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Paterson Announces 2007 as Safest Year on NYS Highways in History

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that 2007 was the safest year on New York’s highways since the State began keeping records on highway safety in the early 1920s. According to final Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records for 2007, the total number of traffic fatalities decreased from 1,433 in 2006 to 1,317 in 2007, an eight percent reduction. Additionally, data from the DMV shows that in 2007 motorcycle crash fatalities decreased by nearly 11 percent, large truck crash fatalities decreased by nearly 20 percent and pedestrian crash fatalities decreased by 14 percent.

“In order to continue on a path of historic safety for New York’s drivers and passengers, a strong commitment towards making the State’s roadways the safest in the nation is essential,” said Governor Paterson. “That is why New York State will continue to maintain strong partnerships with the traffic safety community, for the successful implementation of driver safety programs, child passenger programs and traffic enforcement details.”

New York’s traffic safety programs are funded through the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC), which is comprised of 12 statewide agencies who all play a significant role in reducing crashes. The GTSC distributes federal highway safety grants to state, local and not-for-profit agencies to conduct various highway and traffic safety initiatives. Each year, after analyzing accident data and conducting program research, the GTSC – with oversight from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and input from local agencies – determines program funding priorities.

Traffic safety programs in the State that have contributed to an increased level of safety on New York’s roadways include:

The Buckle Up New York (BUNY) initiative: A comprehensive enforcement and education strategy initiated in 1999 in an effort to increase passenger safety restraint use. Since the program began, seat belt use in New York has increased from nearly 74 percent to a record high this year of 89 percent.

Special Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP): A unique effort that correlates crash-causing traffic violations or behaviors with specific times and places of occurrence. The STEP funds are generally utilized to fund speed, aggressive driving and a number of other enforcement programs that allow agencies to tailor implementation to jurisdictional-specific traffic problems.

Child Passenger Safety (CPS): A program aimed at the proper use of child passenger restraint systems. Efforts for CPS include child passenger safety education, car seat checks, distribution of seats and child seat fitting stations.

Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated (STOP-DWI): One of the most aggressive DWI programs in the nation, which was enacted for the purpose of coordinating local efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related crashes in a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining highway safety program. The STOP-DWI program permits each of the State’s counties to establish a STOP-DWI Program which qualifies for the return of all fines collected for alcohol and other drug-related traffic offences occurring within its jurisdiction.

State Police Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt said: “I could not be more pleased by this news, but I am not surprised. The level of commitment to traffic enforcement from our troopers and law enforcement statewide has never been higher and the support for these efforts from GTSC has been stalwart. That dedication translates into lives saved. Last year troopers issued more than one million tickets for the first time in history, so it was certainly my hope that their efforts would have a positive impact on safety.”

(Dov Gordon – YWN)

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