Photo Courtesy of Edwin Torres/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor de Blasio last week announced that the “Dusk and Darkness” campaign had resulted in 23 fewer New Yorkers lost to traffic accidents between November and February compared to the previous year.
By Forum Staff
“Dusk and Darkness,” the fall and winter traffic-safety campaign to reduce the seasonal surge in evening crashes involving pedestrians, had resulted in 23 fewer New Yorkers lost between November and February compared to the previous year – a 26-percent decline, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last Thursday.
In October 2016, de Blasio announced the multi-agency Dusk and Darkness campaign, based on a close analysis of year-over-year crash trends, which had showed that the earlier onset of darkness in the fall and winter was highly correlated to an increase in traffic injuries and fatalities. Prior to 2016, severe crashes involving pedestrians increased by nearly 40 percent in the early evening hours compared to crashes outside the fall and winter.
In response, the City Department of Transportation, Police Department, and other agencies collaborated on a major education and enforcement campaign. With a new TV ad campaign, drive-time radio announcements and palm cards distributed to over one million drivers, DOT’s “Your Choices Matter” messaging effectively reached more New Yorkers.
The City said the NYPD stepped up enforcement, especially between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., focusing on those violations with the greatest effect on pedestrian safety. According to the department, during the Dusk and Darkness campaign, officers wrote 19,056 violations for failure-to-yield, a 17.1 percent increase over the previous year; and 57,430 violations for speeding, an 11.4 percent increase. Overall, for all Vision Zero-related offenses (which also include disobeying a sign, improper turns and illegal cell phone use), the NYPD wrote 243,943 violations, a more-than 10-percent increase from the previous year. The enforcement and education efforts together helped contribute to a dramatic decrease in seasonal fatalities – 66 fatalities between November and March 7 compared to 89 deaths in the same period the previous year, a 26-percent decline.
Additionally, as of March 8, there have been 33 traffic fatalities to date this year in in the five boroughs. In 2016, the year with the fewest deaths in the City’s recorded history, there had been 41 fatalities by the same date, according to the administration.
“The statistics showing a 26 percent decline in the number of traffic fatalities this past fall and winter are very encouraging and show that these traffic safety efforts are having an impact,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Mayor de Blasio, the New York City Department of Transportation and the NYPD deserve to be commended for implementing this successful safety campaign. New Yorkers should continue to drive carefully and look out for one another.”
City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), chairman of the Committee on Transportation, added, “Targeted interventions like the Dusk and Darkness campaign have proven successful in lowering traffic fatalities. This data-oriented approach, showing where and when crashes take place, can help city enforcement officers and Vision Zero street teams stop crashes before they occur. This was a laudable initiative and shows how important enforcement is in stopping speeding and erratic driving. As always, lives are at stake and the work of the DOT and NYPD is crucial. To drivers, the biggest responsibility is in your hands, so please take care when behind the wheel.”