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What Causes New York’s High Number of Car Accidents?

Given a substantial population with lots of traffic city-wide, New York is no stranger to motor vehicle accidents. In response, traffic safety laws are taken seriously and constantly amended to align with modern technology and demographics. From the introduction of rideshare travel to the Covid-19 pandemic, New York has seen an upward trend in vehicle safety. 

The 20-year stretch from 1990-2010 had seen a considerable decline in accident-related deaths. In 1990, 46,800 accident victims lost their lives within a year of their accident. By 2010, that number had fallen almost 30%, to 32,885. But usually, the tragedy inflicted by a traffic collision does not take a year. More than 95% of victims who are fatally injured will die within 30 days of an accident. 

Over the last 10 years, there wasn’t a steady trend, but the following data was collected:

  • More than 55% of all fatal crashes involved “road excursions,” in which a vehicle crosses median markers, lane lines, or leaves the roadway entirely. One in four fatal crashes occurred at an intersection. Queens had the most accidents relating to road excursions. They currently have the second highest amount of bike lanes, after Manhattan. 
    • According to the US Department of Transportation, nearly half of all traffic accidents in the country occur at intersections.
  • About 31% of all fatal car accidents involve driver intoxication. Brookhaven in Long Island holds the lead for the county with the highest number of DUI’s per year. 
  • Staten Island reported to have the least number of car accidents, overall and per capita. Nevertheless compensation from legal suits exist all boroughs, including the BronxBrooklyn, and Queens
  • Driver inattention contributed to more crashes than any other human factor. Nearly one in four accidents involved distraction. The second main factor was tailgating; the third was the failure to yield the right of way.
  • In non-fatal accidents, drivers were more likely to be injured than anyone else.

Anyone who lives, works, or visits New York regularly is well aware of traffic congestion in the city. Traffic accidents in the city are part of everyday life.

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