Mayor de Blasio on Thursday announced the return of the “Dusk and Darkness” campaign and unveiled the new “Alive at 25” program.
By Forum Staff
As part of the Vision Zero initiative, the City Department of Transportation, Taxi and Limousine Commission, and Police Department recently rolled out the third annual Dusk and Darkness campaign and introduced the new Alive at 25 program.
On a citywide “Day of Awareness” Thursday, City officials reminded drivers that historically, after daylight saving time ends, crashes involving pedestrians dramatically increase, especially during evening hours.
Alive at 25 is directed at younger drivers, between the ages of 128 and 25, who were behind the wheel in 20 percent of fatal crashes last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio noted.
“We are relentlessly pursuing Vision Zero and working to save lives every single day,” Hizzoner added. “Our Dusk and Darkness campaigns help us further that goal, especially as nighttime hours—and dangerous driving—increase. At the same time, educating our young drivers will help curb dangerous driving habits before they take hold, making the road safer for everyone.”
City officials on Thursday cited what they characterized as encouraging fatality statistics from the Dusk and Darkness campaign the previous two years. In the five years before the campaign began, NYC averaged 63.4 traffic fatalities in the period between Nov. 1 and March 15—many of them in the evening hours. In the first year of Dusk and Darkness, the overall fatality number declined to 51; in the second year, fatalities declined further to 44.
For Dusk and Darkness 3.0, the City announced the following:
• Increased evening/nighttime enforcement: NYPD will begin focusing enforcement resources on the most hazardous violations (speeding and failure-to-yield to pedestrians), with precincts increasing their on-street presence around sunset hours when data show serious pedestrian crashes increase. The department will also focus resources on drunk-driving efforts, as the evening and nighttime hours in the fall and winter have historically been when the incidence of DWI also increases.
• Daylight Saving awareness: DOT statistics from 2010-2014 show that serious collisions increase by approximately 40 percent in darker early evenings. DOT will run radio ads during the evening commute, alerting drivers to the dangers of lower visibility and encouraging them to follow the 25 mph citywide speed limit and to yield to pedestrians. Ads are running through Nov. 21 on 12 stations in the Total Traffic Network.
Alive at 25 is a four-session program, funded by the National Safety Council, offered to high school seniors, according to the administration. This fall, DOT safety educators began teaching the program to 2,500 students at 10 public high schools across the five boroughs. The curriculum is based on choice theory, putting students through real-life scenarios for situations both behind the wheel and as passengers in cars.
Additionally, Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill announced a crackdown on the private garbage hauling industry, which largely operates during overnight hours that are a focus of the Dusk and Darkness campaign. The NYPD, working with the Business Integrity Commission, recently kicked off a major enforcement effort against an industry that according to City data has been involved in 26 fatalities since 2014, including four so far this year.