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Queens Chronicle

NYC sets record low for traffic deaths

2011 sees fewest fatalities since 1910; deaths down 40% since ’01

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Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:44 pm, Thu Jan 5, 2012.

The city announced last week that 2011 saw a record low for traffic fatalities.

The figures were released Friday at a press conference featuring Mayor Bloomberg, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

A statement issued by the Mayor’s Office said the 237 fatalities as of Dec. 27 represents the lowest total since records were first kept in 1910, and a 40 percent decline since 2001, when there were 393.

“This will be the city’s safest traffic year in more than 100 years,” Bloomberg said. He and Sadik-Khan credited enforcement and engineering strategies for the success.

Kelly said traffic enforcement effort is aimed directly at saving lives. He said officers issued more than 1 million summonses for moving violations in 2011, with about one-third of those related to seat belt enforcement and distracted driving.

He said through mid-December the department had made in excess of 8,500 arrests for driving under the influence in 2011, and seized 900 vehicles doing so.

The numbers included 134 pedestrian fatalities, said to be an all-time low and a 31 percent reduction from 2001; 47 senior pedestrian and three child pedestrian fatalities, both record lows.

The mayor said bicycle fatalities have remained in the same range for a decade, despite bike ridership quadrupling in that period. No specific number was given, but published sources state that the city has averaged about 20 bicycle fatalities a year for the last 10 years.

Michael Hinck, a spokesman for MediSys Health Network, said its trauma center at Jamaica Hospital saw the same number of pedestrian fatalities in 2011, while deaths as the result of motor vehicle accidents went up.

Representatives of Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit group that advocates the expansion of pedestrians, bicycles and mass transit use in the city, could not be reached for comment.

The group on Oct. 30 delivered more than 2,600 letters to Kelly demanding more enforcement of traffic laws and announced an investigation of the NYPD. The group cited 1,745 pedestrians and bicyclists killed in New York City between 2001 and 2010 in what it terms “traffic violence.”

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