With the end of daylight saving time around the corner, third annual Dusk and Darkness campaign focuses on fall and winter evening hours when pedestrian crashes have historically increased; New “Alive at 25”campaign reaches out to younger drivers who are in a disproportionate number of crashes
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that as part of the Vision Zero initiative, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), NYPD and TLC would begin their third annual Dusk and Darkness campaign. During a Citywide “Day of Awareness” today, City officials are reminding drivers that historically, after daylight saving time ends, crashes involving pedestrians dramatically increase, especially during evening hours. As part of an event in Times Square today, officials also introduced “Alive at 25,” a new program directed at younger drivers who were behind the wheel in 20 percent of fatal crashes last year. The NYPD also announced progress in its crackdown this week on private garbage hauling trucks, which have been disproportionately involved in fatal crashes during overnight hours.
“We are relentlessly pursuing Vision Zero and working to save lives every single day,” said Mayor de Blasio. “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.”
Vision Zero announcement included the following elements:
“Alive at 25”: Safety program for younger drivers
Officials today announced a new program started to engage younger drivers — between the ages of 18 and 25. In 2017, those drivers were behind the wheel in 20 percent of all New York City fatal crashes (a total of 44 crashes) despite making up less than 10 percent of the driving population. Alive at 25 is a four-session program, funded by the National Safety Council, offered to high school seniors. This fall, DOT safety educators began teaching the program to 2,500 students at ten public high schools around New York City, including the entire senior class of 700 students at New Dorp High School on Staten Island.
The Alive at 25 curriculum is based on choice theory, putting students through real-life scenarios for situations both behind the wheel and as passengers in cars. Students have already reported learning a lot about how to safely operate a vehicle — and to make good choices while riding along with other teens.
Dusk and Darkness 3.0
The officials cited the encouraging fatality statistics from the Dusk and Darkness campaign the previous two years. In the five years before the campaign began, New York City averaged 63.4 traffic fatalities in the period between November 1 and March 15th—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. (see chart below)
- Increased Evening/ Nighttime Enforcement: As it has the last two years, NYPD will this week 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. 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.
- “Day of Awareness”: NYPD and DOT street teams will today be educating and engaging drivers and other New Yorkers at different Vision Zero priority areas during the morning and evening rush hours in all five boroughs, including at: Times Square North; the Canal Street entrance to the Manhattan Bridge; Penn Station; Grand Central Station; 168th and Broadway and 181st and Broadway in Washington Heights; the Fordham MetroNorth Station and the Hub in the Bronx; the Queens entrance to the Queensboro Bridge; the LIRR Station in Jamaica, Queens; Woodhaven Blvd and Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven, Queens; Whitehall Terminal; St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island; Brooklyn Borough Hall; Barclays Center and at Flatbush Junction in Brooklyn.
- Daylight Saving Awareness: DOT statistics from 2010-2014 show that serious collisions increase by approximately 40 percent in darker early evenings. This year, Daylight Savings Time will end at 2:00 AM on Sunday, November 4 when clocks “fall back.” 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 November 21st on twelve stations in the Total Traffic Network.
Private Garbage Hauler Crackdown
New York City’s private garbage hauling industry largely operates during overnight hours that are a focus of the Dusk and Darkness campaign. This week, the NYPD, working with Business Integrity Commission (BIC), began 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. In the first three nights of the initiative that began Sunday evening, NYPD has inspected 128 garbage hauling trucks, issued 163 moving summonses and 458 criminal summonses. NYPD has also towed five garbage trucks that were deemed not road-safe.
“To make all New Yorkers safer, it is imperative that we raise awareness about the dangers of reduced daylight and the onset of cold weather,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “For the third year in a row, our Dusk and Darkness safety campaign will be a crucial part of that. The NYPD will conduct precisely-focused enforcement in areas that have experienced fatalities, and ensure that everyone adheres to traffic rules. As we move forward, together, we will build on our previous successes and further reduce traffic-related deaths.”
“Under Vision Zero, we have gone to work where the crash data take us — and with Dusk and Darkness, we have focused on times of the year and times of the day that were simply more dangerous to pedestrians,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “This year, we will fine-tune that effort, as we target newer drivers who may be taking dangerous chances on our roadways. Dusk and Darkness has already proven that education can teach useful lessons — and far better those lessons not come the hard way.”
“There is no greater concern than our students’ safety, including when they are behind the wheel of a car,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “’Alive at 25’ is a critical effort to keep our students and community members safe, and I thank DOT and NYPD for supporting this effort.”
“With more than 130,000 taxis and for-hire vehicles on the road, making sure that every single one of our licensees fully understands the monumental importance of safety and good judgment in their work is a central part of our mission,” said Taxi & Limousine Commission Chair Meera Joshi. “Between the hundreds of Vision Zero meetings with drivers we’ve held and the other ways we get the word out, it has been truly gratifying to see our licensees embrace their safe driving responsibilities. When daylight saving time ends, however, we face the most challenging safety conditions of the season and spreading the safety message becomes all the more urgent.”
“Whether it’s bad street design, weather, or changing light conditions as the seasons turn, the environment creates predictable road safety hazards we need to anticipate and counteract,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I thank DOT, NYPD, and TLC for proactively reaching out to drivers and pedestrians to fight the predictable increase in crashes and injuries that occur after daylight saving time ends.”
“Thank you to Mayor de Blasio, NYC DOT, NYPD, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission for continuing to develop initiatives that save lives!” said Congress Member Carolyn Maloney. “The Vision Zero program has already been incredibly effective in reducing traffic deaths and injuries with its “Dusk and Darkness” safety campaign, and I applaud today’s announcement regarding the “Alive at 25” campaign. As consistent reductions in NYC traffic fatalities have shown, education and NYPD enforcement play a critical role in reducing traffic based injury and death, and Vision Zero is helping to make NYC streets safer by sponsoring programs that engage both drivers and pedestrians.”
“I strongly support the DOT for continuing to build upon successful, life-saving Vision Zero initiatives that have made our streets significantly safer for everyone: drivers, bikers, walkers and most importantly, our precious children,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “I applaud the announcement of the 3rdAnnual Dusk And Darkness Awareness Campaign and am particularly heartened to learn that it will be combined with a new ‘Alive At 25’ Program that will provide effective, evidence-based safety education programs to our newest and youngest drivers. Safe driving is more than an individual responsibility; it is a core neighborhood and community value.”
“As the clocks turn back, we must do all we can to keep our streets safe for pedestrians and motorists alike,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “With the proven success of last year’s Dusk and Darkness campaign, we can continue to build on this effort and reduce traffic fatalities even further amongst our youngest drivers. This forward-thinking initiative will save lives, and I commend Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation for their effort.”
“I am happy that DOT is bringing their Dusk to Darkness Safety Program and Day of Awareness to my District,” said Assembly Member Mike Miller. “In the past few months there have been several car accidents as well as pedestrian fatalities at the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica and therefore, I have asked DOT to educate drivers and pedestrians at this intersection. I am pleased they included this intersection in their safety plan. I want to thank DOT, NYPD and TLC for having this important safety day throughout the boroughs and for including Woodhaven in their safety campaign.”
“New York City is an overwhelming environment for even the most experienced of drivers,” said Assembly Member Dan Quart. “The launch of the Department of Transportation’s Alive at 25 program, specifically aimed at educating young people, is of utmost importance in making sure they are prepared to take on the responsibilities of sitting in the driver’s seat. In addition, with the help of the NYPD, the Dusk to Darkness campaign has proactively engaged the public and successfully reduced the amount of traffic-related fatalities occurring during the year’s darkest months – protecting not only people behind the wheel, but pedestrians as well.”
“As the days get shorter and darker this winter, it is more important than ever to invest in driver awareness and pedestrian safety,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon. “Driver behavior directly affects street safety, and I am glad that the DOT will be focusing on new drivers and some of the most dangerous intersections in the city to address the causes of crashes directly. I am heartened by the strides Vision Zero has made that have increased street safety through modifying driver behavior over the past four years. We still have a long way to go, which is why I am always glad to see streets redesigned for pedestrian safety.”
“The Vision Zero “Dusk and Darkness” Campaign has actively contributed to the reduction in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities from November to March the past three years,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Council Committee on Transportation. “I applaud NYC DOT and NYPD as they work together to encourage drivers to be more mindful and aware of pedestrians and cyclists while driving during the early and evening commuting hours of the winter months. Additionally, I think that the “Alive 25” campaign will lead to a further decrease in accidents amongst the youngest drivers in the City, with the ultimate goal of improving overall traffic safety and reducing fatalities caused by traffic crashes.”
“The city must do everything in its power to keep people safe on the roads, especially during times when it is more challenging to drive,” said Council Member Rory Lancman. “I am pleased to see the successful Dusk and Darkness campaign return to help raise New Yorkers’ awareness about driving in the evening, along with a new initiative to educate young people on vehicle safety. These efforts will help prevent crashes and reduce fatalities.”
“The Alive at 25 and Dusk and Darkness campaigns fit right in with the Department of Transportation’s data-driven approach to Vision Zero,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “We know what it takes to prevent death and serious injury on our streets, and we applaud the DOT for focusing on specific time periods and populations that have an outsize impact on traffic crashes.”
“I shouldn’t be alive. On July 3, 2015, I was run over by a double-decker sightseeing bus while I was crossing Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village and spent almost three months in the ICU,” said Devan Sipher of Families for Safe Streets. “Every six minutes someone in New York City is injured in a crash. There are so many problems in the world today that we can’t fix. But this is one that we have the power to do something about. Please be aware when you’re walking. Please be safe when you’re driving. Someone’s life depends on it. And it could be yours.”
“We applaud Mayor de Blasio’s Dusk and Darkness safety campaign,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “We on Broadway put only one thing above our goal of insuring that Broadway is the best live entertainment in the world and that is the safety and security of our theatregoers and staff working on Broadway. We work closely with the NYPD to insure their safety and appreciate the city’s efforts to continually improve safety for our city.”
About Vision Zero
Vision Zero is the de Blasio administration’s initiative to use every tool at its disposal to reduce traffic deaths and injuries on New York City streets. In 2017, New York City experienced its safest year on record with the fourth straight year of fatality declines. Since the program’s inaugural year in 2014, when New York City became the first American city to adopt Vision Zero, the city’s traffic fatalities have declined 26 percent with a 42 percent decline in pedestrian fatalities — bucking national fatality trends, which have increased 13 percent over the same period.
For more information about the Vision Zero initiative, please see www.nyc.gov/visionzero.