Even though data shows there were 59 traffic fatalities in New York City in the first quarter of the year, the borough of Staten Island “did not record a single traffic death in January, February, or March,” according to a report by the Staten Island Advance. The report describes a New York Police Department pamphlet offering numerous tips for drivers to avoid deadly traffic accidents.
For instance: “Making a left turn can injure a pedestrian three times more often than if the vehicle was to turn right.” As the report notes, pedestrians are vastly more at risk of dying from car accidents than drivers—10 times more likely, to be precise. When drivers are operating their vehicles at unsafe speeds—above the 25 miles-per-hour speed limit in New York City, or 20 miles per hour in “Neighborhood Slow Zones”—crashes involving pedestrians are “twice as deadly.” In an interview with the Advance, Staten Island’s NYPD Assistant Chief said that pedestrians should be sure to cross in crosswalks, and that drivers should be careful when making left hand turns.
An April 2022 report by the Staten Island Advance noted that the borough is resisting the trend toward rising fatalities in New York City: whereas there were six traffic deaths on the island during the first three months of 2021, there were zero in the first three months of 2022. Data provided by safe streets advocacy group Transportation Alternatives shows that the most dramatic increases in traffic deaths in the city were in Queens, where they rose by 125%, and Manhattan, where they rose by 120%. Of the 59 deaths across the city, 29 were pedestrians, and most of the deaths occurred on the less than 10% of New York City streets with speed limits higher than 25 miles per hour.
In a statement about the rising traffic fatalities, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Transportation said, “The agency is working around the clock to increase the number of safety measures and eliminate traffic deaths in New York City,” according to the Staten Island Advance. Transportation Alternatives, meanwhile, said in a statement that “Our leaders must take steps immediately to save New Yorkers and prevent this year from turning into another record-breaking year for traffic fatalities.”