11 pedestrians and 1 bicyclist died in auto accidents in New York City last March. In March 2013, before the Zero Vision campaign was launched 11 pedestrians and 1 bicyclist were also killed in traffic accidents in the city. After a promising start in 2014, the Vision Zero program seems to have lost some of its effectiveness.
After declining to 15,553 last February, the lowest level over 4 years, the number of motor vehicle accidents in New York City jumped back to 19,055 in March 2017.
Traffic accidents are continuing to increase steadily in the city as do the number of injuries related to these accidents. However despite a rising trend, the number of auto accident injuries in March 2017 was slightly lower than in March 2016 but higher than in March 2015, 2014 and 2013 (see graph below).
16 people died in traffic accidents last March in the city compared to 11 in March 2016 and 12 in March 2015. Over the first 3 months of 2017, 47 people died in NYC motor vehicle accidents compared to respectively 46, 40, 51 and 69 for the same period of 2016, 15, 14 and 13. After traffic deaths dropped gradually from 69 in the first trimester of 2013 to 51 during the first 3 months of the Vision Zero program in 2014 and 40 during the same period of 2015, they started to increase again over the first trimester of the last two years. These recent numbers are a reminder that Vision Zero can not be just made of temporary campaigns but that a continuous effort is required to keep the NYC streets safe.
Pedestrians are the most at risk of dying in traffic accidents. Among the 16 people who died in NYC traffic accidents in March, 11 of them were pedestrians, 2 were passengers and 2 were driving their vehicle at the time of the accident. When it comes to injuries, NYC drivers are the most at risk of getting injured in a car accident followed by passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists. After dropping below 4000 in February, the number of people injured in auto accidents was above 4000 again in March. During this period, 1914 people were injured in an accident that occurred when they were driving their vehicle, 1296 when they were a passenger. Additionally 946 pedestrians and 219 bicyclists were injured after being hit by another vehicle.
It is difficult to explain why there is such an increase of people being injured while driving their car in New York City while the number of passengers injured has been steadily declining. Distracted driving may be a factor. It is the number one cause of car accidents in the city.
The number of pedestrians injured in NYC vehicle accidents during the month of March is back above 900. It is significantly above the trend-line in the graph below and unusually high for the month of March. After decreasing from 990 in March 2013 to 952 in March 2014 and 786 in March 2015 it went back up to 870 in March 2016 and 946 in March 2017, close to the level recorded before Vision Zero. The trend is still on the decline but it is getting flatter and flatter lately. A similar observation can be made when looking at the pedestrian deaths trend which is almost flat. Pedestrian deaths are back to the level they were in March 2013 before the Vision Zero Program was initiated. After stabilizing at 11 in March 2014, pedestrian deaths decreased by almost half in March 2015 and continued to slowly decline in March 2016. They jumped right back up to 11 in March 2017.
There were less bicycle accidents in New York City this March compared to March 2016 but more than in March 15 , March 14 and March 13 before Vision Zero started. Injuries related to these accidents followed a similar pattern. Bicycle accident injuries were down in March 2017 compared to March 2016 but higher than in March 2015, 2014 and 2013. It is the first time since Vision Zero was initiated that someone died in a bicycle accident in March. During the 3 previous years no bicycle accident deaths were recorded during the month of March.
After recording a peak at 170 last March, the number of motorcycle accidents in New York City in March 2017 were also back to the level recorded before the Vision Zero Campaign started.
There were 683 bus accidents in New York City in March 2017 compared to respectively 659, 743, 572 and 523 in March 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Since 2013 they have been steadily rising.
Truck accidents jumped from 1196 in February 2017 to 1571 in March 2017. This may be somewhat explained by seasonal factors such as the increase of activities on construction sites now that the weather is getting nicer.