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City Takes First Steps Toward Reducing Pedestrian accidents

Vision Zero, Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to eliminate traffic deaths, took a step forward last month. The mayor signed 11 bills that are designed to improve traffic safety and reduce pedestrian deaths. The mayor's long-term plan is to eliminate pedestrian deaths entirely. In the meantime, the city will take steps to make its streets safer for pedestrians.

The bills recently signed included laws that require the city to take tougher enforcement actions on taxi drivers and drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists. The new laws will also create slow speed zones around certain schools.

New York will also be allowed to lower the default speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph because the state legislature in Albany approved the reduction of the speed limit in the city.

The new laws do not authorize a city-wide campaign against jaywalkers. Rather, individual precincts will determine whether to enforce the city ordinances against illegal street crossings.

In 2013, the number of people killed in traffic accidents on the streets of New York City and those who died as a result of homicide were not that different. Traffic accidents took the lives of 286 people in New York City in 2013; 334 people were murder victims. Mayor de Blasio hopes that his program will increase the difference between the number of traffic accident victims and the number of homicide victims.

Source: NBC New York, "New NYC Traffic Safety Laws Toughen Penalties on Unsafe Drivers, Create Slow Speed Zones Near Schools," Jun. 23, 2014.