New York City saw the lowest number of pedestrian deaths in recorded history last year, with just 132 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents over the course of 2014. The milestone came the same year that Mayor Bill de Blasio instituted his sweeping Vision Zero plan in the hope of reducing and eventually eliminating pedestrian fatalities.
Vision Zero didn't achieve the elimination of all traffic deaths, but it ushered in a new era of dealing with vehicular transport through the city. By reducing New York's default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour, dedicating more law enforcement resources to stopping speeders, setting up “slow zones” and instituting a number of other changes, the plan appears to have been instrumental in bringing pedestrian deaths by car down across the city.
The toll for 2014 was markedly lower than last year, when 180 people were killed, the highest tally in 1o years, the New York Times reported, a change that de Blasio took some credit for in a statement issued earlier this week, despite the fact that the speed limit reduction did not go into effect until November. The drop in deaths represented a 26 percent lower tally than 2013's, as of Tuesday, the New York Daily News reported.
“There is no question we are moving this city in the right direction, thanks to stepped up enforcement by the N.Y.P.D., strong traffic safety measures by the Department of Transportation, new laws passed by our legislators and the work of New Yorkers fighting for change,” de Blasio said.
The NYPD issued 117,179 speeding tickets last year through Tuesday, an increase of 42 percent over 2013, according to the Daily News.
The 2014 pedestrian death toll is the lowest since the city began keeping such records in 190, when automobiles were still rare curiosities for most of the world, Gizmodo reported. The overall toll of traffic fatalities in accidents both involving and not involving pedestrians was 248 last year, down from 293 in 2013, the Times reported.
As the Daily News declared in response to the year-end statistics, “It's never been safer to cross a New York City street.”