A recently-released national report indicates that not only did the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metro area have the most pedestrian deaths in the country between 2003 and 2012, those deaths comprised a higher percentage of total traffic deaths than anywhere else.
The report, called “Dangerous by Design 2014,” is part of a collaborative effort among Smart Growth America, America Walks, the National Complete Streets Coalition and the AARP. The reports are released every few years, keeping a pulse on the problem nationwide. Unfortunately, as our New York City pedestrian accident attorneys well know, the risks are not subsiding.
In fact, research authors call pedestrian deaths in the U.S. a growing “epidemic.” While overall traffic fatalities have fallen by a third over the past several decades, pedestrian deaths have continued to increase. Just between 2011 and 2012, the number of pedestrian fatalities jumped six percent.
Nowhere is the problem worse than in the New York City metro area. Here, walkers represent 10 percent of the overall number of commuters, and yet they represent nearly one-third of the total traffic deaths over the last decade. Solely in New York City (excluding Long Island and Northern New Jersey), an astonishing 56 percent of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians.
Compare that to the national average, which is 15 percent.
In the decade between 2003 and 2012, more than 47,000 Americans have died attempting to traverse our roads on foot. To put this into perspective, that is 16 times more people than have perished in natural disasters, including tornadoes and hurricanes – during the same time frame.
Another 676,000 people suffered injury, which equates to one pedestrian accident every eight minutes.
In the New York City metro area, we can expect one pedestrian death every single day. Researchers report 3,384 pedestrians were killed locally during the10-year study period. There were 10,414 total traffic deaths during that time frame. That makes the total percentage of pedestrian deaths here 32.5.
The only metro area that even came close was Los Angeles (including Long Beach and Santa Ana), which accounted for 2,435 pedestrian deaths (nearly 950 less than New York City metro), or 28.3 percent of the total.
Of course, a primary reason for this is that New York City is an extremely dense urban area where many people walk – a lot. Much more so than the rest of the country. In fact, when the Smart Growth America report calculated the “pedestrian danger index,” factoring in the number of people who travel on foot versus the number killed, the New York City metro area ranked 48th out of 51, with a PDI rating of 28.1, compared to the No. 1 metro area in this regard, Orlando, with a PDI rating of 244.28.
Still, we clearly still have a major ongoing problem. This was part of the basis for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent call to enact the “Vision Zero” plan, which aims to cut the number of pedestrian deaths in New York City to zero. This would involve enhanced law enforcement efforts, street redesigns and public awareness campaigns.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
A national epidemic of pedestrian deaths, May 2014, Smart Growth America
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Court: Underinsured Motorist Coverage Offset by All Damages Paid, Feb. 17, 2014, New York City Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog