Traffic deaths in New York are up 35% so far this year


According to police data, road deaths in New York City have increased 35% so far this year.

NYPD records show 58 people – including pedestrians – have died in car crashes through April 3, a sharp increase from the 43 killed during the same period in 2021.

The tragic numbers are sure to disappoint City Hall – where Mayor Adams promised to build on his predecessor Bill de Blasio’s ‘Vision Zero’, which aimed to eliminate road deaths.

“Thirty-five percent more deaths in the first quarter of the year is a lot. And the last year hasn’t been good,” said Jon Orcutt, Bike New York’s advocacy director and former Mayor Bloomberg’s transportation department policy director.

A total of 274 fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in 2021, according to DOT data shared by Orcutt — up from 243 in 2020 and 220 in 2019.

“We have seen deaths decline for decades, really since about 1990. Regularly. The long trend is down. We are losing this long trend. This could be the fourth consecutive year of increases in road fatalities,” he said.

NYPD records show 58 people – including pedestrians – have died in car crashes through April 3.
Robert Mecea for NY Post

Some traffic experts blamed a reduction in NYPD enforcement, leading to “chaos” of vehicles on the streets.

Records show a 57% post-pandemic decrease in summonses issued by the NYPD for “dangerous” driving offenses. Police issued 387,469 such summonses in fiscal year 2021, compared to 902,482 in fiscal year 2019, according to the mayor’s management report, which tracks the performance of city agencies.

During the same period, drunk driving arrests also fell by 56%. According to the report, only 2,583 such busts were committed citywide in fiscal year 2021, compared to 5,826 in fiscal year 2019.

“Drivers know there’s not much to do, no matter what they do, how they drive. … We don’t even consider traffic rules as guidelines anymore. It’s free for everyone,” Orcutt said. “You have to start with the police. They need to reclaim this idea that you can do whatever you want in a car in New York.

“It’s largely de Blasio’s fault. He left this completely unhandled. … But it’s starting to be the current mayor’s fault,” he added.

Recent deaths are “most common … overnight” on downtown freeways and in the Bronx, the NYPD said in a statement, adding that the department’s traffic unit plans to increase enforcement of the law.

Some traffic experts blamed a reduction in NYPD law enforcement, leading to vehicles "chaos" in the streets.
Some traffic experts blamed a reduction in NYPD enforcement, leading to “chaos” of vehicles on the streets.
Paul Martinka for NY Post

The NYPD attributed a decrease in enforcement to its sick officers during the pandemic and “an increase in the number of officers assigned to monitor civil unrest.”

“We recognize that the NYPD has a limited amount of resources and continually employs precision policing to enforce traffic,” the department continued.

A traffic expert describes “some sort of chaos” on the roads from tired and frustrated drivers, especially as they might be looking for a parking space.

“There are so many dangerous maneuvers drivers do when they see a parking spot. They’ll turn around — or suddenly back up,” said Charles Komanoff, author of “Killed by Automobile.”

DOT spokesman Tomas Garita said, “Unfortunately, New York City has not been immune to disturbing national trends during the pandemic that have contributed to an increase in road deaths across the country. The administration is working around the clock to make our streets safer and is focused on transforming intersections, where more than half of traffic fatalities occur, a sacred space for all New Yorkers.

New York Post

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