City Safety / 4 min read
Aug 29, 2016

Traffic Crashes are Not Accidents: Reducing Fatalities in NYC

More than 40,000 individuals could die in traffic crashes in the US this year, and another 2.3 million injured or disabled.

On average, 100+ people are dying daily on American roads. In cities like New York, the costs of bad driving are especially high. Every two hours, a New Yorker is killed or seriously injured by a vehicle.

With Labor Day around the corner, the National Safety Council is predicting more than 430 deaths during the holiday weekend. As we near this last weekend of summer travel, we wanted to remind drivers to be cautious on the roads.

To hear how organizations are helping to make major cities like New York City safer, Zendrive recently spoke with Paul White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

Slowing Down to Speed Progress

At Transportation Alternatives and the City of New York’s Vision Zero Task Force, there are no such things as traffic accidents. Traffic crashes are preventable. 90% of crashes are due to human error, and drivers can make all the difference.

The speed they are driving at is especially pivotal.

In a culture that glorifies the fast and furious, Transportation Alternatives was successful in helping to reduce the speed limit across 6,000 miles of streets in New York from 30 to 25 mph.

The non-profit group also worked with city officials and designers to expand dedicated turn lanes and bike lanes throughout the city, creating more protected space for the most vulnerable people on NYC streets – pedestrians and bicyclists.

“We have to reduce the carnage and it’s absolutely possible through a combination of systematic changes to our roads, enforcement, education, and technology.”

– Paul White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives

paul white vz

Telematics Innovation to Track Progress

One challenge, however, is being able to track progress in driving behavior. White believes smartphone telematics will become an increasingly important part of the safety movement.

“Historically, expensive hardware technology has been the primary means of capturing and sharing driving analytics to measure progress,” explains White. “Now, companies like Zendrive are enabling taxi, limousine, chauffeur and professional car companies to easily track and personalize driving behavior using smartphone technology.”

Captured data enables fleet owners to provide more accurate feedback, helping individual drivers to better understand their driving performance. Demonstrating safer driving also initiates a positive feedback loop. For instance, fleet owners can prove to insurers that their drivers are safer. Insurers can then lower their fleet’s premiums, and any savings can be reinvested towards better driving behavior (e.g., performance-based bonuses for safer drivers).

“When a driver sees his or her personal data, we hope that driver chooses to trade safety over convenience every time. Smartphone-powered road safety can be a breakthrough moment in a series of systematic changes.”

– Paul White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives

If you’re in New York City, be sure to check out Transportation Alternatives and the City of New York’s Vision Zero Task Force.

Visit www.zendrive.com and follow us @zendrive for more information.


Zendrive’s mission is to make the world’s roads safer through data and analytics. By leveraging mobile sensor data, we deliver actionable insights that improve safety for passengers and drivers worldwide, and provide insurers and fleets with direct line-of-sight into driving behavior and risk, with the ability to meaningfully reduce that risk along with operational costs. Launched in 2013 and based in San Francisco, Zendrive has analyzed billions of driving miles and trillions of data points.