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New York mayor aims to reduce traffic fatalities

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Jan 23, 2014 3:40:41 PM

New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that a central focus of his new administration will be reducing motor vehicle accident fatalities within New York City. The mayor even went so far as to indicate that his goal is to reduce the number of individuals killed in New York motor vehicle accidents literally down to zero. The fact that the mayor wishes to focus on traffic fatality rates in NYC is very welcome. However, the idea that his administration would aim to bring deaths down to zero is almost certainly unrealistic and arguably boastful to a fault. Therefore, critics are unsure how serious Mr. de Blasio truly is about changing New York’s crosswalk culture and approach to road safety generally.

The de Blasio administration has answered critics, in part, by forming an interagency working group focused on reducing NYC traffic-related fatalities. It is a small step, but one that can ultimately bring about significant changes if it remains focused, determined and can demonstrate that it understands the complexities currently plaguing New York’s traffic culture.

The mayor campaigned on this issue, vowing to view traffic deaths as preventable incidents. This approach to traffic casualties is also known as “vision zero” in Sweden, where this approach has been widely adopted. The administration will be looking into what modifications need to be made in order to prevent traffic deaths. These modifications may include actual changes to the streets themselves, reductions in the city’s speed limits and other preventative measures.

Mr. de Blasio’s boast will be viewed as a welcome change if his administration’s efforts produce significant results. But if the boast proves to be little more than hot air, the city’s travelers may not react so well to this unkept promise.

Source: New York Times, “De Blasio Announces Steps to Reduce Traffic Deaths,” J. David Goodman and Matt Flegenheimer, Jan. 15, 2014

Topics: car accidents

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