Three days after Election Day (November 7th) New York City will reduce the speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25. This change is a major point in Mayor de Blasio’s vision zero plan. We will get into a comprehensive analysis of vision zero later on but in terms of lower speeds the thinking goes that the slower a vehicle is traveling the greater chance a pedestrian hit by said vehicle has of surviving. This is so incredibly logical that to argue it would be an exercise in insanity.
So let’s get a little crazy. Some of us who live in the five boroughs will remember the DOT public safety ads under the Bloomberg administration. Essentially these ads proclaimed that a person hit by a car going 30 miles an hour has an 80 percent chance of survival while a person hit by a vehicle traveling 40 miles an hour only has a 20 percent chance of survival. Therefore, according to the ad 30mph was the safest speed for New York City. Of course if 20 percent of collisions result in fatalities it is hard to begrudge the de Blasio administration (with an assist from Albany, this is New York after all) for reducing the speed limit further. That being said it must be asked of the administration at what point does safety end and undue taxation begin. Driving 30mph in New York City is not the easiest thing to do but it is reasonable. Those 5 miles may not seem like much but it is a huge difference in moving around the city. It is no secret that de Blasio and Governor Cuomo do not see eye to eye in terms of increasing revenue (political talk for taxes) but with a 25mph in New York City the government created a whole new stream of revenue under the banner of safety. Speed limits have always and will always serve two purposes: safety and revenue. Speeding tickets are easy money for municipalities. The TVB (traffic violations bureau) is not interested in negotiating on speeding tickets and if it is your word against the cops who do you think the judge will believe? Does the city care that points from a speeding ticket jeopardize a truck or cab drivers ability to earn a living? Do they care what speeding tickets do to a company’s safety rating? Do they care that there was a totally safe and justifiable speed limit in the city of New York already in place? That ka-ching, ka-ching sound emanating from city hall should answer all those questions.