In just one month in New York City (February 2020), there were 13,586 motor vehicle collisions. In those crashes, 3,406 people were injured, and 17 people were killed. If those numbers hold true for all of 2020, then New York City may have as many as 163,032 reportable car accidents for the year.
Although we have made significant technological advances when it comes to the design of vehicles, that hasn’t necessarily increased our level of safety. In fact, it may have even decreased our safety, as the leading cause of accidents in the city in February 2020 was driver inattention. All of the gadgets that are designed to make us safer or our lives easier may actually serve to distract drivers from what they should be doing: focusing on the road.
Each of us can take responsibility to avoid accidents, such as by putting our phones away when we are behind the wheel. At Siler & Ingber, we have developed a new tool that may also help increase your safety: a Route Risk Calculator. Using this tool, you can determine just how safe your planned New York City route is — and then make better decisions about how to get to where we want to go.
As New York car accident lawyers, we see the results of collisions in the greater NYC area every day. We developed the Route Risk Calculator as a way for drivers to pick better (safer) routes. The tool was developed using publicly-available statistics from accidents and other traffic incidents in New York City.
Using this data, we created a grid of New York City. Each square within the grid is assigned a score based on factors such as the number of car crashes that have happened there in the past year. This score is on a scale from A to F, with A being the safest and F being the least safe.
Once a user has plugged in their starting and ending points, the calculator will analyze the safety score of each grid square along the route. It will then average the scores of every grid along the route and provide a grade from A to F. If there is more than one way to get from one place to another, then the tool will provide grades for each proposed route.
The Route Risk Calculator is designed to be easy to use. To get started, you just need to input your starting and ending locations. The calculator will give you one or more route options, with a score for each route.
With this score in mind, you can make a decision about how you should get to where you need to go. If there is more than one option, then you may choose the route with the better score. If you are just given one route, then you may need to be extra careful when driving if it has a low score.
For example, if you are traveling from Staten Island to the Bronx you have two options of how to go: through New Jersey on the New Jersey Turnpike, or across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and through the city. In this situation, both routes have a score of B. You can then make a decision about which way to go based on factors like toll amounts, traffic, or even personal preference.
In other situations, the scores for the route may be different. You may then take the route scores into consideration when figuring out how to get to your destination.
As an initial matter, it is important to recognize that this tool was built using historical traffic data. The algorithm that assigns a score to each grid across the city isn’t meant to predict the future. Instead, it is meant to be something that can help you as you use your own judgment about the best route to take.
In any given month, there may be over 10,000 motor vehicle collisions in New York City. Using the Route Risk Calculator can give you important data that can be used to reduce your risk of an accident. If you know that a particular intersection is dangerous or that a roadway has a relatively high number of crashes, you can use that information to make better decisions about how and where to drive. You may not be able to avoid certain streets or roads that have a low safety score — but you can be more alert to other drivers and potential dangers to lower the likelihood of being in an accident.
For example, the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street in Brooklyn has a score of F. Going through this intersection may be the best way to get to where you need to go — or it may be otherwise hard to avoid this particular intersection. Knowing that there are a relatively high number of crashes there can inform your driving choices, even if you still go down that particular road.
While this tool does not guarantee safety, it can be a source of information to lower your risk of being in an accident. Our goal is to have people throughout the city and surrounding areas use the Route Risk Calculator to make better decisions about where and how to drive. Even if you need to drive through an intersection or down a road with a low safety score, the knowledge you gain from this tool may empower you to drive more carefully in areas that you know are dangerous.