New York City traffic deaths rise during Covid-19 pandemic

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

New York City is on course this year to record the highest number of deaths of drivers and passengers since it launched a traffic safety initiative in 2014:

Through Dec. 16 this year, New York City had recorded 234 total road deaths, including pedestrians and cyclists. They include 115 car drivers, motorcyclists and passengers who have been killed, a 69% increase from the same period last year and the highest number of such deaths since 2006. Meanwhile, pedestrian deaths are on track to reach a record low this year.

The fatalities have mounted despite the total number of crashes in which people were injured or killed falling to about 22,000 for the period from April through Nov. 30, about 30% lower than the same period last year, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of transportation department data. For every 1,000 serious crashes during the pandemic, there were 8.6 deaths—almost twice as many in the past three years.

Ms. Kite-Laidlaw said the increase in road deaths has been concentrated on highways and in the outer boroughs, especially in Queens, where fatalities including pedestrians and cyclists rose about 25%, and in the Bronx, where they rose about 50%, compared to the previous three years.


[Julia Kite-Laidlaw, the transportation department’s head of policy for Vision Zero, the city program to reduce road deaths] said that of the 66 motor vehicle occupants who died through Dec. 16 in New York City, 23 weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Among motorcyclists who died in a crash, only 14 of the 49 riders were properly licensed and registered.


  1. Dave says:

    I’m surprised that there were any traffic fatalities in NYC before Covid, because traffic rarely exceeded five miles per hour.

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