Where Most Car Accidents Happen in NYC

Where Most Car Accidents Happen in NYC
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Why do people come to New York City? People come for myriad reasons. They come to see Broadway plays, the Statue of Liberty, Time Square or any of the many tourist sites NYC is known for. Some travel by train or plane. Others take matters into their own hands and drive in with their own vehicle or a rental. Add these tourists to the New Yorkers themselves and the congestion on the streets can be mind-boggling.

For those interested in the numbers, when the New York Daily News looked into them in 2019, they found that 8.6 million residents, 4.7 million workers, and an astounding 60.7 million visitors jostle for space on NYC roads in any given year.


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NYC Injury Accidents by The Numbers

Although the borough of Manhattan is what comes to mind when people hear New York City, of the 4.4 million vehicles that drive on NYC thoroughfares on any given day, only 717,000 travel through the heart of Manhattan. Yes, Manhattan does see its share of vehicle accidents, but according to NYC police records, the reality is Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx have more. Only Staten Island has less.

New York City has, on average, 228,000 vehicle accidents a year. Fortunately, in most incidents, only the bodywork of the vehicle is damaged. But for some unfortunate motorists, this is not the case. According to NYPD records, as of October 2021, 9,982 of these accidents involved injuries to either a pedestrian, a cyclist, the driver of one or both of the vehicles, or one or more passengers.

Brooklyn had the most with 3,171 incidents. Queens was next with 2,833. The Bronx had 1,761. Manhattan had 1,720 and Staten Island had 497. And sad to say, there were 273 fatalities, the highest number in seven years


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Other factors of note include that pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs increased by 43% that year, and while Brooklyn experienced an average of one fatality every four days, in The Bronx, more bicyclists were killed over the period covering 2020 and 2021 than in the eight years spanning 2012 through 2019

Why Most NYC Accidents Happen

As in vehicle accidents anywhere in the country, the majority are caused when the driver is distracted to the extent that they take their eyes off the road for even a second or two. It could be that he is taking a bite of a bagel or a sip of coffee, selecting music on the radio, scolding kids in the backseat, or restraining a canine passenger. And, of course, in today’s connected world, some are talking on the phone or glancing at a text message.

But although distracted driving is a major problem, there are other contributing factors, as the cited police report shows:

  • Driver inattention: 2,782 cases
  • Tailgating, following too close: 824 cases
  • Failing to yield the right of way: 774 cases
  • Disregarding lane markings: 517 cases
  • Driving at an unsafe speed: 414 cases
  • Failure to merge or passing too closely: 402 cases
  • Unsafe backing up 317 cases
  • Disregarding red lights or other traffic controls: 305 cases
  • Inexperienced driver: 241 cases
  • Unsafe or aggressive serial lane changes: 234 cases

It is important to note that these are only instances where an actual police report was filed. The numbers don’t reflect those drivers who went their way without notifying the police. And as any driver can testify, there were many close cases that were prevented only because one driver was alert enough to avoid a collision.


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The Most Hazardous Place for an NYC Collision

Intersections have the dubious distinction of being among the riskiest places for motorists to navigate because of the way two or, in some cases, more thoroughfares come together. According to NHTSA statistics, 40% of all vehicle crashes take place at intersections. Since such crashes tend to be side impact collisions, also called T-bones or broadsides, they can involve more serious injuries because the side panels, even with airbags, don’t provide the same level of protection as the front cabin.

Intersections can be confusing. And nowhere is this more true than in Manhattan with its complex signage, one-way streets, reduced speeds, and the sheer number of pedestrians often crossing them impulsively, all in addition to delivery trucks and cyclists.

As would be expected by anyone familiar with Manhattan, the intersections where most collisions take place are where busy cross streets like 42nd and 34th Streets with multiple lanes cross equally busy multi-lane 6th and 7th avenues or areas on the Lower East Side where old factories and tenements now hold trendy restaurants and fashionable vendors that bring in drivers from the suburbs or other outlying areas where drivers are not accustomed to navigating the resulting congestion at Intersections along Rivington Street or where Kenmare crosses the Bowery.

No-Turn on Red

Another contributing factor to intersection accidents anywhere in NYC is that although most locations allow right turns at red traffic lights after checking that the way is clear, this is not true in New York City. A red light is a red light – no exceptions. However, some out-of-towners are either unaware of or forget about this anomaly, so they drive through with only a cursory glance and, as a result, hit a vehicle with the green light. And we can’t forget about impatient drivers who try to beat a yellow light and fail, resulting in a collision.

Single Car Crashes

There are also one-car crashes where a driver tries to avoid a hazard and, in the process, hits a parked vehicle. In addition, there are cases where the driver is dangerously fatigued and falls asleep or is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These, as well as all of the above instances, fall under the heading of negligent driving.

How a New York Attorney Proves Negligence

Suppose you are a victim who has been injured in an accident with a negligent driver. In that case, a car accident attorney will follow the same four-step procedure to prove that driver is guilty of negligent driving as he would prove a physician was negligent in providing care. Namely, he will seek to prove that.

  • The party had a duty to drive carefully and observe the traffic rules of New York City.
  • He breached that duty by disregarding them, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or while extremely fatigued.
  • His breach was the cause of your injuries.
  • These injuries resulted in financial damages over and above whatever reimbursement insurance provided.

When people ask if it is worthwhile to get legal representation and file a personal injury lawsuit after an NYC car accident, I ask them if they feel that insurance will fully compensate them not only for their medical bills but for the time missed at work. At the same time, they recuperated either at home or in a rehabilitative setting, and for all the pain and suffering they went through and are still suffering?

Furthermore, do they have the time or knowledge of how insurance works to adequately fight for the compensation due to them? In most cases, the answer is no on both fronts.

If you have been involved in an NYC accident, don’t hesitate to call to see how our team of experienced auto accident lawyers can help you.

John Tucker

John began his career in the insurance claims industry in 1990, initially working for the insurance carrier Robert Plan.

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