City says Traffic Deaths are Down, Advocates Concerned About Increase in Hit-and-Run Incidents

NY1 has learned exclusively that the number of traffic deaths in the five boroughs is going down. Criminal justice reporter Dean Meminger has more on that story.

Back in 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio launched an ambitious initiative called Vision Zero.

The goal — to have zero traffic deaths by the year 2024.

On Tuesday — with another year in the books — the mayor said the program is working.

"I believe in vision zero 110%," de Blasio said.  "And now have three years running where it has produced better results each year."

New figures show there were 225 traffic deaths in 2016.

That's down from 234 deaths the previous year a decrease of nearly four percent.

Nearly 300 people were killed in 2013, before de Blasio took office.

The advocacy group Transportation Alternatives applauds the Vision Zero program and the overall decrease in deaths.

But the head of the group says far too many people are still being struck and killed by cars, trucks and buses.

"Hit and runs are up sharply in 2016, a whopping 34%," said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. "And we know with certainty that fatalities for pedestrians and bicyclists are up markedly in 2016."

One-hundred-and-forty pedestrian fatalities were recorded in 2016, one more than the year before.

Eighteen people on bikes were killed, up four from 2015.

But the number of drivers and passengers who died in crashes dropped dramatically.

Transportation Alternatives says more money has to be pumped into Vision Zero to save lives.

"The DOT must have more resources so they can apply more safe street redesigns to more New York City streets that are inherently dangerous," said Transportation Alternative's White.

Appearing here on NY1's Road to City Hall the mayor said Vision Zero is going to pick up the pace this year.

"There are going to be more and more of those traffic redesigns," the mayor said. "We put a huge amount of capital dollars into that, you are going to see more and more each years. You are going to see a lot more enforcement by the NYPD particularly on speeding and failure to yield to pedestrians in intersections."

The mayor says he will also be pushing Albany to allow for more speed cameras to be placed around schools.

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