New York Traffic Deaths at All-Time Low; City Wants Even Lower
New York has seen record-low rates of traffic deaths, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has credited much of it to money the city has spent on safety improvement projects such as raising public awareness and implementing several safety programs.
N.Y. city officials recently installed 1,100 pedestrian countdown signals at crosswalks. The signals, which show pedestrians how long they have to cross a street, have been placed at high-injury intersections. In addition to these new traffic lights, other safety measures include the installation of pedestrian plazas and construction of bicycle lanes.
Statistics Tell the New York Traffic Safety Story
Comparing New York with other big cities and the country as a whole can serve as a good indicator of the success of these improvements. According to the Department of Transportation’s Pedestrian Safety Report, New York City’s traffic fatality rate is only one-fourth of the national rate. Compared with the other 10 largest cities in the country, N.Y.’s rate is less than half.
The Costs of Traffic Accidents — More Than Financial
In addition to saving lives, spending public money on traffic safety benefits the city’s economy. Traffic crashes cost N.Y. taxpayers more than $4 billion annually. This includes highway repair, law enforcement, firefighters, ambulances and a number of other expenses the city incurs when accidents happen.
Traffic accidents are costly not only for the city, but also for the people involved. Injured people incur emotional damages as well as financial expenses such as medical bills, lost wages and repair or replacement of vehicles. The families of those killed in traffic accidents incur the loss of support from the person who died, pain and suffering and, in some cases, the loss of companionship provided by the deceased.
N.Y. is considering other safety measures to keep the numbers down. For example, there already is a citywide speed limit of 30 mph, but the city is conducting studies to determine whether neighborhood 20 mph zones would help improve public safety. Also, New York’s Department of Transportation is implementing a program called Walk Ways to help schools develop walk-to-school routes to keep children who walk to school as safe as possible from motor vehicle traffic.
People injured in traffic accidents in New York can benefit from having an experienced personal injury attorney who knows the area well and can protect their rights.