Lever Ecker September 24, 2020 Personal injury
As fatal collisions and car accidents steadily rise, New York City officials are lowering speed limits on nine major streets that are considered some of the most dangerous. According to city data, there have already been more traffic-related deaths this year than in all of 2019. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the city’s traffic levels have died down tremendously, leading to a dramatic increase in speeding and reckless driving on major roads. Even as lockdown restrictions have lifted and traffic patterns are getting back to normal, speeding and aggressive driving continues to be an alarming issue.
The speed limit will drop to 25 miles per hour (mph), which is the standard limit for most of the city’s roads, on eight different streets. Those include portions or the entirety of:
The speed limit on the ninth street, Rockaway Boulevard in Queens, will decrease to 35 mph from 40.
When pedestrians or bicyclists get hit by a passenger vehicle that is traveling at 30 mph, they are about 70 percent more likely to be killed than when hit by a vehicle going 25 mph. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cutting the average speed limit by five percent can result in a 30% decrease in traffic fatalities and in turn increase traffic safety. Approximately 90 percent of victims survive traffic accidents when motor vehicles are traveling at 20 mph.
In 2014, a New York City law went into effect, dropping the default speed limit throughout the city to 25 mph. From 2014 to 2018, there was a consistent decline in fatal vehicle crashes.
Although the city is taking steps to reduce speeding and reckless driving, there may be additional unprecedented challenges still looming as a result of the pandemic. With sales of vehicles, bicycles, and scooters skyrocketing due to subway system cuts, more decisive action may need to be taken in order to regain street safety and prevent gridlock.