29 people died in car accidents in New York City last June bringing the total number of car accident fatalities in the city to 111 for the first sixth months of 2016. These numbers are higher than last year when 20 people were killed in NYC car accidents in June and a total of 107 vehicle accidents fatalities were recorded for the first semester. At the end of 2015 Mayor de Blasio was proud to announce that the number of NYC fatal car accidents was at its lowest thanks to the many initiatives launched in the city under the Vision Zero program .
So what went wrong in 2016? A report recently released by Transportation Alternative is pointing fingers at the NYPD and said they are getting Vision Zero data wrong. Transportation Alternatives conducted an in-depth analysis of the NYPD traffic enforcement practices and discovered that the NYPD hasn’t committed to use appropriate policing to deter the most deadly driving violations: failing to yield and speeding. Transportation Alternatives also found out that there are no clear plans in regards to participating in the Zero Vision program and that the allocations of resources is not based on street conditions.
In its report, Transportation Alternatives especially criticizes the attitude of the NYPD towards bicyclists. While 12 of the 14 fatal bicycle accidents that occurred this year were caused by negligent vehicle drivers, the police still continue emphasis on minor cyclists violations rather than going after reckless drivers endangering bicyclists. Transportation Alternatives recommends that initiatives like Bicycle Safe Passage be a norm rather than a temporary police blitz.
Among the 20 people who died in NYC traffic accidents these first 6 months, 16 of them were pedestrians and bicyclists killed by motorists who didn’t yield. Many of them were hit and run drivers who left their victims dying in the street. Despite these horrifying numbers, The NYPD is still slacking at enforcing the Right of Way Law and taking enforcement actions on hit and run accidents required by law.
Precincts that have issued a high number of summonses for failure to yield and speeding have all seen a significant decrease in death and injuries related to traffic accidents. Unfortunately not every precinct is putting resources into ticketing reckless drivers. Rather in some precincts the concentration is on ticketing drivers for tainted windows. Precincts that have seen the highest rate in fatal accidents are also the ones that have focused the less on punishing reckless drivers. Transportation Alternative also recommend a more top down approach as inconsistency prevails among precincts.