Cars Keep Killing People in New York City

Cars, taxis and trucks sit in traffic in midtown Manhattan 15 August 2007 during the morning rush hour. The federal government has given New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg a postdated check of 354 million USD for his plan to ease city traffic through new tolls if he can win the approval of local lawmakers.The plan if enacted, calls for charging 8 USD to drive a car into Manhattan south of 86th street on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m (1800 GMT) and trucks would pay 21 USD. It would be the first city in the United States to have such a toll. AFP PHOTO TIMOTHY A. CLARY  (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

As if the pattern of law enforcement failing to punish deadly drivers weren't scary enough, traffic fatalities have actually increased in the last year. Between July 2011 and June 2012, according to the recently released Mayor's Management Report, 176 pedestrians or cyclists were killed, up from 158 the previous year, while overall traffic deaths have jumped 23 percent from 236 to 291. Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told the New York Times that while the agency typically considers figures over the course of a calendar year, "it does look like there's a rise." 

But it would've been worse without Sadik-Khan herself. She said she has personally "saved three or four people," who were looking at their phones while walking into traffic. "I don't think that the iPhone has invented an app yet that will ping you when you hit a crosswalk," Sadik-Khan said. "That breakup text can wait."

Drivers may share some of the blame as well: "[Speeding], driving while intoxicated, and running red lights or stop signs accounted for a combined 54 percent of motorist or passenger fatalities," the report says. In the words of Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White, "Anyone who walks or bikes across a New York City street knows that motorists are getting away with reckless driving, day in, day out."