New York City is defending its fleet safety initiatives in response to a recent New York Post story. In the article, the Post cited an 11% spike in accidents involving city vehicles. However, the collision figures cited don't paint a complete picture, according to Keith Kerman, deputy commissioner and chief fleet officer for the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services.
Although collision numbers increased — from 5,726 in FY-2015 to 6,344 in FY-2016 — preventable collisions decreased from 2,873 to 2,815 in the same time period. Injuries involving collisions and fatalities involving collisions also decreased.
"NYC has actually made important progress with fleet safety and we think the New York Post article missed this," Kerman said. "The increase shown in the Mayor's Management Report reflects minor body damage collisions, broken mirrors, dings and scratches, and results from more thorough reporting of all vehicle damage, which we now require."
The Department of Citywide Services has boosted its safety efforts over the past two years. Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative seeks to end traffic deaths and injuries in the city. As part of the initiative, the department developed CRASH, a citywide collision tracking system using Assetworks Fleet Focus.
"Our training initiative has gone well. In the last two years, we have trained 23,195 drivers in the full-day safety course. Prior to Vision Zero, only 1,000 to 2,000 operators received safety training each year," Kerman said.
Additional safety initiatives from the fleet include tracking speed for city cars, installing truck sideguards, a major survey of over 10,000 city fleet operators, and banning hands-free cell phone use.