The streets will be alot safer. Maybe even completely. In line with Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Vision Zero" plan to eliminate all deaths of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists in New York City, new traffic safety legislation was passed this week by the City Council. 17 bills and resolutions on traffic safety were passed as a package on Thursday, May 29, 2014. The reforms include the designation of several new "slow zones" with a reduced speed limit of 20 mph and stricter penalties on reckless motorists and cab drivers.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito spoke to the AP saying, "We wanted to create a package to really enhance Vision Zero and show a commitment to making our streets safer," She said the need for such measures were crucial than ever as there has been a recent rise in pedestrian deaths. Last year, 286 people were killed in traffic accidents in New York City, almost as many as those who were homicide victims.
Some of the other reforms include a mandate to fix all broken traffic signals within 24 hours, stricter regulations on taxi drivers and tougher penalties on motorists who do not yield to pedestrians or bicyclists who have the right of way.
Still other reforms will need the approval of the state legislature before being enforced. Those include efforts to give the city control over an expanded program of speed cameras and red light cameras, and a measure to enforce tougher penalties on infractions like leaving the scene of an accident. The cameras are a big part of de Blasio's proposal which is modeled after a Swedish traffic safety that suggests that all traffic deaths can be prevented.
The mayor's plan also calls for an increase in the number of speed bumps and a task force to study the possible use of new taxi safety technology, such as a "black box"-style data recorder to track trips, an alarm that would alert passengers if the driver is speeding or a device that would stop the cab's meter from running if the driver speeds.