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Despite a decline in crashes in NYC in April, car accident injuries continue to rise

The monthly number of traffic accidents in New York City in April was at its lowest since 2014 for the month of April. There were 16,632 motor vehicle accidents reported to the NYPD last April compared to respectively 17,893 17,585, 18,265, 16,671 16,265 16,412 in April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  NYC car accidents have been on a rising trend since 2013. However recent numbers show that over the last 12 months the number of accidents has been slightly decreasing compared to the record numbers of 2017.

Despite a decrease in the number of accidents, the number of people injured in these accidents continues to rise. 4,701 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents in New York last April compared to respectively 4,578, 4,444, 5,040, 3,878, 4,007 and 4,409 in April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

16 people died in traffic accident in the city last April compared to 12 during the same month a year before and 11 in April 2017. Traffic fatalities are on a declining trend in New York since Mayor de Blasio implemented the Vision Zero Program. While the monthly traffic deaths were above 20 in April 204 and 2015 they stayed below 20 for the last 4 years, reaching their lowest for a month of April in 2017 with 11 deaths.

It is interesting to notice on the graphs below (click on them for full size view) that every year the number of traffic accidents usually reaches a low in February, increases in March and then slightly decreases again in April before increasing again and staying above the trend for the summer and fall months. Injuries also show some type of seasonal pattern but after a dip in February they usually increase gradually in March and April  but stay below the trend line before shooting up above the trend line in June and staying above it for the summer and the fall months.  Car accidents fatalities do not show as much seasonal pattern as the number of accidents and injuries.

New york traffic accidents injuries and deaths April 2019

The rising trend in car accident injuries in New York is mostly related to a significant increase in motorists injuries and to a lesser extent to bicycle accident injuries. Passenger and pedestrian injuries are on a declining trend.   Vision Zero initiatives such as reducing the city speed limit to 25 mph or the introduction to the Right of Way law have led to a significant decrease in pedestrian deaths and injuries. However so far, Vision Zero hasn’t been doing much to deter distracted driving which is the number one cause of accidents in the city and which might be an important factor in the increase of motorists injuries. Since April 2015 the monthly number of motorists injured in car accidents in April was always above 2000.

NYC car accident injuries April 2019

Motorist injured in traffic accidents NYC April 2019

Pedestrians used to be the category of road users the most at risk of dying in traffic accidents but more recently motorists have also been among the road users the most at risk of dying in traffic accidents. While in April 2013, 3 motorists and 11 pedestrians died in New York car accidents, 10 motorists and 5 pedestrians died in similar accidents in April 2015. More recently, In April 2019, 6 motorists and 7 pedestrians died in crashes.

crashes fatalities in New York for April 2019 by category of road users

Since Vision Zero started in 2014, the monthly number of pedestrian fatalities never went back above 10 during the month of April. It reached its lowest at 5 in April 2015 and has been oscillating between 6 and 7 since then for April. In a similar fashion, pedestrian injuries never went back above 900 after Vision Zero and reached their lowest in April 2015 with 696 pedestrians injured. It went back up to 869 in April 2016 but after that stayed a little above 700 during the last 3 years in April.

Pedestrian injuries and deaths NYC April 2019

Bicycle accident injuries and deaths are on a slight rising trend in New York City. As more and more bike lanes are being installed in the city increasing cyclists safety, more and more New Yorkers are commuting by bike. The Citi bike program has also contributed to the explosion of bicycle usage in New York City. As a result the number of bicycle accidents have also been on the rise over the recent years. However after reaching record highs in 2015, bicycle accidents showed some signs of plateauing over the last 3 years. The graphs below also show the seasonal factors in bicycle accident injuries and fatalities. In April at the beginning of the spring, the number of bicycle accidents and the number of people injured in these accidents despite being below the trendline already show an uptick compared to the winter months.  Because the number of monthly bicycle accidents deaths is usually low, the bicycle accident deaths graphs doesn’t show the same seasonality as the bicycle accident graph and the bicycle accident injuries graph do. However with only 1 bicycle accident fatality, this month of April was better than the months of April 2018, 2017 and 2016 which respectively recorded 3, 2 and 3 bicycle accident fatalities.

Bicycle accidents injuries and deaths New York City April 2019

April is also the beginning of the season for motorcyclists and  it is not uncommon depending on the temperature during the months of February and April that the number of motorcycle accidents double between these two months. 197 motorcycle accidents were reported to the NYPD last April compared to 108 last February and respectively 154, 163, 231, 182, 163 and 216 in April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  2016 was a bad year for motorcycle accidents, the 2019 season didn’t start very well either so far.

motorcycle accidents NYC

There were 579 bus accidents last April in New York City compared to 631 last March and 605, 585, 677, 600, 559 and 548 in respectively April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Bus accidents statistics are difficult to read. they follow their own logic but it is not easy to define the various factors contributing to the sharp differences from one month to the other.

New York Bus Accidents April 2019

Truck accidents showed no sign of slowing down in April 2019 with 1432 accidents reported to the NYPD compared to respectively 1399, 1288, 1261, 717, 611 and 557 in April 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. It is the highest number of truck accidents reported for a month of April and also the first time it goes above 1400 for this month. The number of truck accidents in the city is concerning but so far no special measures have been taken by the de Blasio adminstration in an effort to curb them.

NYC Truck Accidents April 2019