In the seemingly never-ending quest to make NYC streets safer for pedestrians and drivers alike, city officials have asked Google to reduce the number of left turns suggested on its city maps. According to a recent report, New York City has the highest fatality rate in the country for pedestrians hit by drivers making left turns, and being struck by a car is the leading fatality for children under 13. Two city council members are on a mission to reduce those numbers and they hope that teaming up with the popular map app will make all the difference.

NYC Traffic

As reported by NPR, NYC Council members Brad Lander, deputy leader of policy for the council, and Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the council’s transportation committee, wrote to the massive search engine’s web mapping service earlier this month requesting that the service deter NYC motorists from making left hand turns in and around the Big Apple. Rodriguez explained the severity of the issue, “The first cause of death for New York City children under 13 is not gangs, it’s not poverty, not violence. It’s being hit by cars and trucks.”

Related: DOT Debuts Curbside Haiku Signage to Raise Awareness for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

According to the WNYC report, 17 pedestrians and three cyclists were killed in NYC by left hand turning vehicles last year alone. Additionally, a 2013 study found that especially when drivers make “permitted” left turns (as opposed to “protected” turns,) they don’t look for obstacles 4 – 9 percent of the time. As the reports show, the results are often fatal.

Although they have yet to receive a reply from Google, the council members are determined to collaborate with the search engine to make NYC roads safer. “We haven’t heard back yet,” he added. “But we hope, knowing that Google is one of those good private entities that Google can look at this.”


Lead image via Chris Schnaars Flicker