DMV Data Show Decrease in NYC Traffic Injuries in 2011

New York City traffic deaths and injuries in 2011. The middle column represents all crashes, the right column indicates crashes reported by police. Image: NYS DMV

The number of traffic deaths in the city remained mostly flat from 2010 to 2011, while total pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries dropped slightly last year, according to data from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The trend may be positive, but the scale of traffic violence in NYC is still staggeringly high.

In 2011, 268 people died in city traffic crashes [PDF], compared to 270 deaths in 2010 [PDF]. Last year 143 pedestrians and 22 cyclists were killed by motorists, compared to 149 and 18, respectively, in 2010.

Total injuries fell by 9 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, from 77,253 to 69,955. Injuries to pedestrians and cyclists were down as well. In 2011, 10,660 pedestrians and 3,504 cyclists were hurt in collisions with motor vehicles, compared to 11,084 and 3,518, respectively, in 2010. Total pedestrian and cyclist injuries stood at 14,164 last year and 14,602 in 2010, a 3 percent dip. Because they are less subject to random variation, total injuries are a more reliable safety indicator than fatalities.

Serious injury crashes in 2011 dropped by 6 percent from 2010, 2,942 compared to 3,138.

Motor vehicle crashes were down by 6.7 percent — from 78,343 to 73,060. The number of fatal crashes saw a small decrease, from 261 to 250.

While the overall trend in traffic violence has been downward, indications are that the number of traffic fatalities is on pace to rise in 2012. The latest Mayor’s Management Report, based on the fiscal year ending June 30, showed a 23 percent increase in citywide traffic deaths, and it’s likely the 2012 calendar year will also see more fatalities than 2011.

The management report revealed that NYPD issued fewer summonses for moving violations in the last fiscal year than at any time since 2002. Transportation Alternatives noted that police wrote 28 percent fewer citations for speeding than for tinted windows. After the report was released, DOT called on Albany to grant the city permission to expand its automated enforcement program.

We’ll dig deeper into the DMV figures, and how they compare with prior traffic casualty stats, in a future post.