84 people including 49 pedestrians, 6 cyclists, 3 vehicle passengers and 26 vehicle drivers died in traffic accidents in New York City during the first semester. This is the lowest number of traffic deaths ever recorded in the city during the first six months of the year. Last year 96 people died in traffic accidents during the same period. It was the first time that the number of traffic deaths was below 100 for the first six months of the year.
While less and less people are dying in auto accidents in the city, more and more are getting injured. 28,544 people suffered injury in a crash during the first semester of 2018 compared to 27,923 during the same period of the previous year and respectively 27,540, 23,530, 24,508 and 26,119 during the first semester of 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.
As part of the Vision Zero initiative, the speed limit in the city went down to 25 mph in 2014. This speed limit decrease may have been a factor in the reduction of traffic deaths and in the increase of injuries. Accidents at lower speed may prevent road users from dying, instead they are getting injured.
Drivers are the most at risk of being injured in a car accident followed by passengers.
Despite the introduction of Vision Zero, the number of crashes in New York City has been been unusually high over the last 3 years. Statistics indicate that the number one cause of accident in the city is distracted driving. The usage of cellphones or other electronic devices while driving may explain the high number of motor vehicle accidents recorded over the last 3 years.
Pedestrians are the road users the most at risk of dying in crashes. Therefore a lot of Vision Zero initiatives were dedicated to protect them. Before Vision Zero, 72 pedestrians died in traffic accident between January 2013 and June 2013. After Vision Zero was launched, this number went down to 60 in 2014, 54 in 2015, 56 in 2016 and 49 in both 2017 and 2018.
After reaching a low at 4,696 during the first six months of 2015, the number of pedestrians injured in crashes in NYC during that same period of time went back up to around 5,200 for the last 3 years. Just like the total number of crashes, the total number of injuries has been plateauing at the same high level for the last 3 years. Over the last 3 years New Yorkers drove at lower speeds in the city but they were also more distracted which as a result might have lead to less pedestrian deaths but still a significant number of them getting injured.
Bicycling has been booming in the city over the last few years. The development of the bike share service Citi Bike and the creation of bike lanes all over the city encouraged more and more New Yorkers as well as visitors to use bicycles as a transportation mode. It still can be dangerous to ride in the city but the many safety measures recently implemented as part of the Vision Zero program have lead to a decrease in both cyclists deaths and cyclists injuries during the first semester of 2018. 6 cyclists died during that period of time compared to respectively 9, 11, 5, 7 and 6 in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. The number of people injured in bicycle accidents in the city also went below 1,800 for the first time in 3 years.
The total number of bicycle accidents recorded between January 1st 2018 and June 30 2018 in NYC was also lower than the total number of bicycle accidents recorded during that same period of 2017 and 2016 but still higher than during the same period of 2013, 2014 and 2015. The streets of New York were globally safer for bicyclists during the first six months of the year with a ratio deaths/accidents at its second lowest level over the last 6 years. Lets’s hope it will last!
Bus accidents slightly declined and stayed below 4,000 for the second consecutive year during the first semester of 2018 while the number of truck accidents plateaued at a dangerously high level during the same period.