NYPD and DOT will redouble season-specific efforts to deter reckless driving during the year’s most dangerous period on city streets; greater enforcement combined with a media campaign and street redesign efforts have contributed to a nearly 50 percent overall decrease in traffic fatalities over the last month
NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that New York City was redoubling its efforts around Vision Zero as the City enters the darkest days of the year – traditionally the deadliest time for pedestrians on New York City streets. The Mayor was joined today at One Police Plaza by Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYPD Chief Thomas M. Chan to announce that the Vision Zero Dusk and Darkness initiative would continue. They noted the progress of education and enforcement efforts unveiled by the Mayor on October 27 in helping turn around the traditional strong fall upturn in fatalities involving pedestrians – especially seniors. Over the last month, traffic fatalities have declined by nearly 50 percent.
“With Vision Zero, we have said our agencies would work creatively to see what works – and a month into the current Dusk and Darkness Initiative, we have strong evidence that we can deter dangerous driving with targeted seasonal enforcement and education,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are urging New Yorkers to keep up their vigilance during December – particularly during the evening rush – remembering that a wonderful season for shopping and being with family unfortunately coincides with the most dangerous time of the year for pedestrians. Drivers especially need to remember the danger of driving under the influence, as well as to slow down and turn slowly. As we have always underscored with Vision Zero, ‘your choices matter.’”
Mayor de Blasio announced the Dusk and Darkness safety initiative on October 27, and DOT has conducted a close analysis of year-over-year crash trends – observing the following:
• In the one-month period following the initiative’s launch on October 27, 13 New Yorkers have been lost in traffic crashes. The five-year average for that same one-month period between 2010-2014 was 24 deaths – a nearly 50 percent decline. In 2015, the overall safest year in New York City’s history, New York City experienced 30 fatalities during that same period.
• In October, DOT presented a “heat map” (below) that illustrated how the earlier onset of darkness in the fall and winter is highly correlated to a 40 percent seasonal increase in pedestrian traffic injuries and fatalities. On the map, weeknight evening hours between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM over the next three weeks are the “hottest” – or most dangerous – of the entire year.
• In 2015, the year-to-date number of traffic fatalities as of November 28 was 209 fatalities, including 120 pedestrians. This year, as of November 28, the preliminary data show 204 fatalities, a decline of five overall. Pedestrian fatalities as of yesterday are at 126, an increase of six.
“The NYPD has issued more than 50,000 summonses for hazardous moving violations during the Dusk and Darkness initiative, and traffic fatalities have decreased significantly during that same period,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “But December has historically experienced significant increases in pedestrian injuries. That’s why the NYPD and its Vision Zero partners are reminding New Yorkers, especially motorists, to slow down, make safe turns and to never drink and drive. The NYPD will be out in force this December ensuring the safety of all New Yorkers.”
“We are grateful that fewer New Yorkers have been lost to crashes in November – and will be around to enjoy the holidays with their families,” said DOT Commissioner Trottenberg. “But as the Mayor said, even though we have accomplished so much this year, we need to stay focused these last few weeks of the year. In December, with the reduced visibility at evening rush-hour happening at the same time as peak holiday shopping, New Yorkers who are behind the wheel need to expect pedestrians in the crosswalk every time.”
“You may be a highly-experienced driver with many years on the road, but you are not immune from the challenges of seasonal driving,” said Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi. “Our message to our licensees is that the combination of busy pedestrians and the earlier dusk pose a greater danger for both drivers and pedestrians than at other times, and it is absolutely essential for drivers to actively consider this every time they get behind the wheel. To reinforce this message, we’ve added enforcement resources to bolster the already considerable efforts we bring to bear for safety during this concentrated period.”
Since the start of the Dusk and Darkness initiative, DOT, NYPD and other agencies have aggressively pursued the following Vision Zero initiatives:
• Increased Evening/ Nighttime Enforcement: NYPD has focused additional enforcement resources on hazardous violations, including for distracted driving and failure-to-yield to pedestrians, with precincts increasing their on-street presence between 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM, when data show serious pedestrian crashes increase. Mostly focused on evening hours from October 27 through last week, NYPD officers have issued more than 50,000 summonses for hazardous moving violations, including:
12,151 summonses for disobeying a traffic sign
5,253 summonses for improper turn
4,880 summonses for illegal cell phone use
4,268 summonses for failure to yield to pedestrians
3,942 summonses for failure to obey red light
3,893 summonses for failure to wear seat belts
3,818 summonses for speeding
3,066 summonses for texting
• Focus on Priority Locations: NYPD has deployed additional Traffic Safety personnel to provide coverage at intersections and corridors with high rates of pedestrian injuries and fatal crashes during key dusk and darkness hours.
• Drunk or Impaired Driving: During the holiday season, the NYPD 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.
• Taxis and For-Hire Vehicles: TLC inspectors have been conducting speed enforcement to deter speeding among for-hire vehicle operators.
• Traffic Stat: NYPD today launched a beta of Traffic Stat – an upgrade in the reporting of traffic and collision data throughout the city to improve targeted enforcement, step up internal accountability and increase public transparency. Traffic Stat, accessible at https://trafficstat.nypdonline.org/ will be updated alongside CompStat 2.0 every Tuesday. Traffic Stat will provide the rawest feed of collision report data in a updated, user-friendly and accessible format. Previously, such data was only made available to the public via published PDF. This portal will give the NYPD and New Yorkers a clear glimpse into collision and crash data from around the city.
• “Day of Awareness:” On October 28, NYPD and DOT street teams kicked off the Dusk and Darkness initiative, and have continued in the weeks since by educating and engaging drivers and other New Yorkers at different Vision Zero priority areas in all five boroughs. Hundreds of thousands of palm cards have been distributed that have underscored a pre-enforcement message about lower speeds, slower turns and the dangers of dusk to pedestrians.
• Targeted Messaging to Drivers to Obey Speed Limit and Yield to Pedestrians: The award-winning Vision Zero “Your Choices Matter” campaign expanded this fall with fresh content, including new television ads. New radio advertisements were also timed to air specifically around sunset hours. In this new campaign, listeners have been educated to the correlation between darkness and crashes – and reminded to lower their speeds and to take all turns at 5 MPH.
• Daylight Saving Awareness: DOT and the Mayor’s Office led a public-awareness campaign on November 4 around the end of Daylight Saving Time. In 2015, eight pedestrians in New York City were lost in the week after the time change. This year, Daylight Saving Time ended on Sunday, November 6 – and in the following week, New York City saw four traffic fatalities.
• Taxi Driver Outreach: TLC continues to educate its for-hire drivers to the need to be cautious through text messages, the distribution of more than 20,000 palm cards and other channels. In addition, Vision Zero ads now run on Taxi TV, providing another opportunity to reach the broader public.
• Safety Improvement Projects and Protected Bike Lanes: DOT has completed the redesign of a record 90 projects this year, and added 18 miles of new protected bike lanes, including on major New York City thoroughfares including Queens Boulevard, Jay Street, Amsterdam and 6th Avenue.
• Improved Lighting at Intersections: DOT will in the next month complete lighting upgrades at 1,000 priority intersections throughout the City, adding additional lamps to increase visibility over crosswalks. In addition, the agency is converting older sodium street lights to higher-intensity LED, which makes pedestrians and cyclists more conspicuous, and reduces the capacity for nighttime crashes. LED bulbs also offer the benefits of longer life at an overall lower cost.
“Vision Zero was never intended to work simply through reconstruction of intersections, reducing speeds in certain thoroughfares, or greater enforcement, these are tools of the larger message and goal. Its true purpose is to change the mentality of pedestrians and drivers alike so every decision we make on the road is done in the interest of the safety of one another. December marks a busy season for New Yorkers. Being safe and diligent is worth the few extra minutes it may take you to get around this season,” said State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.
“With nights getting longer and darkness settling in sooner, the chances for pedestrians and cyclists to go unseen by drivers gets higher,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation. “The DOT and NYPD have been out promoting the Dusk and Darkness campaign, increasing enforcement and providing information to drivers. These efforts have lowered traffic crashes in November but we have to finish this year strong. Vision Zero remains a top priority of mine and I appreciate the focus it is receiving as we come to the end of the year, with more shoppers out on the streets. I applaud the mayor for encouraging stepped up enforcement during the holiday season, when families are celebrating together, and I hope we can continue these efforts into the new year.”
“We are entering the most dangerous days of the year for New York City pedestrians, and we must be extra vigilant to ensure that no more lives are lost on our city’s streets,” said Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “We are making an all-hands-on-deck effort: targeted enforcement, street improvements, outreach and education make our streets safer, so that all New Yorkers can make it home to their families this holiday season.”
“Tragically, this season of celebration has been transformed into a lifelong season of sorrow for too many friends and family members of traffic crash victims,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “Though our City is dedicating more resources than ever before to prevent traffic crashes causing death and serious injury, motorists must do their part and remain vigilant during this dangerous period for pedestrians and cyclists. Only by working together can we make this season, and every season, a safe one for us all.”
“Vision Zero has made a noticeable impact on our traffic safety this year,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “The new elements including increased nighttime seasonal enforcement and improved street design have made a big difference on our public safety. I thank Mayor de Blasio, the NYPD and DOT Commissioner Trottenberg for their leadership.”
“Mayor de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Trottenberg, NYPD Chief of Transportation Chief Chan and Queens DOT Commissioner Garcia have been doing a tremendous job in keeping our streets safer for all, including this holiday season and every day. It is critical that we stay diligent in our efforts with these Vision Zero campaigns that are occurring throughout the City. As these efforts continue during the holiday season, I urge every driver and pedestrian to be conscious of the increased activities in the crosswalks and on the road,” said Council Member Donovan Richards.
“Evidence has proven that greater traffic enforcement is saving lives in our city,” said Council Member Debi Rose. “As New Yorkers approach the darkest evenings of the year, going about holiday shopping and attending festive gatherings, please, let this ongoing increased enforcement be yet another reason to drive safely. I want all of my constituents – pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike – to have a safe and healthy holiday season.”
“Vision Zero has continued to evolve with new measures and initiatives being continually implemented,” said Council Member James Vacca. “The Dusk and Darkness Safety Initiative sought to highlight some of the most hazardous times to be on the road and take action to effectively mitigate the danger. The campaign has already saved lives and will continue to do so through the holiday season and beyond. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg for their advanced planning and commitment to safer streets for everyone.”
For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see www.nyc.gov/visionzero.