Traffic incidents are a common daily occurrence. Anyone who has ever been on the roads is aware of motorists who speed, fail to obey traffic signs and weave in and out of traffic. Sometimes it is due to being in a hurry. Other times it is due to driving under the influence. Regardless of the circumstances, the consequences can be devastating. And, specifically, in NYC, getting hit by a car is a leading cause of injury-related deaths for children and senior citizens.
In order to keep residents safe, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the Department of Transportation (DOT)’s commissioner, Ydanis Rodriguez, have launched a major campaign to make New Yorkers aware of these dangers — and it is all part of the Vision Zero initiative.
While this is a commendable project to keep New York City roads safe, it is still important to remember that enforcement is not infallible. Issues such as radars that need to be recalibrated, as well as other circumstances, may come into play; and these can have an effect on your traffic case should you request a hearing.
Did you get a traffic ticket in New York as part of the Vision Zero initiative? Our traffic attorneys have extensive experience and they are ready to give you free advice on your available options. Call us at 212-683-7373, or fill out our online form today!
What is Vision Zero in New York City?
Vision Zero is a comprehensive plan to bring the number of traffic fatalities to zero (hence, its name). It originally started in NYC in 2014 under Mayor Bill de Blasio, with aims to make residents in all five boroughs safer and more attentive to safety concerns.
In May 2022, Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez announced an investment of over $900 million towards the campaign, to provide enough funding for corrective measures, as well as to ensure that the message reaches as many people as possible, and the information will be disseminated in nine languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Creole, Bengali, Korean, Russian, and Polish.
The content stresses the importance of being acutely aware of pedestrians and cyclists, with the main message being to slow down.
NYC residents can see Vision Zero campaign messaging across a variety of platforms, including billboards, newspapers, bus stops, magazine kiosks, radio, and online ads.
What is the Vision Zero Action Plan?
Vision Zero’s action plan requires a collective effort. This is not a matter of the government sweeping in to save the people. It specifically needs everyone to participate: legislators, city councils, law enforcement agencies, city residents, businesses, and anyone on the roads.
Vision Zero Implementation
As a starting point, there will now be strategically placed law enforcement monitoring the streets; especially in locations that are traditionally known to have a higher rate of traffic accidents. These areas are identified by reviewing crash data and their historical trends.
It also entails city entities taking into account the Vision Zero goals and incorporating them into their planning — for engineering, construction, urban development, transportation, land use, housing, and public affairs. This holistic approach takes into consideration all relevant factors, including human mistakes while driving and crossing streets.
The action plan also informs the citizenry of issues surrounding high-risk areas where accidents are more prone to happen, including answers regarding:
- Types of accidents (pedestrians, cyclists, vehicle collisions)
- Times of the day when they occur most often
This information helps city residents be more alert, and it also provides insights to planning agencies about corrective measures a specific area may need — such as improvements on infrastructure, adding more traffic regulating measures, and/or time-based turn restrictions. Knowing this information also allows for allocating adequate resources for such projects.
Speeding is the main factor upon which to focus. The faster a person drives, the shorter the time to react and to brake on time — if at all. Therefore, this component alone can significantly reduce injuries and deaths related to traffic violations. This is where city residents can do their part because it is a factor they can control.
By the same token, the educational materials provided within the Vision Zero Action Plan will continue to be disseminated in high-visibility areas on a regular basis. These include the main message of slowing down, as well as:
- Wearing seatbelts
- Eliminating distracted driving
- Wearing protective gear while riding bicycles
- Using crosswalks
Since New York City has over 8 million residents — and hosts over 60 million visitors annually — law enforcement officers alone cannot possibly monitor every single driver on every roadway. This is why automated enforcement tools are necessary to ensure motorists are complying with traffic safety regulations. These include:
- Speed Cameras
- Red Light Cameras
- Bus Lane Cameras
Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program
The Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program (DVAP) is a law that has been in effect since February 2021. It requires drivers with more than five red light tickets or more than 15 speed camera violations within one year to take a safety course administered by the Department of Transportation.
If a motorist fails to comply with this requirement, their vehicle may be impounded by the City Sheriff.
All drivers who are required to participate in the program receive a notice in the mail, and the driver has an opportunity to contest it.
The bill for this legislation was introduced in 2018, after a driver sped through a red light in Park Slope, killing two children and injuring their mothers.
The program is designed to run for three years. And at least three months before the program ends in February 2024, the Department of Transportation will issue a report on its effectiveness.
Vision Zero Results
Vision Zero did not start in New York City. It has been a worldwide effort to curb traffic fatalities, since the 1990s, when it was first implemented in Sweden. Since then, it has been launched in European and American cities; and it has resulted in noteworthy declines in pedestrian deaths and traffic fatalities: specifically, 44% in the United States and 41% in Edmonton, Canada.
In fact, Vision Zero measures have resulted in a reduction in motor vehicle crash deaths in every city where they have been implemented.
While the fatalities in New York have been reduced since Vision Zero was first launched in 2014, the new campaign seeks to see these numbers decrease even more, until eventually, they’re completely eliminated.
For more information, please visit the Official Website of the City of New York.
If You Think Your Ticket May Have Been Issued By Mistake, A New York Traffic Ticket Attorney Can Help
At Weiss & Associates, PC, we thoroughly respect city efforts to keep New York residents safe. In fact, we understand their need and importance. By the same token, we’re also experienced enough in this industry to know that sometimes, there are reasons to fight a traffic ticket.
If you have been pulled over for a traffic violation, let us help you. We offer an initial free consultation, flat fees, and experienced traffic lawyers who will show up on your behalf, so you do not have to waste time in court.
We have successfully fought thousands of traffic tickets in New York City and throughout New York state. Our skilled team of lawyers are ready to give you free advice on your available options. Call us at 212-683-7373, or fill out our online form today!
I suggest that the Zero Vision program is, first of all, unlawful in that it primarily a program where City Planners conduct traffic engineering in violation of Section 6512 of the state Education Law.
Second, the program is bound to be unsuccessful because it focuses on the driver rather than other road users including pedestrians who are paying attention to cell phones, bicycle riders, scooters (motorized and not), “limited use” motor cycles, and motor scooters.
Third, the program ignores the “exceptional” motorist who has no license, multiple suspensions or revocations, an unregistered and / or uninsured vehicle, or operates under the influence.
The final reason the program is an abject failure is that the Police Department refuses to take any enforcement action against any street user except law abiding motorists.
Eugene, it’s been a while. Always great to read your insightful comments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the lawfulness and prospects for the Zero Vision program. Only time will tell but hopefully it leads to fewer accidents.