The city has been seeing a steady decline of pedestrian deaths since Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative— a public safety campaign aimed at improving street safety and decreasing traffic crashes. On Monday, Mayor de Blasio announced that in 2017, New York City experienced the fewest traffic fatalities on record and witnessed a 32 percent decline in pedestrian fatalities.
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports a 13 percent increase in traffic fatalities nationwide between 2013 and 2016, the city has seen lower pedestrian fatalities and lower traffic fatalities overall. From 2013 to 2017, all traffic deaths are down by 28 percent and pedestrian deaths are down 45 percent during the same timeframe.
“Vision Zero is working. The lower speed limit, increased enforcement, and safer street designs are all building on each other to keep New Yorkers safe,” said Mayor de Blasio in a press release. “Now we must deepen this work. Not even a single tragedy on our streets is acceptable, and we’ll keep fighting every day to protect our people.”
The city reports that last year, there were 214 traffic fatalities, of which 101 were pedestrian deaths. In 2016, there were 231 total fatalities, with 148 being pedestrians. The Department of Transportation and the NYPD also report that there was one fatality among school-aged pedestrian children, the fewest ever in the city for children under 17. All boroughs, apart from Brooklyn, saw fewer traffic deaths and Queens experienced the fewest fatalities ever.
In an increased Vision Zero push, the city kicked off a series of new safety and road improvement projects last year that included the installation of 25 miles of protected bike lanes, continuing the redesign of Queens Boulevard, and adjusting traffic signal phases to align with the city’s 25 MPH speed limit.