Vision Zero Milestone: Mayor de Blasio Announces First Six Months of 2017 Had Fewest Traffic Fatalities on Record

July 7, 2017

With national trends continuing to show fatality increases, New York City has seen declines this year in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities 

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that under the Vision Zero program, New York City ended the first six months of 2017 with the fewest traffic fatalities ever measured. As of June 30th, the city had recorded 93 fatalities, the first time ever that fewer than 100 lives had been lost in such a period.  The full fiscal year ending June 30th recorded 210 fatalities, 31 fewer than the prior fiscal year. The reductions come as the City is increasing traffic enforcement against dangerous violations like speeding and redesigning a record number of streets to make them safer.

“No loss of life on our streets is acceptable, but under Vision Zero, we have seen continued and consistent progress, with traffic fatalities on the decline for three-and-a-half-years, strongly countering national trends,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I thank the NYPD, DOT and supporting agencies on all their hard and innovative work to have us deliver this strong mid-year report.”

The Vision Zero highlights from the first six months of 2017 include:

  • Traffic fatalities have seen year-over-year declines since 2016 in most modes, including among pedestrians (47 as of June 30, 2017 compared to 63 fatalities in first six months of 2016).
  • Declines by borough have been largest in Queens (23 fatalities in 2017 compared to 32 in 2016), in Manhattan (20 in 2017 from 26 in 2016), and on Staten Island (5 this year from 11 last year).

Fiscal Year 2017, which concluded on June 30th, was also the City’s safest Fiscal Year since recordkeeping began, with 31 fewer traffic deaths than Fiscal Year 16, and over 70 fewer – a 24 percent decline -- from FY14, the year Vision Zero was launched.  In contrast, from 2014-2106, according to the National Safety Council, the country as a whole has seen a 14 percent increase in traffic fatalities.

“Nowhere else in America has seen our year-over-year declines in traffic fatalities,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.   “Under the Mayor’s leadership, we achieved the safest-ever fiscal year with the redesign of more streets than ever before.   We are especially proud of the past year’s innovative and collaborative Vision Zero work with our colleagues at sister agencies – including the Cross This Way curriculum and the Dusk & Darkness initiative – that we believe have made a real difference.  However, we know that even with under one hundred fatalities so far this year, that is still a hundred too many.  We have a lot more work to do, and in the months ahead, New Yorkers will be seeing DOT crews making safer streets around the City – from Queens Boulevard to Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn and Second Avenue in Manhattan. ”

“As we near our 500th visit to the drivers and businesses we license across the city to share the lessons of Vision Zero and safer driving, this milestone reassures us that they are incorporating these lessons into their daily work,” said Taxi and Limousine Commission Chair and Chief Executive Officer Meera Joshi. “With the mayor’s guidance and leadership, we will continue to build on these successes as we move closer to our ultimate Vision Zero goals.”

Traffic fatalities have declined for three consecutive years under Vision Zero. Amongst its many strategies, New York City has: lowered the City’s default speed limit to 25 MPH; undertaken a historic number of street redesign projects targeting priority geographies in every borough; added thousands of new Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) that serve as pedestrian head-starts; begun a pilot for calming left-turn, which are significant more dangerous; added more protected bike lanes; operated a robust camera enforcement program for speeding, red lights and bus lanes; and increased enforcement by NYPD of the City’s traffic laws.

“The continuous decline in traffic fatalities under Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative is certainly welcome news and we look forward to continuing this trajectory,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.  “Important roadway enhancements and a laser-focus on priority locations have made a difference. Mayor de Blasio and all the agencies involved deserve to be commended for their dedication to enhancing safety on city streets for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.”

“Pedestrian safety has been one of my top priorities for many years, from my calls to increase the number of crossing guards and expand the school speed camera program to working with the DOT to install traffic lights and street signs in dangerous intersections,” said State Senator Jose Peralta. “Although losing one life on the streets is one too many, I applaud Mayor de Blasio and his Administration for their efforts in reducing traffic fatalities. We must all work together to ensure we are protecting New Yorkers as they walk our busy streets.”

“There is no denying the effectiveness of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero program,” said State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.  “Just like where we have seen the implementation of speed cameras reduce the frequency of speeding and related injuries, we see components of Vision Zero similarly reduce vehicle-pedestrian crashes. We were unable to add more speed cameras in Albany this session, which makes efforts to improve upon Vision Zero that much more important in New York City. Yes, we still have unfortunate and preventable crashes, but that does not mean this ambitious initiative is failing. It reminds us that even though we’ve seen an unprecedented reduction in fatalities, well below the national average, our ultimate goal is zero.”

“This is a great indicator of the success of Vision Zero,” said Assembly Member Deborah Glick.  “While I celebrate this important milestone, I remain disappointed that the State Senate did not pass the expansion of the speed camera in school zones pilot, which I sponsor in the Assembly and which has been integral to Vision Zero’s success. I look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor and his administration to expand this important program, and all our efforts to keep pedestrians safe.”

"Vision Zero continues to work, plain and simple," said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "Our collective efforts are breaking life-saving records through targeted investments and enforcement strategies. Yet the fact remains that more can and will be done and I'm proud to partner with the de Blasio Administration to continue to work toward our goal of zero deaths."

"The work we’ve done together to achieve Vision Zero has made it safer than ever to travel in New York City,” said Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “This success is the result of increased engagement and input from parents, transportation safety advocates, and concerned community members who fight for street safety improvements in dangerous intersections, near schools and community centers, and along busy corridors. The de Blasio administration has fought for the shared values of Vision Zero throughout our City. We are all safer because of this commitment.”

"The steady decline in traffic fatalities since the launch of Vision Zero is a testament to this initiative's pivotal role in improving safety for everyone sharing our streets," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "The record low number of traffic deaths we achieved in the beginning of this year is a result of the combined efforts of everyday New Yorkers who care deeply about making our streets safer. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg, and my Council colleagues for their commitment to the safety of pedestrians and cyclists as we work towards achieving a Vision Zero."

"Under Vision Zero, we’ve proven good laws, smart road designs, and careful enforcement save lives,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.  “New York City streets are now safer for everyone than they’ve ever been. Each Vision Zero lesson we’ve learned so far should be applied throughout the City until our goal of no traffic fatalities is achieved."

"The efforts of the Vision Zero campaigns continue to save lives as our streets are safer to cross than any other year on record," said Council Member Donovan Richards. "Slowing drivers down, improving street designs and building bike lanes have delivered results across the City. I'd like to thank Mayor de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Trottenberg and NYPD Commissioner O'Neill for all of their hard work and dedication to taking every measure to make New York City safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists."

“Due to the innovative Vision Zero program, New York City continues to be a national leader in traffic safety and in reducing traffic deaths,” said Council Member James Vacca. “I commend Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg, and Commissioner O’Neill on these fantastic results, and I thank their agencies for the hard work they do day in, day out to keep New York City residents safe.” 

“Public policy innovation is seldom so successful,” said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White. “We applaud Mayor de Blasio for championing Vision Zero and staying the course. Families of those who perished spoke up and the Mayor listened. More than that, he acted. Scores more New Yorkers are alive, and thousands more are thriving because the Mayor is putting people first on the streets of New York. As advocates we will always push for more: more street redesigns, more protected space, more data driven enforcement. But now is a time to pause and recognize that this is public policy leadership at its best. Thank you, Mayor de Blasio.”

“The Queens Bike Initiative is proud to support Mayor de Blasio in his continued success in the implementation of Vision Zero,” said James McIntyre of Queens Bike Initiative.  “It must be a collective effort to reduce fatalities and injuries on our city's streets; it is exciting to see the real progress of New York City and Vision Zero. The holistic approach to overhauling traffic plans, introducing new smart technology, and being pro-active in making our streets safer is good for our borough and city today, and will help make New York's streets safer for generations to come.”

"We applaud the administration for the early success Vision Zero efforts" said Veronica Ramirez, founder of Mujeres en Movimiento. "As an organization of immigrant women fighting for healthier communities and safer streets, we find the data both encouraging and a reminder of the important work ahead.  As with the improvements to 111th street in Queens, we need to build on our successes.  We look forward to continuing to work with City and community allies that are eager to continue fighting for our children's right to feel safe in their own neighborhoods." 

“Ciclistas Latinoamericanos de New York are proud to support Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Vision Zero action plan,” said Claudia Corcino, Founder, Ciclistas Latinoamericanos. “The release of this mid-year report encourages not just us, but many New Yorkers that have felt the positive influence of Vision Zero. This has been the safest-ever fiscal year, and we hope to see this trend continue. However, every fatality is one too many, and we are motivated to contribute and support this initiative in any way we can as long as that statistic is greater than zero.”

 Traffic Fatalities by Fiscal Year 1988-2017

Rank

Full Fiscal Year

Fatalities

1

FY17

210

2

FY11

240

3

FY16

241

4

FY15

251

5

FY13

260

6

FY10

270

7

FY09

274

8

FY14

288

9

FY12

290

10

FY08

297

11

FY05

301

12

FY06

309

13

FY07

316

14

FY04

338

15

FY03

368

16

FY01

386

17

FY02

399

18

FY99

405

19

FY00

407

20

FY98

415

21

FY97

443

22

FY94

472

23

FY96

482

24

FY95

497

25

FY93

573

26

FY88

592

27

FY92

603

28

FY89

635

29

FY90

679

30

FY91

687

For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see www.nyc.gov/visionzero.