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Thursday, May 6, 2010

New York Traffic Fatalities Decline

Attention all New York drivers, please give yourselves a pat on the back. Traffic fatalities in New York City fell to an all-time record low in 2009!

There were 256 traffic fatalities in New York City last year, 12 percent fewer than in 2008. Traffic fatalities are not only declining in New York City, they are declining across the state as well. New York's 2009 Highway Safety Annual Report reported a 46 percent decline in traffic fatalities over a 10 year period. In 1998, there were 2,263 traffic fatalities recorded in New York State. By 2008, that number had fallen to 1,224. Let's see how New York compares to the rest of the U.S.

Across the nation, traffic fatalities are declining as well. In March, the U.S. DOT announced that the number of reported traffic fatalities at the end of 2009 were the lowest they had been since 1954. It also marked a decline in traffic fatalities for the 15th straight quarter. The preliminary statistics for 2009 portray an 8.99 percent decrease over 2008. In actual numbers, there were 33,963 traffic fatalities counted in 2009 compared to 37,261 in 2008.

Nationwide, the decline in traffic fatalities can be partially attributed to the economy. In 2009, drivers were driving much less than they had been in previous years. As economic conditions improve drivers will begin to drive more and it may be difficult to sustain these levels of traffic fatalities. However, it isn't impossible to maintain. If drivers remain focused with their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their cell phones put away these levels will be more easily maintained. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 6,000 deaths in 2008 resulted from crashes caused by a distracted driver.

In New York City, the 35 percent decrease in traffic fatalities can also be attributed to the safety advances made in numerous categories: vehicle drivers and passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists and seniors. As a demographic, seniors are most vulnerable to traffic fatalities. The DOT plans to reduce traffic fatalities 50 percent by 2030. To accomplish this, 2010 will bring the launch of new safety initiatives and the expansion of current ones. Some examples of the initiatives for 2010 include: tripling the number of reduced-speed zones around school, launching new anti-drunk-driving and anti-speeding campaigns, and continued working to engineer safer streets for children, seniors and anyone else using the city streets.

Summer is approaching quickly which means that more and more people will be hitting the highways for summer vacation road trips. Even though traffic fatalities are declining its important that drivers never feel complacent behind the wheel. Highways are still dangerous places and drivers should always beware of possible hazards. A NY defensive driving course can be helpful to improve your basic driver knowledge, so truly understand defensive driving concepts and roadway survival techniques.

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