NYC Saw Deadliest Year For Traffic Fatalities In 2021: Study

An NYPD officer was injured in a hit-and-run crash Nov. 16, 2020, while trying to take a suspect into custody with an outstanding warrant. (Steve Sanchez/Pacific Press/Shutterstock)

A new study by Transportation Alternatives found 273 people died in crashes last year — the worst number since Vision Zero took effect.

NEW YORK CITY — More people died on New York City’s streets in 2021 than any year since officials pledged to drive traffic fatalities down to zero, according to a new study.

The city closed last year with 273 people dead in traffic crashes, a new study by Transportation Alternatives found.

Of those, 73 died between October and December alone.

“We cannot let another year go by with traffic violence killing a record number of New Yorkers,” said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, in a statement.

The grim record coincided with the last year for former mayor Bill de Blasio — who in 2014 adopted “Vision Zero,” an ambitious street safety plan with the goal of slashing traffic fatalities down to nothing.

But advocates argue de Blasio failed to fully commit to Vision Zero — an inaction with deadly results, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fatalities hit a low in 2018, according to the study. The tally in 2021 was 33 percent higher.

And it wasn’t unexpected — advocates warned through 2021 that New York City was on pace to reach its deadliest year in the Vision Zero era.

Mayor Eric Adams heartened advocates when he appointed Ydanis Rodriguez, a longtime supporter of street safety measures, as transportation commissioner.

Rodriguez said strong steps need to be taken.

“Last year was a difficult one for Vision Zero, and this year has gotten off to a difficult start, with a number of traffic fatalities, many of them at intersections,” he said in a statement. “That’s why Mayor Adams and I declared last week that intersections should be sacred spaces and outlined a plan to make targeted changes at more than 1,000 intersections this year.”


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