Streams

 

Traffic Deaths

WNYC News

Mean Streets 2014: Who We Lost, How They Lived

Monday, February 09, 2015

WNYC
Some 265 people died in traffic crashes in New York City last year. Here are some of their stories. 

Comments [6]

Transportation Nation

Ask Transportation Nation Anything - on Reddit Now

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Transportation Nation's Kat Aaron and WNYC Data News producer Jenny Ye are doing a reddit AMA ("Ask Me Anything") today at 11 a.m. ET on when and why traffic deaths happen in NYC.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

New York Has Sixth-Lowest Rate of Pedestrian and Cyclist Deaths

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cities with lower fatality rates were Boston, Seattle, Washington DC, Colorado Springs and San Francisco.

Read More

Comments [3]

The Brian Lehrer Show

Tracking NYC's Traffic Deaths

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's the year of "Vision Zero" but in 2014 there have already been 46 traffic deaths, from bikers to pedestrians to drivers and passengers. WNYC reporters Jim O'Grady and Kat Aaron talk about the new Transportation Nation database, tracking these deaths, and Jim's reporting on one victim -- four-year-old Allison Liao, struck by a car in Flushing, Queens.

Comments [38]

Transportation Nation

D.C. Speed Cameras Reducing Crashes: Study

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WAMU

D.C.'s speed cameras are successfully slowing down drivers and reducing crashes and related injuries, according to a study of 87 existing camera locations by the District Department of Transportation.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

New York's Scariest Streets for Pedestrians

Thursday, February 06, 2014

A new report finds that Broadway in Manhattan is New York City's deadliest street for pedestrians.

Read More

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

Incoming NYPD Commissioner Promises Emphasis on Traffic Fatalities

Thursday, December 05, 2013

WNYC

"It is ironic that even as the death totals have declined dramatically with violent crime in this city, this year the number of people killed on our streets - pedestrian and traffic -- will almost equal the homicide total," said New York City's once and future police commissioner on Thursday.

Read More

Comments [4]

Transportation Nation

Study: Cities Safer than Countryside -- Because Car Crashes Deadlier Than Guns

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

WNYC

Do big cities have an undeserved reputation for danger? A new study says when all types of fatal injuries are considered, you're 20 percent more likely to die from injury in most rural areas than in urban ones.

Read More

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

U.N.: Over 1 Million Die In Traffic Crashes Each Year - and Many Are in Poor Countries

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The World Health Organization says 1.24 million people die each year as a result of traffic crashes, which are the leading cause of death for people between 15 and 29.

The Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013, released Thursday, also estimates crashes injure between 20 and 50 million people each year.

Worldwide, the report says pedestrians and cyclists constitute 27% of all road deaths. But "in some countries this figure is higher than 75%, demonstrating decades of neglect of the needs of these road users in current transport policies, in favour of motorized transport."

(The above video, which has hair-raising footage of schoolchildren crossing roads in developing countries, provides ample visual evidence of this.)

There's also a strong link between income and road deaths. While wealthier countries have made progress, the toll is rising elsewhere. "91% of the world's fatalities on the roads occur in low-income and middle-income countries, even though these countries have approximately half of the world's vehicles."

(Read TN's report on the link between income and pedestrian fatalities in Newark, NJ)

from the "Global Status Report on Road Safety"

Africa has the highest death rate per 100,000 residents — 24.1, compared with 16.1 in North and South America. The European Region has the highest inequalities in road traffic fatality rates, with low-income countries having rates nearly three times higher than high-income countries (18.6 per 100 000 population compared to 6.3 per 100 000). The Western Pacific and South East Asia regions have the highest proportion of motorcyclist deaths.

The report says the first step to reducing traffic mortality is a group of laws aimed at drinking and driving, speeding, and failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints. Currently, only 28 percent of countries -- covering 7 percent of the world's population -- have laws addressing all of these factors.

Other steps are making road infrastructure safer, ensuring vehicles meet international crash testing standards, and improving post-crash care.

The report was funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable arm of Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City.

Read the entire report below.

Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

After Spate of Traffic Deaths, NYPD Surfaces Long Sought Reforms

Monday, March 11, 2013

(Photo CC by Flickr user swruler9284)

It has been a grisly few weeks for traffic safety in New York City. At the end of last month, a six-year old boy was run over by a truck in Harlem on his walk to school. Days later, a young couple in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was killed in the back seat of a taxi cab destroyed by a speeding ex-con. And today, a car jumped the curb in Long Island City Queens, hitting five pedestrians, and killing a teenager.

It's an apt time to announce a plan, apparently long in the works, to reform how the NYPD handles traffic crashes. The changes were outlined in a letter to the City Council dated March 4th, a day after six-year old Amar Diarrassouba was buried, and while Julio Acevedo was still on loose, wanted for the hit and run that killed Raizy and Nathan Glauber and their child-to-be in Williamsburg.

The roots of the new NYPD policies date back at least a year, to the last time traffic safety was top news in the tabloids. Last February the City Council held a hearing on traffic safety in which NYPD brass were grilled for several hours on all manner of policy, procedures and statistics. Grieving parents slung angry accusations at the Department for failing to adequately investigate their childrens' deaths. 

So a year later, just as a second swelling of grief and anger was taking shape in the form of petitions circulating and reporters renewing requests for safety data, the NYPD sent a letter to to City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca that outlines a considerable expansion of police resources toward traffic safety, just about exactly what advocates had called for a year ago, and were likely to demand afresh.

The NYPD will expand the number of traffic cases it will closely examine, add new officers for enforcement and prevention of crashes, and implement new and additional training for officers who conduct collision investigations.

"Any of these on their own would have been a huge step forward for road safety," said Juan Martinez of Transportation Alternatives, one of the most vocal groups calling for the changes. "Taken together, it's a banner day."

In a symbolic move, the Department will also change the name of the unit that investigates traffic crashes from the Accident Investigation Squad to the Collision Investigation Squad, because, "in the past the term "accident" has given the inaccurate impression or connotation that there is no fault or liability," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly wrote in the letter.

The NYPD has consistently been criticized for not treating traffic collisions seriously enough in the eyes of safety advocates and family members of victims of crashes. About 250 people die in traffic crashes each year in New York City, almost as many as killed by guns. In most cases of traffic deaths, there is no criminality because of how traffic law is written. Enhanced investigations are often cited as necessary for establishing criminality or more frequently, essential for evidence for civil lawsuits brought by victims.

In the letter, dated March 4th, Kelly outlines the changes to the NYPD traffic crimes policies, many of them already quietly implemented. The most dramatic is a shift in which collisions will be closely investigated by the Accident Investigation Squad's specially trained detectives.

As we reported, before the new policies, the AIS had just 19 investigators and responded only to crashes where someone was killed or was deemed "likely to die" by a medical professional. That meant that many crashes resulting in serious non-fatal injury, such as the loss of a limb, were not handled by AIS, instead by local precincts who perform less rigorous investigations. The policy also meant that cases that resulted in deaths were sometimes not investigated immediately because the victim was not deemed "likely to die" at the scene. That's what happened in the cases of Clara Heyworth and Stefanos Tsigrimanis, neither of which resulted in criminal charges.

Tsigrimanis, a 29 year old musician, was struck while riding his bike. He sustained a severe head injury and was in a coma later that day, but was not deemed likely to die in the emergency room, so local precinct officers investigated, not the AIS who are specially-trained  in gathering evidence from a traffic crash crime scene -- such as how to reconstruct an accident based on skid marks or from the locations of vehicle debris. Tsigrimanis died three days after the crash, but no photos were taken of the scene under the less rigorous investigation, and by the time AIS did respond, after Tsigrimanis' death, it was too late to collect some evidence. No charges were filed against the driver.

That type of case will now get full AIS attention from the start under the new policies. Police will send the AIS (soon to be renamed the Collision Investigation Squad) to cases  where "an individual involved in a collision has sustained a critical injury" that "will be defined as a patient either receiving CPR, in respiratory arrest, or requiring or receiving life sustaining ventilator or circulatory support," according to the letter.

The patrol guide has already been "substantially revised" to reflect these changes, and to better guide officers who first arrive at a crash scene when to call notify AIS to come to investigate.

"Too many traffic collisions have been overlooked because the City hasn't collected the data it needs to hold people accountable and to intervene to prevent future crashes," said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn who added, the NYPD is implementing reforms that "will keep our streets safer."

It is not clear exactly how many additional collisions this new policy will encompass or the additional workload it will mean for the AIS. NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

According to the the New York DMV there were 252 fatal crashes in NYC in 2011, the latest year on record. There were 2,942 "serious" injury crashes, which could be as minor as a broken limb. The new NYPD policy is more likely to mean hundreds of additional crashes will be closely investigated, not thousands more.

To handle the additional workload, the NYPD has already made staffing changes and is "in the process of increasing both the overall uniformed headcount of the Highway District as well as the number of investigators assigned to AIS," according to the letter.

Commissioner Kelly noted this policy change is only possible because the number of fatal crashes has decreased considerably over the past decade.

"I am pleased that the NYPD is taking this first step towards tackling the serious issue of traffic crashes," Council member Brad Lander said in a statement. Lander was the lead sponsor of the Crash Investigation Reform Act of 2012 that called for changes of this type of change. That bill called for a task force on traffic safety.

 

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Report Finds 10 Most Dangerous Roads in NYC Area for Pedestrians, "Arterial" Are Worst

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nassau County Pedestrian Fatalities, 2009-2011

Fourteen pedestrians died along Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County, NY from 2009 through 2011. That's almost one fatality for each mile of road, a morbid statistic that earned that 16-mile stretch the dubious distinction of the most dangerous road in the NYC area according to an analysis by a transportation policy watchdog group.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign crunched traffic data numbers from 2009-2001 for the New York City area, including suburbs in Long Island (which includes Nassau County), New Jersey and Connecticut. According to a report issued by the Campaign today, one type of road stands out as particularly dangerous for pedestrians. 

"The analysis found that arterial roads – roads with two or more lanes in each direction that are designed to accommodate vehicle speeds of 40 mph or higher – are the most deadly for pedestrians, with almost 60 percent of pedestrian deaths in Connecticut, New Jersey and downstate New York occurring on this type of road.

“Arterials were traditionally designed to move vehicles from one destination to the next without regard for other road users like pedestrians and bicyclists. We continue to see that designing roads like this results in needless loss of life,” said Renata Silberblatt, report author and staff analyst with the Campaign."

For a full list of the 10 most dangerous roads according to the report, scroll down. For maps and lists by county, go here.

In the report, the Campaign praised governmental agencies for taking steps to redesign dangerous corridors.

State complete streets laws exist in New York and Connecticut and the New Jersey DOT endorsed a complete streets policy in 2009. In addition, over 40 municipal and county governments in the tri-state region have adopted complete streets policies. These local policies will help ensure that the roadways under local and county jurisdiction are designed and redesigned with all users – pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists in mind.

In 2012, the New York State Department of Transportation began pedestrian safety improvements along Hempstead Turnpike, also known as Route 24.

“We have seen again and again that relatively low-cost improvements such as the improvements being done to Hempstead Turnpike can save lives,” said Veronica Vanterpool, Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s executive director. "“We applaud NYSDOT’s attention to Hempstead Turnpike," she added in an emailed statement.

According to the statement, the improvements include "eight raised medians and five new crosswalks, as well as relocating six bus stops closer to crosswalks and altering traffic signals to calm traffic."

The report recommends increased spending on Safe Routes to School, Safe Routes to Transit and Safe Routes for Seniors programs, and promotes "complete streets" laws that require the inclusion of pedestrian and cyclist concerns in street planning and redesigns.

"Recent improvements to New York’s most dangerous roadways are very encouraging and AARP is hopeful that this report will instill a sense of urgency to make even more improvements where necessary," said Will Stoner, associate state director for AARP in New York in a statement.

The report uses the latest data available in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

The 10 most dangerous roads in the NYC Tri-State Area

Rank Change in Ranking (Prior Year's Rank) Road Pedestrian Fatalities (2009-2011)
1 - SR-24 (HEMPSTEAD TPKE,FULTON AVE),Nassau County,NY 14
2 - BROADWAY,Manhattan,NY 12
3 ↑ (6) SR-25 (JERICHOTPKE,MIDDLE COUNTRY RD),Suffolk County,NY 11
4 ↑ (6) SR-27 (SUNRISEHWY),NassauCounty, NY 9
4 ↑ (6) SR-110 (NEW YORK AVE,BROADHOLLOW RD, BROADWAY),Suffolk County,NY 9
4 ↑ (14) US‐322/40 (Blackhorse Pike),Atlantic County,NJ 9
4 ↓ (3) US-130 (BURLINGTON PIKE),Burlington County,NJ 9
4 ↑ (6) ROUTE 1,Middlesex County,NJ 9
9 ↓ (3) SR-27 (SUNRISEHWY,MONTAUK POINT STATE HWY, CR 39),Suffolk County,NY 8
9 ↑ (26) US-30 (WHITE HORSE PIKE),Camden County,NJ 8
9 new ROUTE 9,Middlesex County,NJ 8

 

Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

NY City Council Summons Police on Traffic Crime Investigations

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ghost bike along the Hudson River bike path (photo by Kate Hinds)

The City Council is holding a joint hearing Wednesday to determine if the NYPD is thoroughly investigating traffic crashes following a number of high profile cases involving cyclists being killed or injured by vehicles that did not result in criminal charges.

The most noteworthy case was the death of Mathieu Lefevre in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, last October. A truck making a right turn struck Lefevre then dragged him and his bike almost halfway down the block. From evidence released after Lefevre's parents filed a Freedom Of Information request, it appears as though the truck hit Lefevre twice, kept driving and parked nearby. When identified later by police, the driver said he didn't know he hit anyone. No charges were filed.

"I would like to know police enforcement policies in terms of bike safety and truck enforcement,” Council public safety committee chair Peter Vallone told WNYC. Vallone said he gets consistent complaints from constituents about trucks breaking the laws without receiving tickets, and on lapse police follow up to traffic crashes.

Police did not respond to requests to clarify their policy on investigations. Sources said they were concerned police only investigate traffic crashes if there is a death or a police witness.

But based on a review of incomplete data available to transportation safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, the group’s general counsel and policy analyst Juan Martinez said, "if you don’t leave the scene and you’re not drunk, there’s almost no chance you’ll be charged."

Martinez's group advocated for Haley and Diego's Law which was billed as a crackdown on careless drivers. The statute took effect in 2010 and could be used to bring charges in cases where no clear traffic law was violated, but the driver is at fault.

Steve Vaccaro is the Lefevre family's lawyer. He says Haley's law could allow for charging the truck driver. "Given the facts here, that the driver somehow managed to run over the cyclist with his front driver-side wheel, and drag the cyclist for 40 plus feet… and his bike," he said, "we think it is unlikely that the driver didn’t notice."

Read More

Comments [4]

Transportation Nation

More New Yorkers Die in Traffic Than are Killed by Guns--And That's Best in the Country

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

NYC intersection with pedestrian island and bike lane. (Photo by: NYC DOT)

(New York, NY - WNYC)  A New Yorker is killed every 35 hours in a traffic crash, according to a new report.That's more than are killed by guns.

Domestically, that's not a bad record. New York has fewer road fatalities per capita than any other large U.S. city, according to the city DOT.  But in European cities, like Paris and Berlin, the fatality rate is one half of New York's.

The report by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives and the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy is pushing for a goal of zero traffic fatalities.

Transportation Alternatives Spokesman Michael Murphy says it's time to catch up with European cities. "For us to pat ourselves on the back to have reduced traffic fatalities as much as we have is to say that those remaining hundred to three hundred people a year who are dying is acceptable," he said. "It's absolutely not."  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan frequently tout New York's diminishing traffic fatality rate as a sign of success of their street redesign initiatives.

The Transportation Alternatives/DMI report says most of those killed in accidents are pedestrians, and the majority of deaths are caused by speeding cars on wide roadways like Queens Boulevard. A separate study, by Tri-State Transportation Campaign, says senior citizens are most at risk.

DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow told Transportation Nation that the city has already launched anti-speeding campaigns, added countdown signals to hundreds of intersections and re-engineered streets to make them safer for children and seniors. "You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that safety is the most important priority for this agency," he said. "We will not stop in our efforts until we make our streets safe for all New Yorkers."

Transportation Alternatives and the DOT do agree on what to do next. Both favor street calming measures like curb extensions, pedestrian islands, and bike lanes. Here's the DOT's pedestrian safety plan.

That doesn't mean it's going to happen. Those measures have been criticized by some elected officials for impeding vehicular traffic, and some critics say pedestrian islands and other calming measures can block emergency vehicles.

A report by advocacy group Transportation Alternatives says a New Yorker is killed every 35 hours in a traffic crash. That's more than are killed by guns.

Domestically, that's not a bad record. New York has fewer road fatalities per capita than any other large U.S. city, according to the city DOT.  But in European cities, like Paris and London, the fatality rate is one half of New York's.

Transportation Alternatives Spokesman Michael Murphy says it's time to catch up. "For us to pat ourselves on the back to have reduced traffic fatalities as much as we have is to say that those remaining hundred to three hundred people a year who are dying is acceptable," he said. "It's absolutely not."

The report says most of those killed in accidents are pedestrians, and the majority of deaths are caused by speeding cars on wide roadways like Queens Boulevard. A separate study, by Tri-State Transportation Campaign, says senior citizens are most at risk.

DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow told WNYC that the city has already launched anti-speeding campaigns, added countdown signals to hundreds of intersections and re-engineered streets to make them safer for children and seniors. "You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that safety is the most important priority for this agency," he said. "We will not stop in our efforts until we make our streets safe for all New Yorkers."

Transportation Alternatives and the DOT do agreed on what to do next. Both favor street calming measures like curb extensions, pedestrian islands and bike lanes.

That doesn't mean it's going to happen. Those measures have been criticized by some elected officials for impeding vehicular traffic, and some critics say pedestrian island and other calming measures can block emergency vehicles.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Traffic Deaths Drop, DC Metro needs more whistleblowers, and 8 weird transpo devices

Friday, September 24, 2010

Decrease in traffic deaths nationwide, and Florida has the country's largest drop. But why? (Florida Times-Union)

California's budget stalemate has put $3.9 billion in transportation funding on hold. (San Jose Mercury News)

DC Metro safer than last year, but needs more whistleblowers. (Washington Post)

General Motors' return to the stock market might be a smaller sale than previously thought. (Marketplace)

MARTA cuts roll out Saturday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Walking too passé?  Biking getting boring?  AltTransport lists the eight strangest transportation devices you can actually buy. Like the below PowerRiser.

Read More

Comment