N.Y. Gov. Pataki: Number of Fatal Crashes at Lowest Level Since 1920

January 10, 2005

New York Gov. George Pataki on Monday announced that the number of fatal crashes on New York State’s highways continue to decline. Traffic statistics compiled by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) showed fewer traffic fatalities and the lowest number of fatal crashes in the state since 1920, the first year these records were kept.

“Thanks to the outstanding work of State and local law enforcement officials, a tougher DWI law and proven traffic safety initiatives like ‘Buckle Up New York,’ the number of fatal traffic accidents in New York are at their lowest level in more than 80 years,” the Governor said. “But we’re committed to doing even more to make our roadways even safer, and that is why I will again renew my call this Session to pass tougher laws that further crack down on drunk driving and deadly drivers.”

In his State of the State Address last Wednesday, Gov. Pataki said that he will again propose deadly driver legislation as part of his comprehensive anti-crime package that he will submit to the Legislature this Session. The Governor proposed a bill last year that would help remove dangerous drivers from New York’s roadways by giving prosecutors the tools they need to penalize irresponsible drivers who needlessly put their fellow New Yorkers at risk.

Statistics show the rate of 1.1 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is the safest year since records began in 1920, with a rate of 16.32 per hundred million vehicle miles. Figures compiled by DMV and GTSC showed that there were 1,351 fatal crashes and 1,477 people were killed on New York’s roadways in 2003, compared to 1,439 people killed in 1920. However, there were significantly fewer vehicles on the highways in 1920. In 2002, there were 1,390 fatal crashes and 1,509 deaths on New York’s roads.

New York State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett said, “New York’s tough laws targeting seatbelt violators and impaired and aggressive drivers, combined with strict enforcement, has made New York one of the safest states in the nation in which to drive. The vast majority of New Yorkers continue to help maintain this reputation by buckling up while on the road.”

The Institute of Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) compiled the data for the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC).

Additional statistics compiled by the DMV and GTSC show:

* A rate of 13 deaths per 100,000 licensed drivers is the safest year on record (these records on drivers licenses go back to 1931 when there were approximately 3,010,000 licenses issued, today there are more than 10-million licensed drivers).
* The rate of deaths per 100,000 population was 7.7 in 2003, which is the safest year on record (this measure was introduced in 1966, and was 16.0 at that time). – Vehicle occupant fatalities were down more than 4.2 percent from 2002.
* Over the past three decades, the number of fatal crashes in New York State has declined by more than 50%. There were 2,843 fatal crashes in 1973; 1,918 fatal crashes in 1983; 1,623 fatal crashes in 1993; and 1,351 fatal crashes in 2003.

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