NYC traffic deaths drop in 2022, but remain higher than the low seen in 2018, data shows – SILive.com


Following three consecutive years of increasing traffic fatalities, the number of deaths on New York City streets fell in 2022, according to recent data. (Staten Island Advance/Joseph Ostapiuk)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — New York City’s traffic fatalities have started trending down following three consecutive years of increases, but the number of residents losing their lives on city streets remains well-above the low levels reached in 2018.
On Friday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that there were 255 total traffic fatalities on New York City streets in 2022, a 6.6% decrease from the 273 recorded in 2021, but still 23.8% higher than the 206 recorded in 2018, the lowest number since the implementation of Vision Zero in 2014.
“The safety of all New Yorkers remains DOT’s number one priority entering the New Year,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We are proud that last year saw some encouraging trends, but Mayor Adams has made it clear that where traffic fatalities citywide are concerned, the only acceptable number is zero.”
In 2013, the year prior to Vision Zero’s implementation, New York City saw 299 total traffic fatalities. That number steadily dropped in each of the following years, reaching a low of 206 in 2018, data shows.
However, since then, the numbers began trending back up, reaching 220 traffic deaths in 2019, 242 in 2020 and then 273 in 2021, before falling back to 255 in 2022.
The department highlighted the city’s work to buck the ongoing national trend of rising pedestrian fatalities at a time when those numbers have reached a 40-year high across the country.
In 2022, there were 118 pedestrian deaths in New York City, down eight from the 126 recorded in 2021 and down 66 from the 184 registered in 2013, the year prior to the implementation of Vision Zero, according to city data.
“Across the board, the numbers are clear: New York City is getting safer,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “While traffic fatalities rise across the country, we are taking major actions, like improving 1,400 intersections and turning on speed cameras 24/7 — making our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. Even as we see significant progress, our North Star remains Vision Zero, and we will continue working toward a day when no one dies from traffic violence in New York City.”
Officials pointed to efforts to bolster pedestrian safety, including Adams’ commitment in January 2022 to improve 1,000 intersections throughout the year, with the DOT having eclipsed that goal and brought safety improvements to over 1,400 intersections in 2022.
With intersections serving as the site of most pedestrian injuries and fatalities, the department has implemented a wide range of treatments to enhance safety at the city’s most dangerous intersections, including signal upgrades, all-way stop sign installations, daylighting, turn calming and raised crosswalks.
The city also pointed to the 24/7 expansion of the city’s school zone speed camera program in August as a contributing factor in the falling number of traffic fatalities.
On Aug. 1, 2022, New York City’s speed cameras shifted to around-the-clock operation, now ticketing motorists 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Previously, speed cameras had only been permitted to operate on weekdays, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Other core aspects of the program remain unchanged, as the speed cameras, which must be placed within a quarter-mile radial distance from a school building, continue issuing $50 fines to drivers who exceed the posted speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour.
Officials pointed to month-over-month declines in the number of violations being issued as an indicator of fewer speeding motorists, with the cameras issuing 755,000 speeding violations in August, followed by approximately 661,000 violations in September, 586,000 in October and 565,000 in November.
“NYC continues to increase the number of tools in our street safety toolbox to help us keep our streets safer, including 24/7 speed cameras and better street intersection design. These interventions saved lives,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Thank you to all the City agencies who work tirelessly toward making our streets safer for all pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, and special gratitude to our partners up in Albany who helped grow our street safety toolbox.
STATEN ISLAND NUMBERS
On Staten Island, there were 13 total traffic fatalities in 2022, a decrease of one from the 14 recorded in 2021, according to recent numbers.
While the 13 traffic deaths in 2022 represent a slight decrease from the year prior, the number remains nearly twice as high as the seven recorded in 2018, when the number of Staten Island traffic deaths reached its lowest point in recent history.
In 2015, the borough saw 25 traffic deaths. Of those deaths, 11 were motor vehicle occupants, 11 were pedestrians, two were motorcyclists and one was a bicyclist.
In 2016, that number dropped to 17 roadway fatalities, including seven motor vehicle occupants, seven pedestrians, two motorcyclists and one bicyclist.
The number fell again in 2017, with 15 deaths on Staten Island streets, including six motor vehicle occupants, five pedestrians and four motorcyclists.
In 2018, traffic fatalities in the borough fell to their lowest point in recent history with just seven deaths, including two motor vehicles occupants, four pedestrians and one motorcyclist.
However, after that point, the number of people killed on Staten Island streets began to creep back up.
In 2019, the number of traffic fatalities increased to eight, two of which were motor vehicle occupants, five of which were pedestrians and one of which was a bicyclist.
That number rose again in 2020, with 11 people losing their lives in a traffic crash, including four motor vehicle occupants, five pedestrians, one motorcyclists and one bicyclist.
It increased once more in 2021, with 14 total traffic fatalities, including five motor vehicle occupants, six pedestrians, two motorcyclists and one other motorized death.
Other motorized deaths include e-bikes without pedals (i.e. illegal mopeds), e-scooters and other e-devices like hoverboards, skateboards and Segways, according to the DOT.
Like the citywide numbers, Staten Island’s traffic fatalities dropped in 2022 for the first time since 2018, with 13 total traffic fatalities, including five motor vehicle occupants, seven pedestrians and one motorcyclist.
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