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New York City has tools to reduce the recent increase in car accident fatalities but Albany has the control over them

car accident scene in ManhattanThere are multiple ways to reduce car accident deaths in New York City.  One of the most successful ones has been the implementation of speed cameras and red light cameras in the city and the lowering of the speed limit to 25mph. The camera program as well as the speed limit control are in the hands of the state legislature and governor in Albany and as a result, not only the city of New York has to seek re-authorization for its automated enforcement program every 4 years as Albany still considers them “demonstrations” but also the city has to beg Albany any time it wants to make a change to this program.

As car accident fatalities in New York City are reaching highs never seen since the beginning of Vision Zero,  street safety advocate organization Transportation Alternatives is recommending Albany to:

  • Immediately authorizing home rule for the City of New York to have control over life-saving automated enforcement programs and speed limits.
  • Passing the entire Crash Victims Bill of Rights and Safety Act to provide new tools for the City of New York to fight the rising crisis of traffic violence.

Albany only approved the installation of speed cameras in the city in school zone areas. Additionnally, these cameras only function during weekdays. Albany mandates cameras to be turned off for 8 hours every night and 48 hours during the week-end.  However if the city had the authority to turn on these camera 24h/7,  it would potentially save lives. The recently released Speed Camera Report found that 40% of the non-highway fatal car accidents in New York City occurred in speed camera zones when the cameras were turned off. Many of these accidents would have been prevented if the speed cameras were turned on.

Speeding is the cause of 80% of the deadly crashes in the city and according to a recent pole 68% of New Yorkers would like to see the speed limit lowered to 20 MPH in residential areas. 72% of New Yorkers also would like the city to be able to set its own speed limit.

Albany also controls the bus lane cameras program which has shown to be extremely effective and here again, New York City has no control over them.

By giving more control to the city over traffic safety rules, Albany can help reduce car accident fatalities in New York City.

Read the Transportation Alternatives report here