Pedestrian fatalities in NYC continue to rise even as 2016 comes to a close. More pedestrians were killed due to traffic accidents in our city this year than in 2015, according to The New York Post. This increase in pedestrian fatalities may have New Yorkers wondering: what is the city doing to reduce these deaths?
In 2015, there were 209 traffic fatalities, including 120 pedestrians, according to the NYP. This year, as of Nov. 28, there have been 204 traffic deaths, with pedestrian fatalities increasing by six to 126.
In order to reduce these fatalities, the city is ramping up on safety measures to protect its citizens, according to the NYP. Here are a few things that the NYC is doing to make the streets safer for pedestrians.
Step Up Holiday Sobriety Checkpoints
Drunk driving is a major issue when it comes to pedestrian fatalities, especially during the holiday season. 52 percent of deadly car accidents on Christmas Day and 57 percent of traffic fatalities on New Year's Eve are caused by impaired drivers, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
In order to prevent these accidents, the New York Police Department plans to step up sobriety checkpoints over the holidays, according to the NYP. There will be checkpoints in various areas of the city, as well as more random checks to catch impaired drivers.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill is also warning drivers to think ahead before deciding to drink and drive. “If you’re going to drink, call yourself a cab, get yourself home safely. A little pre-planning this holiday season will go a long way to keep everybody in New York City safe,” O’Neill said to Newsday.
Focus on Dangerous Intersections
Perilous intersections throughout the city have also contributed to a rise in pedestrian deaths. The worst intersections were near on and off ramps of major bridges and tunnels, according to a study conducted by a researcher at CUNY Baruch College.
The off ramp intersection of Tillary Street and Flatbush Avenue was deemed one of the most dangerous, with a total of 670 collisions over the last four years, according to Gothamist.
The NYPD plans to focus on these dangerous intersections by enforcing moving violations and launching TrafficStat, a tool used to map traffic crashes involving pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers, according to Gothamist. The device will also be available to the public so that citizens can stay aware of what the city is doing to reduce traffic accidents.
“We want the public to hold us accountable to the changes we have to make,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio during a press conference to unveil TrafficStat on Nov. 29.
“Dusk and Darkness” Initiative
With the end of daylight savings time, people may find it harder to see on the streets. The earlier sunset and darkness hours have been linked to an increase in the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured by vehicles, according to the New York Department of Transportation.
In 2015, there were 30 fatalities after the daylight savings time ended, according to the New York Times. To prevent any deaths from occurring this year, the de Blasio administration announced the “Dusk and Darkness” safety campaign, with increased police enforcement between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
The initiative has seen results since beginning in October, with the NYPD issuing more than 50,000 summonses for hazardous moving violations, according to the NYP.
What Can I Do to Stay Safe on the Street?
While the city works to improve pedestrian safety, you can also get involved by doing your part. Remember to always stay aware of your surroundings and cross the street at designated crosswalks. Don’t wear headphones while crossing the street and be sure to put your phone away to help eliminate distractions. If walking at night, stay in well-lit areas and wear lightly colored or reflective clothing.
However, even by doing everything right when walking on city streets, accidents can still occur. If you or a loved one were injured due to a driver’s negligence, we can help. Read more to learn what our car accident attorneys in New York can do for you. If you are ready to pursue a claim, fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form today.