New York City car accident fatalities remained alarmingly high last year while injuries remain lower than ususal
More pedestrians and more passengers died in auto accidents in 2022 than in 2021 while cyclists and motor vehicle operators fatalities declined. Bus accidents increased while truck accidents remained stable. Motorcycle accidents remain at record levels.
After reaching a record high in 2021, NYC traffic deaths reached their second highest number since Vision Zero started in 2014
According to traffic collision data provided by the NYPD, 251 people died in crashes in the city in 2022 compared to respectively 254, 239, 214, 199, 209, 223, 235, 250 and 286 in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. As a reminder, NYPD traffic collision data might differ slightly from the real data, especially for fatalities as sometimes people died from their injuries several days or weeks after the accident occurred.
Annual data clearly show that 2020 and 2021 were years affected by the Covid19 crisis during which streets were emptier and commuting habits changed. Reckless driving became prominent during these two years as less traffic meant more speeding, leading to record numbers of motor vehicle deaths. The fear of catching the virus in public transportations resulted in an increase in people using a bicycle and high numbers of bicycle accident fatalities and injuries were also reported especially in 2020. Pedestrian fatalities slightly declined as more people worked from home and less visitors came to the city.
2022 is looking more like the years preceding the Covid19 crisis with a decline in motor vehicle operator deaths as speeding opportunities decreased and an increase in pedestrian fatalities as more visitors came to the city. Cyclists fatalities reached their second lowest number since Vision Zero started, indicating that all the safety measures implemented over the Vision Zero years are working. The only data that is completely atypical is the jump in vehicle passengers fatalities which exploded last year to 52.
50,217 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents in New York City last year compared to 50,617 in 2021 according to NYPD statistics
More pedestrians and more vehicle passengers were injured last year than the year before while less cyclists and less vehicle operators were injured in 2022 than in 2021. After a dip caused mostly by the Covid19 lockdown in 2020, the number of road injuries in the city has been oscillating around 50,000 while during the last two years before the Covid19 crisis it was oscillating around 60,000.
With 116 fatalities pedestrians represented close to half of all auto deaths’ in the city last year
After reaching their lowest in 2020 during the Covid19 crisis, pedestrian deaths in New York City are back to where they were in 2019. Globally since Vision Zero started in 2014, pedestrian fatalities have been on a declining trend. Previous to Vision Zero, NYC pedestrian fatalities reached 168 in 2013. After that they hovered around 130 for 3 years and reached a record low at 102 in 2017. Since then, 116 is the highest they have reached.
Pedestrian injuries have also been on a declining trend since Vision Zero started and behaved similarly to pedestrian deaths, dropping during the lockdown year and gradually increasing again over the last two years
However, while pedestrian deaths are back to their level of 2019, pedestrian injuries remain much lower than what they were before the Covid19 crisis with at total of 8,500 pedestrian injured in 2022 compared to 10,206 in 2019. While the number of visitors in the city increased last year, it is not as high as it was in 2019. An estimated 56 million people visited the big Apple last year compared to 66 million in 2019. The lower number of visitors might be a factor in the lower number of injuries.
Both cyclist injuries and cyclist fatalities declined in 2022 compared to 2021 and 2020
12 people died in bicycle accidents in 2022 compared to 12 in 2021 and 27 in 2020 while 4,639 of them were injured in bike accidents in NYC in 2022 compared to respectively 4,917 and 5,224 in 2021 and 2020. While declining since the peak of 2020, bicycle accident injuries remain much higher than what they were during the years preceding the Covid19 Crisis.
2020 is also the year during which the law changed in New York and made legal the use of e-bikes and e-scooters which do have a higher risk of injuries and might have been a factor in the increased number of bicycle accident injuries. Bicycle accident fatalities remained low for the last 2 years with 12 people killed in bike accidents in 2022 and 15 in 2021. Last year’s number of cyclist fatalities is the second lowest since Vision Zero started, indicating that safety measures that have been implemented to protect cyclists are working. They just need to be expanded in all boroughs especially in the Bronx where many of the bicycle accident fatalities were reported.
After reaching a record high at 98 in 2021, the number of motor vehicle operator fatalities went down to 71 in 2022 indicating that speeding opportunities are less and less common as activity in the city is growing again
Before 2020, motorist deaths reached their lowest number in 2016 with 54 fatalities. The second lowest number was in 2019 with 57 motorist deaths.
21,553 motor vehicle operators were injured in auto accidents in 2022 compared to 23,182 in 2021
Motorist injuries remain lower than what they were before the Covid19 crisis. In 2019 they reached a record high at 27,315. Motorist deaths and motorist injuries remain on a rising trend over the last 10 years.
Passenger fatalities exploded in 2022 with 52 of them dying in auto accidents compared to respectively 32, 28, 17, 8, 24, 17, 34, 26 and 23 in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013
Hopefully this number is only an exception as it is difficult to understand what the factors are behind such a high number of fatalities.
While passenger fatalities are on the rise in New York City, passenger injuries remain on a declining trend
15,552 motor vehicle passengers were injured in accidents in 2022 compared to 15,332 in 2021. For the last two years passengers fatalities remained below 16,000 while they used to be above 18,000 during the 3 years preceding the pandemic.
After a record high at 2,784 in 2021, motorcycle accidents slightly declined to 2,734 in 2022, their second record high for the last 10 years
The pandemic has contributed to a surge of people using a motorcycle according to a recent Bloomberg study. This might be a factor in the recent surge of motorcycle accidents.
There were 7,710 truck accidents in the city last year compared to 77,858 in 2021 and 8,118 in 2020
Accidents reported resulted in substantial damages, fatalities or injuries as since April 2020, the NYPD does not respond or make reports for fender benders in New York City. Therefore the highest number of accidents reported in 2020 might also be the result of a higher amount of accident reports during the first 3 months of the year.
Bus accidents have been on the rise in the city over the last 3 years as more and more visitors return to the city
There were 3,615 bus accidents recorded by the NYPD in 2022 compared to 3,299 in 2021 and 2,788 in 2020.