Vision Zero Initiatives have helped decrease traffic accident deaths in New York City especially for pedestrians and bicyclists but the number of people injured in auto accidents during the first three months of the year has been on a rising trend. Distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents in the city and might be a factor leading to this high number of car accident injuries.
The number of motor vehicle accidents in New York City during the first semester stayed over 50,000 for the last 3 years. During the first trimester of 2018, 52,317 accidents were reported to the NYPD. Since 2013 the number of accidents in the City has been on a steady rising trend. From 46,438 during the first trimester of 2013, they reached a peak at 53,050 in the first trimester of 2016, slightly decreasing in the first trimester of 2017 and going slightly back up this year.
12,920 people were injured in these 52,317 accidents. This is the highest number of personal injuries related to traffic accidents in New York City during the first trimester of any year since Vision Zero started in 2013. 11,676 were injured in accidents during the first trimester of 2013. This number went down to 10,805 during the first trimester of 2014 and continued to decline to 10,069 for the same period of 2015. After that injuries went back up to respectively 11,939 and 12,608 for the first 3 months of 2016 and 2017.
Among the 12,920 people injured in traffic accidents in New York City between the beginning of January and the end of March 2018, 5,656 of them were motorists. That’s 44% of them.
The number of motorists injured during the first trimester of each year follows exactly the same pattern as the total number of road users injured during the same period of each year. However in 2013, 2014 and 2015 the number of motorists injured represented a little less than 35% of the total of traffic accident injuries while for the last 3 years they represented almost 45%. The increased number of accidents related to distracted driving accidents might be a factor.
The number of motor vehicle passengers injuries is on a slightly declining trend. Since Vision Zero started in 2014, the number of passengers injured in accidents during the first trimester of each year stayed below 4,000. It reached its lowest during the first 3 months of 2016 with 3,395 injuries. It increased slightly after that but globally the trend is still negative with 3,788 passengers injured in January, February and March 2018. That’s 30% of the total number of people injured in auto accidents during that period. For the same period of 2013, before vision zero, passengers injuries represented 35% of all traffic accident injuries.
Too many cyclists are getting hurt on the streets of New York City. During the first 3 months of 2018, 606 of them were injured in accidents compared to respectively 607, 643, 355, 399 and 510 during the first three months of respectively 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. During the first two years of Vision Zero the number of bicycle accident injuries dropped below 400. After that, it almost doubled and consistently stayed above 600 during the first trimester of the last 3 years. While Mayor de Blasio has been pushing for people to commute with their bicycle he should also make sure a special effort is being made to protect them. It is still extremely dangerous to ride a bike on daily basis in the city.
Since Vision Zero started, the number of pedestrian injuries during the first trimester of each year never went back above 3,000 like it was in 2013. However except for the first trimester of 2015 this number always stayed around 2800. During the first trimester of 2018, pedestrian injuries represented 22% of all traffic injuries during this period while they represented 26% of all injuries for the same period of 2013 and 24% for the three first month of 2015.
42 people died in a auto accident in New York City during the first trimester of 2018, compared to respectively 47, 46, 40, 51 and 69 for the first trimesters of 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Since Vision Zero started in 2014, the number of auto deaths never went back above 50 during the first three months of the year. The lowest number of deaths was recorded during the first trimester of 2015.
Sadly pedestrians are the road users that are the most at risk of dying in a car accident in the city. 26 of them died during the first 3 months of this year. That’s more than 60% of all auto accident deaths for this period of time. A lot has been done to protect pedestrians from dying in car accidents since 2013. During the first trimester of this year 44 pedestrians died in car accidents. This number was higher than the total number of traffic deaths for all categories of road users during the same period of time this year.
One cyclist died during the first trimester of 2018. 36 year old Steven Morales was pedaling to his job at Laguardia Airport when he was hit by a shuttle (see previous blog). The accident could have been avoided if the Port Authority would have followed through on its own plan to provide safe cycling access. In 2010 aware that more and more employees were using their bike to commute to work at Laguardia Airport, the Port Authority released it’s “Bicycle Master Plan” calling for bicycle lanes at two of the airport entrances. The plan was never implemented. If it would have, Morales might still be alive. As the city is encouraging people to take their bike to go to work it is primordial that efforts are being made to protect them from dying on the road.
2 passengers lost their life in a car accident in New York City between the beginning of January and the end of March. This is the same number as in 2016 and also the lowest number of passenger deaths recorded during a first trimester since Vision Zero started. The number of passenger deaths has been somewhat up and down and difficult to predict over the last years but it never went back to 9 where it was in 2013, before Vision Zero started.
15 motorists lost their life in auto accidents in New York City during the first trimester of 2018 compared to respectively, 8, 13, 8 ,15 and 15 during the first three months of 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents in New York City. While a lot of Vision Zero programs are being directed toward pedestrian safety, not enough is being done to prevent distracted driving. The number of motorists deaths for the first three months of this year is almost as high as in the first three months of 2013.