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NYC Allowed to Cut Speed Limit to 25 MPH to Lower Traffic Deaths

A bill that would allow New York City to lower its speed limit to 25 miles per hour was approved by the state legislature.

The measure, backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, would reduce the limit in most areas from 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour and was passed yesterday. More than 250 people are killed and almost 4,000 seriously injured in city traffic crashes each year, according to a memo by the bill’s sponsor, Senator Jeffrey Klein, a Bronx Democrat.

“Slowing down by even five miles per hour is going to save lives that otherwise could have been lost in senseless traffic accidents,” Klein said in an e-mailed statement.

Rich Azzopardi, a spokeswoman for Governor Andrew Cuomo, declined to comment on the measure.

De Blasio, 53, took office in January as the first Democrat to lead the metropolis in two decades. Lowering the limit is a key component of his Vision Zero plan to end pedestrian traffic deaths, which also includes public outreach and enhanced police enforcement. In April, the legislature approved his plan to add 120 speed cameras in school zones.

Lowering the limit to 25 mph would reduce the chance of fatalities in accidents involving pedestrians to 10 percent from 20 percent, the memo said.

Vision Zero is modeled on a program in Sweden, where a law adopted by the parliament in 1997 sets the goal for traffic fatalities at zero. Since its adoption, traffic engineers have reworked roadways to limit the danger of human error and traffic fatalities have been cut in half, the New York Times reported last month.

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