Anyone who's ever just stood on the sidewalk and watched cars go by has probably figured that a number of drivers were moving well above the speed limit. Now a new set of data released by the city shows that you were right, because 60 percent of drivers in the city admitted that they speed. In addition, almost on-fifth of New York City drivers admitted to texting or emailing while driving. Maybe let's work on that before moving on to putting traffic lights in the sidewalk.
The new data comes courtesy of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which surveyed drivers in 2015 on their distracted driving habits. Despite the fact that all of the data was self-reported and offered ample opportunity to lie, 60 percent of drivers admitted that they sped, which was defined for the purposes of the survey as driving at least 10 miles above the speed limit. 13 percent of drivers said that they sped "often." 19 percent of drivers around the city said that they engage in distracted driving, which the survey defined as texting or emailing while driving.
The borough with the most speeders was car-heavy Staten Island, where 72 percent of drivers said they sped, while the Manhattan was the borough with the fewest number of self-reported speeders, at 60 percent. The two boroughs also had the highest and lowest number of distracted drivers according to the data, at 26 percent and 17 percent respectively. Unsurprisingly, younger drivers were most likely to text and drive, with 34 percent of drivers between 18 and 24 years of age copping to the practice.
15 percent of New York City teens admitted that they texted or emailed while they drove, but before we all shake our fists at bad teens, that's well below the national average of 49 percent of teens who text or email while they drive. Similarly, the rate of teens in the city who admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol (7 percent) was lower than the national average (9 percent).
Speeding and driving while texting or on the phone can lead to tragic consequences, both for drivers and for others sharing our streets," Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez said in a press release with the data. "The City is right to address traffic-related injuries and deaths as a public health issue."
The speeding data comes at the same time as a debate is taking place around the speed limit on Ocean Parkway. State Senator Simcha Felder recently introduced a bill to carve out an exception to New York City's 25 mile per hour speed limit on Ocean Parkway, and raise it to 30 miles per hour. However, safe streets advocates including City Council Member Brad Lander have pointed out that Ocean Parkway was specifically cited as one of the most dangerous roads in Brooklyn for pedestrians before the lowering of the speed limit in the city.