Is NYC Ticketing Enough Reckless Drivers?

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The New York City police department’s efforts to crack down on drivers who fail to follow the rules of the road have reportedly fallen below expectations, which could have something to do with the rise in traffic accidents.

The New York City police department’s ostensible effort to crack down on drivers who fail to yield at non-signalized intersections, announced by Mayor Eric Adams in January, has reportedly fallen far below expectations. According to a recent analysis by Streetsblog, the NYPD issued “1.77 failure-to-yield tickets per precinct per day” in March 2022, after issuing 1.81 per day in February. “That’s 2 percent fewer tickets despite a publicized announcement that the NYPD would in fact do more,” the report notes.

These numbers fell even as car crashes rose in New York City, according to Streetsblog, which notes that there may be a causal relationship between the dip in enforcement and the rise in accidents. In 2022 so far New York City has seen 29,876 reported car crashes; 10,104 crashes resulting in injuries; and a total of 2,570 pedestrians who suffered injuries. Meanwhile, police officers issued 5.08 tickets per precinct per day to motorists who ran red lights or stop signs; in March 2014, Streetsblog notes, they issued 5.67. 

In a statement about the apparent enforcement decline, a spokesperson for the NYPD said, “Decreasing traffic fatalities are at the core of the NYPD’s traffic safety initiatives. This year, we have an experienced an increase in overall traffic fatalities and vehicle occupants have been driving the increase in the number of deaths. It should be noted that as of April 26 the month of April 2022 has shown a 75-percent reduction in overall traffic deaths when compared to the first 26 days of April 2021.”

The statement, available in full at the linked report, went on to assert that the NYPD has increased highway enforcement in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, where data suggests the starkest rise in collisions and injuries. “Precision enforcement is taken against drivers that fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists at intersections,” the NYPD said. “This year, the hazardous violation enforcement in this area has increased 33 percent to 13,354 from 9,998.”

More information on the NYPD’s effort to issue tickets to reckless drivers who fail to yield is available via Streetsblog.

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