More NYC kids killed last year by drivers as Vision Zero goals remain out of reach: Analysis


More children were killed last year by vehicles in New York City than any year since the launch of the street safety initiative Vision Zero, a new analysis found Monday, calling into question Mayor Eric Adams’ claims about improving street safety.

Transportation Alternatives found that 16 children under 18 years old were killed in 2022 by drivers. Three of the victims were killed biking or walking from school. The total is double the number of kids killed by drivers in 2018 or 2020.

In January, the city touted a decline in traffic deaths, noting that 255 people were killed by drivers in 2022 – down from 275 deaths in 2021.

“Across the board, the numbers are clear: New York City is getting safer,” Adams said.

But last year’s death toll was still a 24% increase from 2018, when 202 people were killed by drivers. That was the lowest number of deaths since Vision Zero launched in 2014 with the goal of reducing traffic deaths to zero.

“As we near the 10-year mark of Vision Zero, it’s clear we haven’t moved fast enough to address this crisis,” Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, wrote in the report. “In 2023, our leaders must recommit to ending traffic violence and achieving Vision Zero.”

The city Department of Transportation declined to discuss the new analysis, referring Gothamist to Adams’ earlier comments.

The City Council said it would hold a hearing on Vision Zero in February. An exact date was not announced.

“The increase in traffic fatalities since 2018 is alarming, particularly the rise in children killed by traffic violence,” Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, wrote in a statement.

The report also identified which city council district had the most crashes per 100,000 residents.

East Harlem and the Bronx saw the most crashes, with 6.2 crashes per 100,000 residents. Next was the district covering the East Bronx, as well as the district covering Fort Greene, Crown Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant.

The analysis also found a disparity in arrests for hit-and-runs. In four of the last six years, hit-and-runs in majority white neighborhoods were more likely to result in an arrest than hits-and-runs in neighborhoods of color.

For example, there were 36 arrests last year in majority white neighborhoods compared to 20 in neighborhoods of color.

Jeffrey Butts, head of the Research and Evaluation at John Jay, cautioned against the demographic of neighborhoods being the only factor driving the disparity.

“It has a lot to do with the chance that there’s a witness and that witness’s willingness to help out to provide information,” Butts said.

Advocates urged the city to recommit to goals signed into law in the 2019 Streets Plan, which requires the construction of 250 miles of protected bike and lanes and 150 miles of dedicated bus lanes over a five-year period. The Adams administration is not on pace to meet those goals.


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