A total of 273 people lost their lives in traffic crashes in New York City last year, according to a study by street safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. As the Brooklyn Eaglereported last week, this made the 2021 deadliest year for traffic violence-related deaths, representing an increase of 33% since 2018. Transportation Alternatives’ study found that 73 people were killed in traffic violence just in the final three months of the year, and that a total of 1,885 were killed by car crashes since 2014.
In a statement about the data, Transportation Alternatives’ Executive Director said, “We cannot let another year go by with traffic violence killing a record number of New Yorkers.” He called for city leaders to redesign intersections, upgrade protected bike lanes, expand automated speeding enforcement, and establish more car-free spaces; he also called upon state lawmakers to pass transformative street safety legislation and expand automated speeding enforcement. “Nobody should fear death or injury as they move across our city,” he said.
At a national level, the Department of Transportation is launching an effort to “tackle rising fatalities using new funding in the $1 trillion infrastructure law,” according to a New York Times report last week. National trends reflect New York City’s tragic level of traffic fatalities, with 38,680 car crash deaths in 2020 and a continued spike in the first half of 2021 (national data is not yet available for the full year).
In order to make the nation’s streets safer, transportation officials pledged to coordinate with state and city authorities “address things like designing safer roads and reducing alcohol-impaired driving,” and to create rules that, among other things, would “require automatic emergency breaking technology in new passenger vehicles.” The Department will use funds provided by the recently passed infrastructure package.
In a statement to the New York Times, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said, “We’ve got to look at what’s working and lift up those communities and those jurisdictions that are doing the best job… The big first here is committing the department to the idea that only zero roadway deaths are acceptable, and then aligning all of our resources around that.”