Earlier today, Transportation Alternatives held a press conference at City Hall to call on Mayor Bloomberg to "take control of New York’s streets and establish an effective deterrence against dangerous driving." A report released by the group finds the NYPD largely inadequate when it comes to enforcing traffic laws, and the study, which analyzed data from "known rates of driver infraction and summonsing by the NYPD," includes some troubling stats:
- A driver could speed every day in NYC and get ticketed only once every 35 years.
- Despite the extensive system of 100 red light cameras in New York City, police and cameras catch only 1 out of every 438 red light runners.
- While the number of traffic fatalities caused by speeding rose 11 percent between 2001 and 2006, the number of summons issued for speeding dropped 22 percent during that period.
- A driver could fail to yield (the number two cause of crashes in NYC) every single day and get ticketed only once every 1,589 years.
- While the number of traffic fatalities caused by drivers failing to yield rose 26 percent between 2005 and 2007, the number of summons issued for failing to yield decreased 12 percent during that period.
- Being struck by a car while walking remains the number two cause of injury-related death for New York City adults over 45, second only to an accidental fall, and it's the number one injury-related cause of death for New York City children under 14.
Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, says, "You could drive a car straight through the gaps in NYPD enforcement, and as it turns out, many New Yorkers do. Our study shows what most New York City drivers have already figured out: no one is watching." The report's recommendations are based on the testimony of more than 30 experts in traffic, engineering, law enforcement, safety and public health. They're urging the mayor to create an Office of Road Safety at City Hall in charge of reducing traffic violations, crashes, injuries and fatalities. Anyway, there's a lot to chew over here; download the report to your mobile device so you'll have something to read on the drive home.