MANHATTAN, N.Y. — The number of fatal car accidents that occurred in New York City during the COVID-19 outbreak soared even though the number of cars on the road fell dramatically. According to a recent article published by the New York Daily News, the total number of miles traveled by New York City motorists across the five boroughs of the City dropped by 76% from late March through early April. The number of road miles traveled by car in New York since that period has increased to almost 30% of the pre-pandemic traffic volume. Meanwhile, the traffic accident fatality rate from January of 2020 until July 15, 2020, decreased by nine percent compared to 2019 death rates, despite many fewer vehicles on the road.
Data derived from the New York Police Department’s database suggests that 103 people died in New York City car accidents from January 2020 to July 15, 2020. During the identical timeframe in 2019, 113 people died in auto accidents in New York City. The number of motorcycle accident deaths and vehicle passenger deaths have soared during the pandemic. The Department of Transportation for New York City indicated that 52 motorcycle riders and motor vehicle passengers died in the first six and one-half months of 2020 compared to 39 in 2019 during the period from January to July 15.
Fewer cars on the road in New York City also meant fewer pedestrian and bicycle deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bicycle deaths and pedestrian fatalities, combined as one statistical category, dropped to 50 from 74 recorded between January to July of 2019.
Traffic experts say that empty streets invite motorists to speed. Speed cameras mounted throughout New York City caught one and a half times more speeders than in the first part of 2019.
City traffic experts were amazed at the statistics generated during the COVID-19 pandemic. A generally accepted principle of traffic management suggests that traffic congestion leads to more deaths. However, the numbers generated in 2020 prove that speeding on open roads is also deadly.
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