NYPD Cracks Down on Speeding, Safety Activists Applaud

Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 12:15 PM

The New York Police Department issued 736 tickets for speeding over the weekend in what it called a "speed enforcement initiative." It is unclear if this marks a shift in traffic policing policy, or a one-off effort. 

The NYPD said "there were 266 summonses issued in Queens, 213 in the Bronx, 113 in Brooklyn, 97 in Manhattan and 47 in Staten Island."

Safety advocates have long criticized the NYPD for not focusing enforcement on the traffic violations most likely to lead to injury and death: speeding and not yielding to pedestrians. The implication is that speeding goes unchecked. 

"Transportation Alternatives applauds the NYPD's groundbreaking speeding enforcement initiative," the organization said in an email. 

We've asked the NYPD if more of these crackdowns are planned, or if there will be more routine speeding enforcement initiatives. It's also unclear at this point if the tickets were issued on highways, with a 50 mile-per-hour limit, or on local streets where pedestrians are the ones threatened by speeding. The NYPD has quietly shifted toward other policies that safety advocates have been requesting, including beefing up the division that investigates crashes, now renamed the Collision Investigation Squad, formerly the Accident Investigation Squad -- a name, critics say, implied that car crashes are unavoidable. 

As we've reported before, speeding is the most deadly traffic violation in New York City, according to DMV data. The NYPD issued more than 71,000 speeding tickets last year. Yet one study found that 88 percent of cars were speeding in Brooklyn.

The oft-cited statistic of safety advocates and city officials alike is that a pedestrian struck by a vehicle going 40 miles-per-hour has an 80 percent chance of dying, while a pedestrian hit by a car traveling at 30 miles-per-hour has a 70 percent of surviving. This is partly why the city speed limit is 30 miles per hour on local streets. 

Over the years, NYC streets have become considerably safer, with fatalities down 30 percent over the past decade. But when injuries and crash deaths ticked up last year, speeding was the top culprit.




Comments [2]

Chang from NYC

"Fatalities down 30% over the decade" According to statistical graph on, significant reduction more than 30% is in the segment of motor vehicle occupants not that of pedestrians.
Over the decade, 30% down record in NYC can be compared to that in NY state or US? I'm guessing NYC record could be similar. That means down record in NYC is correlated to NYC performance but not necessarily is resulted by it. Causes can be gas price more than doubled or car purchasing decline due to economy or seat belt mandate and air bag technology or just too congested too slow.
If this conjecture is true, it leaves conclusion that pedestrians fatalities are not reduced significantly or the rate of reduction is correlated to that of motor vehicle occupants as it shows on the site above "speeding top culprit".
To be continued with More analysis.

Feb. 03 2014 03:17 AM
TOM from Brooklyn

The posted speed limit for all NYC was re-set from 'horse n' buggy' speed of 20mph in 1934 to 25mph so the NYPD wouldn't have to arrest half the NYC drivers(that what they said). The State legislature moved it up to 30mph in the 60's without City approval(that's worth a look), and there it has remained.

Deaths & Injuries are down every year since which means drivers/cars/roads have improved, are better and safer. Arterial road speeds are being re-set(see West Street) without protest and not according to NYC DOT mantras. Maybe after 50 years it's time to look again. Certainly limit-access-highway speed should not be set at 'speed trap' limits so as to entice speeders to get off the local streets. When NYC DOT's own speed-camera data show 100% of drivers 'speeding' on some local roads it's also time to take a look there.

Oct. 18 2013 08:43 PM

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