Vision Zero was launched in an attempt to reduce pedestrian and bicyclists deaths in NYC. However, in an unexpected twist, the program primarily helped in curbing motorists deaths.
Back in 2013 before Vision Zero started, 286 people died and 54,818 suffered personal injury in motor vehicle accidents in New York City. Among the 286 deaths were 168 pedestrians, many of them children and elderly. In New York City, car accidents have been the leading cause of child deaths for many years. According to statistics, two thirds of the children involved in fatal accidents were child pedestrians being struck by cars. Elderly are also at higher risk of being struck by cars in New York City, especially after sunset when the visibility is reduced.
When Bill de Blasio became Mayor on January 1st 2014, he pledged to change this situation and provide safe streets for New York families. Vision Zero was launched for this purpose in January 2014 and is still ongoing. The program includes various initiatives such as speed limit reduction, dangerous streets re-design and more forceful prosecution of traffic violations. Since the program started, the total number of traffic deaths gradually declined from 286 in 2013 before the program to 250 in 2014, 235 in 2015 and 223 in 2016. From the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2016, the total number of traffic deaths declined by 22% in New York City.