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2013 Numbers Show an Increase in Traffic Injuries and Fatalities

Last month, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles released the official statistics of injuries and deaths caused by traffic accidents in New York City.  It turns out that the recent implementation of the new 25 mph default speed limit in the city is very timely, as according to Streetsblog, traffic injuries reached an all-time high in 2013.

The number of overall traffic injuries grew by about two percent between 2012 and 2013.  Pedestrian injuries rose five percent and bicyclist injuries increased by eight percent.  In total, vehicle drivers injured 11,398 pedestrians and 3,817 cyclists in 2013.

There was also an eight percent increase in the total number of traffic fatalities in 2013. Both injuries and fatalities were greater than in any of the previous five years. Within this category, pedestrian deaths increased from 135 to 183, after four years of decreased numbers of deaths. Consistent with previous years, motorists injured 4,278 children; eight were killed. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury death among children in the city.

There was also an eight percent increase in the total number of traffic fatalities in 2013. Both injuries and fatalities were greater than in any of the previous five years. Within this category, pedestrian deaths increased from 135 to 183, after four years of decreased numbers of deaths. Consistent with previous years, motorists injured 4,278 children; eight were killed. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury death among children in the city.

The fatal accidents were the result of:

  • Speeding (69 or 281 fatal accidents)
  • Failure to yield (52 of 281 fatal accidents)
  • Driver distraction (49 of 281 fatal accidents)

Amazingly, the NYPD declined to report the cause of 21 percent of all accidents; this included 46 fatal crashes. This is not especially unusual; the NYPD often fails to report, arrest or ticket drivers who cause accidents, even fatal accidents.

Numbers so far for 2014 suggest that traffic injuries and pedestrian deaths are lower than last year at this time. However, cyclist deaths have increase by more than 100 percent over last year.