Public Safety New York City
March 21st, 2024 3 Minute Read Press Release

New Report: How to Minimize Deadly Crashes in New York

Street camera data can help identify vehicles mostly likely to be involved in deadly crashes

NEW YORK, NY — Last week an 8-year-old boy was struck and killed in Queens by a pickup truck driver with a history of offenses. And a 58-year-old woman was run over by a dump truck two weeks ago—the same vehicle that killed a Queens crossing guard last October. Though Vision Zero just celebrated its 10-year anniversary, these incidents remind us we are far from reaching the policy goal of zero traffic deaths. In a new report that’s the first effort to quantify how camera data can help predict and prevent traffic deaths, senior fellow Nicole Gelinas argues one way to minimize traffic deaths is by using camera surveillance to disincentivize New York City’s most reckless drivers from getting behind the wheel. 

In her original analysis, Gelinas finds vehicles involved in deadly crashes are disproportionately likely to have accumulated a long record of red-light and speed-camera violations in the years and months before the fatal crash. She estimates taking such vehicles off the road before their drivers kill themselves or someone else could prevent up to 47 car-crash deaths each year, saving the lives of 22 pedestrians, 21 motor-vehicle occupants or motorcyclists, and four bicyclists or operators of other two-wheeled motorized devices.   

New York’s policy goal should be to take vehicles (with the exception of special-purpose emergency vehicles such as ambulances) that have accumulated five or more speed or red-light tickets within one year off the road. To that end, the city should deter drivers of such vehicles from accumulating five or more tickets in the first place by implementing several policy changes which include:  

  • Escalating fines after the first two tickets. The state legislature should allow the city to levy an escalating fine after the first two camera tickets.  
  • Revocation of registration. The state legislature should allow for the revocation of New York State vehicle registration after five red-light or speed tickets within 12 months, with warnings transmitted to the vehicle owner after the first ticket.  
  • Revival and reform of the dangerous vehicle abatement program under state control. The state Department of Motor Vehicles should take responsibility for reviving the program which mandates a safety course for drivers with more than five red-light camera or 15 speed camera violations within 12 months or their vehicle is subject to impoundment.  
  • Explore market signals to deter dangerous driving. The state and city should explore how insurance companies could use ticket data to adjust their insurance rates.  
  • Education. The city should launch an outreach campaign to make parents and other relatives aware that drivers with a history of red-light and speed camera tickets are disproportionately more likely to become involved in a fatal crash. 

Click here to view the full report. 


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