After announcing the city's crime rate was down in 2011, Mayor Bloomberg has more good news to close out the year! At a press conference held on Thursday, Bloomberg said that the number of traffic fatalities in the city has fallen to a record low, with the fewest number since records were kept in 1910.
According to Bloomberg, 237 traffic deaths occurred in 2011, 40 percent fewer than in 2001. In the announcement, the mayor praised the statistics and touted the recent news that the life expectancy for New Yorkers had reached an all-time high:
We've made progress in every area of traffic safety due to our willingness to take new, creative approaches to longstanding challenges with safety redesigns and through aggressive traffic enforcement. We've focused on making our streets safer for all who use them - no matter how they decide travel - and it's another reason New Yorkers are living longer and another reason our city is safer than ever before.
Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly were also at hand for the announcement. Sadik-Khan, a longtime champion of traffic safety in the city, was recently named by TIME as a "Game Changer" for her efforts and focus on pedestrian safety. Sadik-Khan was also behind the department's "Curbside Haikus" aimed to help promote traffic safety through unique public art.
Kelly accredited the NYPD as another reason behind the record low in traffic deaths and said, "NYPD traffic enforcement is aimed at saving lives, and that's reflected in the million summonses we issue for moving violations annually."
The good news contrasts with high profile recent traffic deaths, including the death of Mathieu Lefevre, a 30-year Brooklyn artist who died after being struck by a truck in September. Lefevere's family accused the NYPD of "grossly mishandling" the investigation, with many saying police held a bias against cyclists.
This Christmas, a tragic hit-and-run left a single mother dead in the streets. 38-year old Donna Fountain was found with a crumpled list of her life's dreams in her pocket.