Last year, in an effort to reduce traffic fatalities citywide, the city and state governments agreed to lower the speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour, a change that, enforced, has the potential to reduce pedestrian deaths by 50 percent. But drivers who flout the speed limit are apparently pretty upset they're getting ticketed—or so says a piece in the Post claiming cops are handing out tickets like candy. How dare they do their jobs!
According to the Post's data, cops doled out 29,179 speeding summonses between November 2014 and January 2015, up from 20,486 during the same period the year prior. The tabloid pays particular attention to November's spike, since the new speed limit became official on November 7th; apparently, 13,06 speeded summonses were issued that month, up from 6,600 in November 2013.
The Post's real issue here is that Mayor de Blasio promised that cops wouldn't immediately jump all over people driving above 25 m.p.h., but thanks to supposed pressure from City Hall, enforcement is up. "The cop who pulled me over said he felt bad he had to give me a ticket," one driver told the tabloid. "The cop even said, ‘I’m so sorry, normally I wouldn’t enforce this sort of thing, but the mayor is making us.'"
This is understandably frustrating for motorists, but as traffic safety group Transportation Alternatives points out, enforcement was up for most of 2014 thanks to the mayor's Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024. In May 2014, about 12,700 speeding summonses were handed out, just a few hundred shy of the tickets issued after the speed limit changed. In October 2014, 12,540 speeding tickets were issued; by comparison, only 9,077 summonses were issued in January 2015 (this was also the month of the NYPD summons slowdown.)
"There was a huge ramp-up of Vision Zero enforcement throughout 2014, and there was actually a decline after the speed limit went into effect," Alana Miller, TA's policy manager, told us. "So it was more than they were doing in 2013 certainly, but it wasn’t steeper by any means than the enforcement that was already happening through 2014."
And of course, though reduced speeds may slow traffic on NYC streets, data shows it's far more likely that a pedestrian or cyclist will survive getting hit by a driver going 25 m.p.h. than 30, hence the hard-fought change in the first place. "Historically, enforcement of the most dangerous violations wasn’t prioritized," Miller said. "Last year the NYPD did do a good job citywide in increasing enforcement and focusing on what’s most likely to kill [or injure], which is speeding and failure-to-yield."
Pedestrian fatalities hit an all-time low in 2014, a record de Blasio credited in part due to increased enforcement on the part of the NYPD.