Vision Zero needs to focus on enforcement
Apr 16, 2014 | 1220 views | 0 0 comments | 118 118 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Almost immediately after taking office, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed that his administration would be focused on reducing the number of traffic fatalities in the city, particularly among pedestrians.

In fact, he pledged to get that number down to zero.

And the de Blasio administration is making good on that promise. It quickly released a report detailing close to 70 different proposals to make the streets of the five boroughs safer, and then began implementing them.

The most recent is a plan to reduce the speed limit on the city's arterial roads, or long avenues and boulevards that cover big distances, to 25 mph. Arterials only make up 15 percent of the city's total roadways, but they account for 60 percent of traffic fatalities.

Reducing the speed limit is a great start. We're sure you have heard the statistic that your chances of dying from being hit by a car jump from 20 percent at 30 mph to 80 percent if that same car is traveling just 10 mph faster at 40 mph.

But reducing the limit is going to do little if drivers don't adhere to the lower speed. We have to imagine that reckless drivers who kill pedestrians have very little concern for posted speed limits, just like they ignore crosswalks and other traffic signals.

The real focus of the de Blasio administration's Vision Zero initiative needs to be on enforcement to let deadly drivers know that their actions won't be tolerated. That won't be easy, and the truth is we'll realistically never be able to get the number of pedestrian fatalities down to zero, but until we start cracking down on drivers, crossing the street is New York City is sometimes going to be like taking your own life into your hands.

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