NYPD Writing More Tickets for Dangerous Driving

Friday, April 18, 2014 - 12:56 PM

New York City police are writing more tickets citywide for the most serious traffic violations, according to a new WNYC analysis of police ticketing data. Targeting dangerous driver behavior is central to Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic deaths (pdf).

In 55 of the city’s 75 precincts*, officers wrote more tickets in the first quarter of the year, when compared to the start of last year. The tickets covered six key categories: using a cell phone while driving, disobeying a sign, failing to stop at a signal, making an improper turn, not giving right of way to a pedestrian, and speeding. Overall, ticketing in those categories was up across the city: 89,868 tickets in 2013, compared to 100,172 in 2014.

The biggest increase was in Sunset Park’s 72nd precinct, where officers wrote almost 80 percent more tickets in January, February, and March 2014 than in those months last year. The biggest drop was in Red Hook’s nearby 76th precinct, where ticketing fell by 32 percent. Ticketing was also down in the 24th precinct, which includes the Upper West Side neighborhood where three people were killed in January.  

*A data note: The 121st precinct in Staten Island was formed in July 2013 with portion of the 120th and 122nd precincts. In order to compare 2013 and 2014 data, WNYC has combined the current 120th, 121st and 122nd precincts.


Comments [12]

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Do you still think that no action should be taken on cyclists especially not having them licensed, registered, and insured?

Apr. 26 2014 05:11 PM
AMHess from Harlem

This is good news. Why do we accept behavior that makes our streets dangerous places, and then blame people who get hurt or killed for "placing themselves in harm's way?" There was a time when people operating dangerous machinery were expected to bear responsibility for operating it safely and looking out for everyone around them. (This is of course difficult to do at high speeds, which is why limits need to be lowered and streets redesigned to calm traffic.) I hope that Vision Zero will cause everyone to rethink the idea that streets are just dangerous and that's the way it is. We can hold drivers to a higher standard and make our streets safer for all of us who want to bicycle, walk, run and play.

Apr. 24 2014 03:54 PM
Leonard Steinbach from Forest Hills

As the frequency of citations for "dangerous driving" increases, I hope there is a follow up analysis of any related increase in rate of not guilty pleas/reversals and whether new enthusiasm for this enforcement finds any particular population groups feeling the brunt. Increased legitimate traffic enforcement is fine; a statistical race to the top by precincts, as we found out with crime reduction stats, may leave a lot of collateral damage in its wake.

Apr. 22 2014 06:03 AM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Sorry Bronx, but that still doesn't excuse your group from flouting laws, and I feel that your's deserves more than just a slap on the wrist while others get fined to death.

Apr. 21 2014 08:15 PM
Bronx from NYC

Tal Barzilai must fail to realize that the NYPD has limited resources and must focus enforcement based on the level of threat.

He also fails to realize that fining is a very effective way of instituting a norm.

Apr. 21 2014 05:42 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Ned, I don't condone reckless driving by any means. The only thing that makes me angry about this is the fact that you only want the police to focus on one group while almost turning a blind eye to all others. The truth is that when anyone flouts the laws on the road, they are placing themselves into harm's way. Keep in mind that there are accidents where no recklessness from the motorist has been found hence not being negligible for their actions. Nevertheless, this doesn't give pedestrians and cyclists a reason to break the laws themselves especially when a number of accidents had involved them not following the rules hence placing themselves into harm's way. As for lowering speed limits, I really find them to be more of a pr stunt than safety especially when the current speed limit is hardly being enforced. Meanwhile, cameras do almost nothing to help stop accidents because all the really do is just take a picture of the license plate and mail the owner the bill, and it's not like this alerts the police or sets up barriers to stop the reckless drivers, which shows how they are mainly for revenue purposes where safety is only secondary to this all. On a side note, I was applauded greatly at a town hall meeting based on Vision Zero for saying these things not that long ago.

Apr. 21 2014 12:47 PM
Al Cinamon from Yonkers

Maybe if the cops had made traffic violations a priority years ago, we would be at "zero" today.

Apr. 21 2014 09:13 AM


Sorry ,but I have to disagree. The point here actually is more one of effect, not cause. Consider for a moment, regardless of cause: What is the typical relative consequence of a pedestrian-car collision, versus a pedestrian-cyclist collision or a pedestrian-pedestrian collision? We don't have to go back to high school physics to know that the momentum of a 4,000 lb piece of metal being driven in excess of 25-30 mph is a very different thing from a 200 lb cyclist moving at even 20 mph. But just in case we do have to back to high school, let's also remember that for every doubling of the speed of a moving body (i.e. a car), the stopping distance will increase by FOUR TIMES. That's why the speed of motor vehicles, as it affects their momentum and driver-reaction-time/stopping distance, is EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS.

I agree that cyclists need to follow the law just like everyone else, but the costs of their illegal actions (or those of pedestrians, generally) pale in comparison, so let's be pragmatic rather than ideological here. I'd rather be pummeled to the ground by a fixed-gear bike messenger any day than find myself in the path of a yellow cab bumper.

For drivers of motor vehicles, with great power comes great responsibility. And most drivers (particularly the ones that speed, text, or otherwise distract themselves) just don't get it. We need to hold them to a higher standard.

But I completely agree that we also need to stop cyclists from blowing through traffic signals and riding the wrong way in a bike lane (my two pet peeves, and yes, I am a cyclist) if only to uncomplicate the terms of this debate and keep people like you from making such things into a distraction from the real issues.

Apr. 20 2014 06:36 PM
Bronx from NYC

I don't expect the NYPD to be effective when it comes to enforcing the speed limit, but where they could focus their assets is in identifying drunk drivers, distracted and reckless drivers.

Let the coming camera enforcement technology attack the speeding culture of NYC. With less than five camera, handicapped by ridiculous regulations like proximity to school entrances and hours, they have already issued thousands of tickets in a limited time. Blanket the city with such cameras and drivers will slow down or risk multiple fines.

Apr. 20 2014 04:28 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Barney, I said that comment out of sarcasm, but I guess you anti-car fanatics don't have a sense of humor. Nevertheless, your statement is both true and false. Unfortunately, like so many other anti-car fanatics, you zoom in only on the effects while not even mentioning the causes. What makes you think that every accident you mention involves reckless driving? There are those in the case where the motorist wasn't even being negligible, but the child nor their parents were even paying attention to the roads. Also, this is the result of placing one's self into harm's way. By your logic, then I guess that the Israel Defense Force must be way more of a terrorist organization than Hamas is because they kill less, and this is how the anti-Israel crowd uses their claims, which is exactly how you are doing it by using just the effects while ignoring the cause. BTW, when I said about how pedestrians and cyclists don't follow the laws and need to be stopped at a Vision Zero meeting, I was highly applauded by the audience rather than condemned.

Apr. 18 2014 06:47 PM
Barney from Brooklyn

Dear Tal, I think you're missing the point. Traffic safety is a gigantic problem in New York City. Did you know that it's the number one cause of preventable deaths for city kids? Unbelievable, right, that we, as a city, are letting our children be run over by reckless drivers?

What's more important cutting in front of another car to get ahead of them in traffic or someone's life? Here's another question: What's more important speeding around a corner, through a crosswalk or someone's life?

Cars kill 250-300 people a year and injured tens of thousands.

I'm glad Mayor de Blasio is making traffic safety a priority and am proud to live in a city where our leaders are saying enough is enough. The mayor's plan to eliminate traffic deaths in 10 years is the type of visionary goal that will drive policy decisions. After years of disinterest from the NYPD, I'm heartened to see Commissioner Bratton recognize that traffic safety is problem on par with other public safety issues around the boroughs.


Apr. 18 2014 04:28 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Of course, the anti-car fanatics over on Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives will be saying that it's not enough even though their groups get away with just about anything they do when it comes to flouting laws.

Apr. 18 2014 03:26 PM

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