NYC Streets Are Now Deadlier. Is it Because of iPhones?

Look out, everybody!

  • Look out, everybody!

In the last few years whenever critics would be like, “hey, NYPD, motorists are killing cyclists and pedestrians and you guys are barely investigating let alone making arrests!” Ray Kelly would always be like, “well, you know, the streets are safer than ever before.” Putting aside the reliability of NYPD statistics, Kelly can no longer use that excuse: traffic fatalities rose over the last year by 23 percent—the first such increase in five years, the Times reports. From July 2011 to June 2012, 291 people were killed in traffic accidents, compared to 236 in the year before.

“Though overall crashes fell slightly for the second straight year, 176 cyclists or pedestrians were killed in crashes, up from 158 the previous year. The other 115 deaths were motorists or their passengers, a sharp rise from the 78 drivers and passengers killed the year before.”

Moving violations issued by police fell 15 percent in the same time period, including a 22 percent drop in summonses for prohibited use of a cell phone.

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan suggested the iPhone could be at least partly to blame because of increases in distracted driving and distracted walking, though there is no data to back this up. “I don’t think that the iPhone has invented an app yet that will ping you when you hit a crosswalk,” she told the Times. “That breakup text can wait.”

Sadik-Khan often takes matters into her own hands and saves lives herself. She “said she had even ‘saved three or four people’ from walking into oncoming traffic herself, grabbing them as their heads remained bent down toward their phones. ‘Two of them were thankful, and two of them were, frankly, annoyed,’ she said.”

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart


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