Summer of 2021 marked New York City’s deadliest for traffic crash related deaths since Mayor de Blasio took office in 2014 and took a pledge to bring road fatalities down to zero. De Blasio unveiled “Vision Zero,” which became official City policy in 2014, as a citywide initiative with a purpose to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries on NYC streets by 2024. However, traffic fatalities were the highest this past summer since the launch of the program.
The city saw 77 traffic fatalities from June to August 2021, according to NYPD statistics crunched by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. This astounding figure included 24 pedestrians and 42 motorists or passengers – the latter a 147 percent increase from the summer of 2016, when just 17 car drivers or occupants died.
There were more pedestrian fatalities on Manhattan streets – 11 – than the last three summers combined. The sharp increase in deaths comes after de Blasio touted initial success in reducing road deaths, which hit an all-time low at one point under his watch.
The greatest spike in road fatalities was in Brooklyn, where 23 people died in fatal crashes over the three-month summer period. During this time frame, the NYC’s most populous borough had 63 traffic fatalities – more than it had in all 12 months of 2016-18 and 2020.
According to the New York Post, it is even more alarming that these soaring traffic fatalities come as the de Blasio administration’s own records indicate the NYPD has pulled back significantly from traffic enforcement. NYPD issued 57 percent fewer traffic tickets last year compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.
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