemic, including in New York City.

2020 was the deadliest year for traffic crashes in New York City since Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced his Vision Zero plan in 2014, according to a recent report by the New York Times. There were at least 243 deaths in traffic crashes in the city last year, despite a downturn in actual traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic. As the Times report observes, this spike was at odds with historical trends, in which “Economic downturns and reduced congestion typically lead to fewer fatal crashes.”

During the pandemic, however, there was an increase in reckless driving, as motorists went over the speed limit on sparse turnpikes, drag-raced, and rode motorcycles. As such, there was a stark increase in driver, passenger, and motorcyclist deaths over the last year, from 68 in 2019 to 120 in 2020. Pedestrian fatalities fell, according to the Times, while bicyclist fatalities remained steady. Continue reading

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