New York 25-Mph Speed Limit Approved by Senate

Jun 19, 2014 11:26 AM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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A speed limit bill that passed the New York Senate this week could cut a pedestrian's risk of death while walking in New York City in half, an official said.

Introduced Monday by Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, the proposal is to lower the city's speed limit to 25 miles per hour, compared with the current limit of 30 mph, according to The New York Times. The bill has earned support from the de Blasio administration.

A pedestrian hit by a vehicle going 25 mph has a 1 in 10 chance of being killed, while a pedestrian struck at 30 mph has a 1 in 5 chance, said a memorandum supporting of the bill that was issued this week by the city's director of state legislative affairs, Sherif Soliman.

If the proposal becomes law, it would mark the biggest change yet under Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to eliminate New York City traffic deaths in the next decade.

"We have seen real movement over the past 24 hours," Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the mayor, said in a statement quoted by the Times. "We are very hopeful that we'll have action this session."

According to the memorandum from Soliman, a car's stopping distance at 25 mph is 23 percent shorter, resulting in a 45-foot cushion that could potentially stop crashes from happening at all.

The bill could be of a "larger culture shift" in a city known for drivers in a hurry, Caroline Samponaro, the senior director for campaigns and organizing at Transportation Alternatives, told the Times.

"In some ways, a lower speed limit is a down payment on the safety record we hope to have in 10 years," she said.

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