New York City leaders say dangerous driving during the COVID-19 pandemic has led them to reduce speed limits on nine major streets that have had some the highest rates of accidents across the five boroughs.
A NYC news release published September 1 says the reduced speed limits will go into effect as new speed limit signs are posted over the next 4-6 weeks.
The streets and miles of roadway with lowered speed limits are:
- Flatbush Avenue from Grand Army Plaza to Empire Boulevard, .8 mile (30 mph to 25 mph)
- Shore Parkway Service Road from Bay 8th Street to Plumb 3rd Street, 4.8 miles (30 mph to 25 mph)
- Dahlgren Place from 86th Street to 92nd Street, .3 miles (30 mph to 25 mph)
- Riverside Drive from 165th Street to 181st Street, .8 mile (30 mph to 25 mph)
- Bruckner Boulevard from East 135th Street to Pelham Bay Park, 6.5 miles (30 mph to 25 mph)
- Webster Avenue from East 233 Street to East Gun Hill Road, 1.2 miles (30 mph to 25 mph)
- Rockaway Boulevard from 150th Avenue to 3rd Street (Nassau County border), 2.5 miles (40 mph to 35 mph)
- Northern Boulevard from 114th Street to Glenwood Street (Nassau County border), 7 miles (30 mph to 25 mph)
- Targee Street from West Fingerboard Road to Broad Street, 1.8 miles (30 mph to 25 mph)
The city also announced that the Department of Transportation had reached its goal of activating cameras in all 750 school zones.
“Speeding is a leading cause of traffic fatalities. Even under COVID-19, this administration has maintained our commitment to keep our streets safe for all users, especially the most vulnerable,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in the news release. “We are reducing speed limits on some of the city’s most crash-prone corridors….”
NYC Traffic Deaths Due To High Speed
In a report about the speed limit changes, The New York Times said that more passengers, drivers and motorcyclists have been killed in car crashes so far this year than in all of last year: 28 drivers, 16 passengers and 26 motorcyclists have died, according to city data.
The Times said that in June, when traffic in New York City returned to around 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels, there was a 22 percent increase in the number of passengers and drivers killed in crashes compared with the same month last year, according to data from the city and INRIX, a data collection firm.
“People got in the habit of driving too fast and too recklessly when roads were more open, and unfortunately, we’re still seeing that behavior,” DOT Commissioner Trottenberg told The Times. “We’re starting to get almost back to normal, but there are still times and places in the city where traffic levels are lower and drivers are able to get up to higher speeds.”
The National Safety Council (NSC) has repeatedly warned about the soaring rates of traffic fatalities across the country as COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns reduced traffic on the nation’s roads. With fewer cars on the roads, some drivers chose to drive at much higher speeds.
The NSC said in September that the U.S. experienced an estimated 20% jump in the motor vehicle death rate per mile driven between January and June 2020 compared to the same six-month period in 2019. The increase comes in spite of a 17% drop in the number of miles driven between January and June.
The 20% increase in the death rate for the first six months of the year is the highest jump the NSC has calculated for a six-month period since 1999.
“Because of COVID-19 and states’ shelter-in-place orders earlier this year, the country should have reaped a safety benefit from less traffic,” said Lorraine M. Martin, the NSC’s president and CEO. “Instead, our soaring rate of deaths speaks to our need to improve safety on our roads. Clearly, we must work harder as a society to reverse this trend, especially since the pandemic is not nearly over.”
NYPD says Enforcement, Cameras Reducing Traffic Deaths
While motor vehicle and motorcycle fatalities have increased this year, motor vehicle occupant injuries are down 34 percent year-to-date and motorcycle injuries are down 9 percent year-to- date, the city’s release says.
The release says the city’s speed camera program has deterred speeding in school zones by more than 60 percent and that the New York Police Department has conducted targeted operations focused on keeping motorcyclists safe through enforcement and education.
The city’s “precision policing” as it pertains to addressing traffic violations is viewed as being more effective in accomplishing the Vision Zero goal of saving lives.
Vision Zero is an initiative to end traffic deaths and injuries on New York City streets. Since the program’s inaugural year in 2014, the City’s traffic fatalities have declined more than 25 percent — bucking national fatality trends, which have increased 15 percent over the same period, the city says.
Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer in New York City
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