Study: 88% of Cars Speeding In Brooklyn

Monday, June 17, 2013 - 03:59 PM


Speeding is rampant in Brooklyn, according to a new study from the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. When surveyors clocked the speed of passing cars on Brooklyn neighborhood streets, they found 88 percent were breaking the posted limit. 

Transportation Alternatives monitored traffic in four neighborhoods known for high rates of speeding -- Canarsie, Greenpoint, Midwood, and Bay Ridge. "

"Speeding is the number one cause of death in traffic," said TA's Juan Martinez.  "Speeding drivers kill more New Yorkers than drunk drivers and drivers on cell phones combined." 

The group chose to focus on Brooklyn because the borough had the highest number of traffic injuries: 23,058 in 2011, the latest available year with complete statistics. (Story continues after chart)

Brooklyn also has the largest population of any of New York's five boroughs, so when population is taken into account, the borough does not stand out much, trailing Staten Island by just a bit for highest injury rates per 100,000 residents. For fatalities, the Bronx is worst on a per capita basis (see interactive chart above with several viewing options). 

Still, speeding in Brooklyn appears to be a widespread practice.

"T.A. went out during morning and evening rush hours over the course of 10 days between September 2012 and April 2013. During peak morning travel periods, 28 percent, or 1 in 4 motorists, exceeded the speed limit by 10 mph or more. During peak evening hours, a slightly higher rate of 30 percent, or 1 in 3 motorists, traveled at speeds more than 10 mph over the limit." 

Transportation Alternatives tracked the number of tickets issued in all of 2011 by NY Police Department precincts in Brooklyn and found 2,028 speeding violations in Brooklyn’s neighborhood streets.  By contrast, the group found "2,232 speeding drivers in 12-hours in just four Brooklyn neighborhoods in 2012," as measured by the researchers. Those citation figures exclude the NYPD Highway Patrol unit summonses in Brooklyn, which focus on streets closed to pedestrians. 

The NYPD did not return a request for comment. 

The speeding study is part of a larger push by safety advocates and New York City officials to get traffic cameras installed around New York City. Speed cameras have local support but require approval from the state government. A bill authorizing NYC to test traffic cameras near schools is stalled in the NY State legislature. 



Comments [10]

Chang from NYC

Can it be compared to other counties like Nassau, Suffolk or Weschester?
Are there counting down signals in those areas since roads are very wide to cross?

Feb. 03 2014 05:42 AM
Mr Focus from oregon

@ Frank.

The fundamental flaw with your logic (and I understand the 85th percentile standard) is that drivers are making this assumption on what is safest for themselves, inside their 2 ton armored and motorized crumple zones. With zero regard for other road users.

This is why the 85th percentile rule is obsolete when engineering for complete streets.

Jun. 24 2013 02:01 PM

The speed limit in NYC is 30 MPH (unless otherwise posted).

Jun. 20 2013 01:48 PM
ai from brooklyn

Admittedly, I don't drive often or very far, but have NEVER seen posted speed limits to begin with. I can make reasonable deductions as to how fast I should go on certain streets, but maybe they should be regularly posted as a starting point..

Jun. 20 2013 10:00 AM
TOM from sunset park

DOT and TA must really be really be upset about Brooklyn CB#6 dumping the 4th Avenue plan. All this 'spin' being parachuted into the media just when CB#10 was to vote.

Jun. 18 2013 01:50 PM
Contributing_Factors from New York, NY

Speed is a contributing factor, easily policed by camera. It is disingenuous to attribute these all to one single factor. How many of the crashes leading to serious injury or fatality involved right-of-way violations and more than one vehicle?

Jun. 18 2013 11:38 AM
boof from brooklyn

Frank, how will raising the speed limit prevent traffic injuries?

You almost have it right -- one of the best ways to reduce the carnage caused by motor vehicles is to change the infrastructure to encourage lower speeds.

This is what is behind the success of separated bike lanes such as on Prospect Park west. That road has seen reduced injuries and crashes and reduced speeding while maintaining the same average speed for drivers -- the narrow roadway has greatly reduced the phenomenon of speeding to the next red light.

Jun. 18 2013 10:15 AM
Dan from Bushwick, Brooklyn

@Frank, so we should set speed limits based on how fast people drive and not what is safest? And if Brooklyn is a speed trap, how did my local precinct (the 83rd) issue only 8 speeding tickets in 2011? EIGHT. You have got to be kidding me. Meanwhile, proposals to re-engineer streets to calm traffic (such as 4th Avenue) continue to be shot down, thus encouraging continued dangerous driving habits.

Jun. 18 2013 10:15 AM

Coming from the bicycling community this is laughable. You a representing a group whose members consisently run red lights and blow through stop signs. The safest speed limit is the 85th percentile, which means the problem is that the speed limit is actually too low -- hence the 88% violation rate. The whole borough is basically a speed trap.

Jun. 17 2013 05:17 PM
boof from brooklyn

Motor vehicles will never be taken seriously as a mode of transportation if their operators to not learn to follow the traffic laws.

Jun. 17 2013 04:50 PM

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