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Do We Need More NYC Accident Statistics?

bar-chart-297122_640 (1).pngA recent New York Post story reported a proposed bill that would make it easier to get information about traffic crashes and summonses on city streets. The bill focuses on the need to create a database that focuses on truck accidents on streets that are official truck routes. Such streets include Canal Street and Delancy Street in Manhattan and Queens Boulevard.

The City Council members Margaret Chin, Jimmy Van Buren and Ydanis Rodriguez proposed this legislation as part of the Vision Zero program to eliminate traffic deaths. Council member Chin said, "This vital piece of legislation is an important part of our quest to achieve zero pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities because it will provide, for the first time, easily accessible data about when and where incidents occur along our city's dangerous truck routes."

According to the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), trucks are three times more likely to be involved in pedestrian deaths than other types of vehicles.

Whether the recently introduced bill will gather steam is unknown. According to a post on Streetsblog, an earlier bill will require the city to finish an evaluation of truck route safety within the next nine months. The Streetsblog post recommends putting tolls on East River bridges to reduce truck traffic in lower Manhattan. However, imposing tolls would require action at the state level and is not something that the City Council can decide.

Although there is currently no database that focuses exclusively on truck routes, New Yorkers do have relatively easy access to information about traffic crashes. For example, the New York Police Department maintains a website called Motor Vehicle Collision Report Statistics. The statistics report the number of injury and fatal crashes, causes of crashes, who was injured or killed, types of vehicles involved, and the circumstances of the crash. The stats are broken down by:

  • Police precinct
  • Intersections by borough
  • Highways, bridges and tunnels by borough

In addition to providing summary statistics, the city provides the raw data for these reports through its Open Data portal. The city also provides data about moving violations and summonses issued by month.

The state also publishes statistics about accidents by county every few years. The most recent publication covers the years 2011-2013.

Whether the pending legislation before the City Council will develop legs is unknown. Some critics have suggested that implementing proposed traffic improvements on truck routes would do more than providing more statistics.