2014 marked the beginning of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tenure in New York City. Vision Zero became the official city policy that year. Vision Zero aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities.
Vision Zero’s Efforts
Vision Zero replaced the view of traffic fatalities as unavoidable accidents with an emphasis on prevention. The city then developed programmes and policies to prevent traffic fatalities.
Among Vision Zero’s initiatives are:
- Increasing enforcement of traffic laws pertaining to speeding and failure to yield
- Adopting new street layouts optimised for security
- Increasing public outreach to remind drivers to operate their vehicles safely
- Increasing penalties for reckless drivers
- Transferring control of road safety to municipal officials
- Speed cameras installed in school zones
- Enhancing training for MTA bus drivers and city employees
The city had no intention of implementing a singular solution to the traffic fatality problem. Instead, city officials believed that minor adjustments to the region’s numerous activities could enhance traffic safety.
Vision Zero’s Results
During the first few years of Vision Zero, all categories of traffic fatalities in New York decreased. The number of fatal auto accidents decreased from 60 in 2014 to 39 in 2018. The number of fatal pedestrian accidents decreased from 132 in 2014 to 103 in 2017. Between 2014 and 2018, the number of fatal bicycle accidents was cut in half, and the number of fatal motorcycle accidents decreased from 37 in 2014 to 19 in 2016.
However, the figures have improved. And throughout the first half of 2021, all of these figures are projected to reach new highs by the end of the year.
What Might Happen Next
Traffic safety advocates do not attribute the increase in traffic fatalities to Vision Zero. The positive results of the first few years indicate that some of the Vision Zero initiatives have had an effect. No one has yet suggested a plausible explanation for the recent rise in traffic fatalities.
Some traffic safety-focused organisations argue that Vision Zero does not go far enough. They believe that the city failed to maintain the program’s initial level of rigour.
Instead, they propose expanding upon the successes of Vision Zero by instituting new programmes to:
- Increase the redesign of hazardous streets
- Convert road space into areas for pedestrians and cyclists
- Lower speed limits
- Provide crash victims and survivors with courtroom protections.
- Expand the use of speed cameras beyond school zones
- Increase the penalties for driving recklessly
- Reduce the legal limit for blood alcohol content and mandate that motorists give cyclists at least three feet of space when passing.
These programmes are currently only proposals at the municipal and state levels. However, many of these programmes have become law in other states, so it is possible that they will also become law in New York.
Steps You Can Take to Avoid Becoming a Traffic Fatality
According to statistics, taking a few precautions can reduce your risk of dying in a car accident. Among these measures are:
- Slowing down
- avoiding disturbances
- The use of a seat belt
- Driving sober
- limiting nighttime driving
These measures will also help you avoid collisions with pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, thereby making the roads safer for you and everyone else.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm
Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.