Mayor de Blasio Announces That Traffic Fatalities Are Expected to Drop for Fifth Straight Year

Mayor Bill de Blasio

December 28, 2018

Under Vision Zero, 2018 has been safest year on record with fewest New Yorkers lost on City’s roadways since 1910.

2018 saw most dramatic fatality declines among cyclists and car occupants.

The boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island also reached record fatality lows in 2018.

NEW YORK–Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that as the year nears its end, New York City was on track to see its fewest traffic fatalities on record. This has been powered largely by dramatic drops in cyclist and motor vehicle occupant fatalities, both of which have reached record lows.

The boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island also reached record fatality lows in 2018. Overall trends suggest New York City will achieve a fifth consecutive year of declining traffic deaths under Vision Zero with fatalities declining by a third since 2013.

Since 2013, the year before Vision Zero was implemented by the de Blasio Administration, traffic fatalities have dropped 34 percent to the lowest level since record keeping began in 1910. Thus far in 2018, 196 people have been lost in traffic crashes. Last year, as of December 27, New York City had experienced 221 traffic fatalities, and the year 2017 ended with 222 total fatalities.

Among cyclists, fatalities have seen a dramatic decline: 10 so far this year compared to 24 in 2017 from a four year average of 19 deaths since 2014. Meanwhile, motor vehicle occupant fatalities have fallen to 36 thus far from a total of 58 last year, and from a Vision Zero average of 56 per year.

"With each passing year, New Yorkers continue to see Vision Zero save lives," said Mayor de Blasio. "Over the last five years, we have lowered the speed limit, increased enforcement and designed hundreds of safer streets. But no loss of life on our streets is acceptable. The twelve pedestrians killed so far this past month are a sober reminder that this new milestone is less a cause for celebration than a reminder that even with this year’s success, we have much more to do to meet our ambitious goal."

"Heading into 2019, the NYPD and our partners will continue to advance the extraordinary efforts that have led to years of sustained declines in traffic deaths in New York City," said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. "Any fatality, however, is a stark indication of how much work is left to do in order to make all of our streets safe at all times for every driver, bicyclist and pedestrian."

"Five years into Vision Zero, New York City has seen lower fatalities each year, encouraging results unparalleled among American cities," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "We have been especially gratified that after years of increasing cyclist fatalities, cycling deaths are declining this year to their lowest annual levels ever, even as cycling experiences greater ridership than ever. However, as the Mayor has reminded us, the past few weeks of lost pedestrian lives remind us that we have much more work to do to fully achieve Vision Zero."

"We have more drivers and vehicles today than ever before. In the face of this growth we have seen a 50% decrease in licensee related crash fatalities this past year. This highlights the dedication of the tens of thousands of licensed professional drivers who incorporate the goals of Vision Zero into their daily work," said TLC Chair Meera Joshi.

"As we recognize each milestone, we never lose sight of the fact that there is still work to be done as we redouble our efforts on outreach, enforcement and education in the coming year."


Among notable Vision Zero achievements in 2018:


A Steep Decline in Cyclist Deaths:

As part of Vision Zero, New York City committed to expanding access for cyclists who are among the most vulnerable street users. Under Vision Zero, cycling has become the fastest growing transit mode. During 2018, fatalities among cyclists declined to record low levels: 10, compared to a previous record low of 12 in 2009 and 2013 when cycling was much less popular. Major developments this year that will continue to improve cycling safety in New York City include:

  • Expansion of Bike Lanes:
    DOT installed over 20 miles of protected bike lanes in 2018, the second most of any year and more than triple the pre-Vision Zero annual average. This includes major new lanes on Skillman/43rd Avenues in Queens and 9th Street in Brooklyn.

  • Since the start of Vision Zero, more than 250 miles of dedicated cycling space (conventional and protected bicycle lanes) have been installed, with a bicycle network that now exceeds 1,200 miles.


  • More Bike Sharing:
  • Bike share’s dramatic expansion continued in 2018 with a dockless pilot in the Rockaways, on the North Shore of Staten Island and in the Bronx. In November, Citi Bike also announced that as part of a $100 million investment by Lyft, it would double its service area and triple the number of bikes over the next five years. Over its first five years, Citi Bike’s arrival in local communities has led to an increase in cyclists but a measurable decrease in the number of serious crashes involving bicycles.

    Progression of bicycle facilities on 2nd Avenue

  • Better Designs:
  • In 2018, DOT released Cycling at a Crossroads: The Design Future of New York City Intersections. With the vast majority of cycling crashes happening at intersections, the report provides a comprehensive look at design options for intersections with protected bike lanes.

    Based on a detailed analysis of safety and comfort for different design treatments, it provides an overview of their use in various street contexts, including guidance for applying pilot "protected intersection" type treatments citywide.


  • L Train Preparations:
  • With cycling expected to double or even triple in communities affected by the closure of the L train tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan this coming April, DOT this year undertook ambitious plans for safer cycling routes for displaced L riders.

    On Brooklyn’s Grand Street, new protected lanes will see finishing touches in the months ahead. These lanes will complement mid-Manhattan’s first ever protected crosstown bike lanes on 12th, 13th, 26th and 29th Streets.

    With a new ferry route for L riders opening in April, new crosstown lanes along East 20th Street have opened. A new two-way protected lane on Delancey Street also connects cyclists on other protected lanes directly to the Williamsburg Bridge, already the most popular East River bicycle crossing.


Fewest Ever Fatalities in Manhattan and on Staten Island:

By borough, Manhattan and Staten Island have seen the most notable fatality declines in 2018. So far this year, Manhattan has seen a record low 27 fatalities compared to 45 in 2017; its previous record low was 28 in 2015.

The borough of Staten Island has also seen its fewest ever fatalities: 6, down from 15 in 2017, and significantly less than the previous record low, 11, in 2014. Hylan Boulevard, which was the site of eight traffic fatalities in one 12-month period during 2014-15, has been the intense focus of DOT safety improvements and NYPD enforcement. In 2018, Hylan Boulevard saw a single traffic fatality.


Preservation of the Speed Camera Program:

The City’s 140 speed cameras have been a key element of Vision Zero, shown to reduce speeding in school zones by over 60 percent. Despite inaction during the Albany legislative session where reauthorization of the lifesaving program was blocked, the program was restored on the day before schools opened thanks to strong and coordinated action from Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo and Council Speaker Johnson.


Continued Strong Traffic Enforcement:

As part of ongoing Vision Zero enforcement, NYPD Traffic officers issued more than 50,000 summonses to drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians or cyclists in 2018, more than four times the pre-Vision Zero annual average. Over the same period, officers issued nearly 150,000 speeding summonses. Automated speed cameras issued nearly 1 million Notices of Liability in 2018, with more than 50% issued at Vision Zero Priority Locations.


Vision Zero "Dusk and Darkness" Marketing:

Media messaging during the evening commute is a key component of the "Dusk and Darkness" initiative. Following an increase in pedestrian fatalities this month, most during darkness hours, DOT has extended its drive time radio advertising to remind drivers of the increased risk to pedestrians during the winter months.

Drivers should follow the speed limit, turn slowly and always watch for pedestrians. The Vision Zero television ad "Driving isn’t Easy, but Saving a Life is" will air on broadcast and cable stations from January through March.


Safety Improvement Projects in Every Borough:

DOT completed 138 street safety engineering projects in 2018, more than double the pre-Vision Zero annual average, with 95 projects at Priority Locations. Nearly 500 safety engineering projects have been completed since the start of Vision Zero. Among this year’s major projects around the five boroughs that will have an impact on the safety and mobility of New Yorkers are:

Manhattan’s midtown Broadway BEFORE (left) and AFTER (right)


Manhattan’s Lower East Side BEFORE (left) and AFTER (right)


Midtown Manhattan:

In 2018, DOT installed sidewalk extensions on 7th Ave between 34th and 42nd Street, one of Midtown’s busiest streets leading directly to Penn Station. The changes provide more than 30,000 square feet of additional pedestrian space.

Northern Bronx:

Running along Van Cortlandt Park, Broadway had long been a high crash corridor. DOT installed a variety of safety enhancements, including a two way protected bike path, additional pedestrian spaces, shortened crossings, and bus boarding islands.

South Brooklyn:

DOT, working closely with MTA NYC Transit, improved bus service along Kings Highway with the launch of B82 Select Bus Service (SBS) with new bus lanes that limit conflicts, streamline traffic flow and save travel time for 28,000 daily commuters.


Queens Boulevard and Broadway BEFORE (left) and AFTER (right)


Rockaway, Queens:

As part of a multiagency focus on infrastructure investment, access to opportunity and improved quality of life on the Eastern half of the peninsula, a complex and confusing intersection was resdesigned at Far Rockaway Blvd and Beach Channel Drive. New crosswalks, markings, expanded pedestrian space and a simplified traffic pattern make it easier for residents, including those at a new senior facility, to walk to local retail and the A train.

Bulls Head, Staten Island:

Along Victory Boulevard, a Vision Zero Priority corridor, DOT added pedestrian refuge islands, new crosswalks and an ADA-accessible sidewalk and bus stop at Arlene Street.


Safer For-Hire Vehicles:

In a year where TLC licensees achieved a 50% decrease in the number of licensee related crash fatalities, the agency was pleased to have honored more than 400 drivers and 17 businesses for their exemplary safety records, the highest number of honorees in the five years of the event. Safety Honor Roll drivers have no crashes involving an injury or fatality, no moving violations, and no TLC rule violations for at least four years.

In February, the TLC also approved the final version of its fatigued driving prevention rules which set daily and weekly hour limits for drivers to help keep tired drivers off the road. TLC continued to hold driver outreach meetings at licensed For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) bases and taxi garages throughout the city, highlighting protected bike lanes, high risk driving behavior that can lead to crashes, and the crucial role that professional drivers play in promoting a culture of safe driving.

"Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our fellow New Yorkers, and safe streets are a huge part of doing so successfully," said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. "The progress we’ve made on Vision Zero is inspiring and the reduction in cyclist deaths is especially encouraging. We of course have more work to do, but we are making progress and that means we are saving lives. I thank the DOT and Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and the NYPD and Commissioner O’Neill for all their incredible work on this critically important issue."

"Whether by foot, by bike, by bus, or in their cars, it’s essential that New Yorkers can travel around this city safely," said City Comptroller Scott Stringer. "Vision Zero has spurred real progress and saved dozens of lives. For our students walking to school, seniors heading to their doctors, and all New Yorkers, safe streets are a basic necessity and something we have to continuously work towards."

"I’m proud to serve as the Chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee working with the Administration to set expectations under Vision Zero, which have curtailed traffic fatalities every year, for the last five years," said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "I commend Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, for their efforts to combat traffic fatalities at a level that has become a national model.

While these numbers continue to drop, we must increase our efforts to protect pedestrians and cyclists by enhancing street design measures, encouraging the use of public and alternative modes of transportation on city streets, and adding more protected bike lanes to foster a less car reliant culture and move towards the future of sustainable options such as e-scooters and e-bikes."


As of Dec, 27, 2018 Traffic Fatality Stats by Mode

Year Pedestrians Bicycles Motorcycles Motor Vehicles Total
2018 111 10 39 36 196
2017 106 24 33 58 221
2016 146 18 19 46 229
2015 137 14 22 59 232
2014 138 20 37 62 257
2013 180 12 42 60 294


Stats by Borough

Year Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Statan Island Total
2018 37 55 27 71 6 196
2017 40 59 45 62 15 221
2016 50 50 48 64 17 229
2015 39 66 28 74 25 232
2014 37 80 45 84 11 257
2013 48 86 47 98 15 294