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NYC Sees Rise In Traffic-Related Deaths For First Time In 3 Years

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio's signature "Vision Zero" campaign to reduce traffic fatalities appears to have taken a troubling U-turn.

New data shows deaths on city streets and highways are up for the first time in three years, CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer reported.

"I want to take the bull by the horns and give a progress report on Vision Zero," DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said Thursday. "The Vision Zero numbers for 2016, especially the key metric of fatalities, are not all we would want them to be."

As of Monday, 192 people have died on city streets, compared to 178 last year.

There are also more pedestrian deaths: 114 this year, compared to 96 last year, as well as more cyclists losing their lives: 17 this year, versus 14.

"I've often said that unfortunately progress will not always be linear. But the best we can do is continue to dedicate ourselves to Vision Zero and all that it stands for," Trottenberg said.

Mayor de Blasio announced Vision Zero in January 2014 and the city made steady progress in making the streets safer. This is the first time in three years there has been an increase in deaths.

Kramer asked Trottenberg whether there is a specific reason for the uptick.

"I want to emphasize again, we're not talking about numbers, we're talking about our fellow New Yorkers. Every fatality affects us all," she said. "I don't think we can point to any particular thing we see. I always think the four D's play a factor in crashes: drunk, drugs, distracted and drowsy."

On Thursday, de Blasio was optimistic that Vision Zero is on the right road.

"Let me remind people we started Vision Zero because the number of traffic-related fatalities in the city was approaching the number of people murdered in a typical year," he said. "Vision Zero has started to turn that around, but we have a lot more work to do."

Officials are particularly concerned about the period after Daylight Saving Time ends.

Last year, the number of highway deaths jumped 40 percent in the last two months of the year as it grew darker earlier.

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