LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) --A new plan is designed to protect New York pedestrians and drivers as is gets darker during the evening rush hour.
The Dusk and Darkness Safety Initiative is part of the Vision Zero campaign, designed to end traffic deaths and injuries on New York streets. The new campaign will cost $1.5 million.
"We see real evidence this time of year, as it gets darker officially during rush hour, that there is a real increase in crashes, pedestrian injuries and fatalities," Mayor Bill de Blasio said on WCBS AM radio Thursday. "That's why it's so important to get people to understand."
The Dusk and Darkness plan will include radio and television advertisements, bus signs and billboards to warn drivers and pedestrians to be careful, especially in the evenings.
The city Department of Transportation analyzed year-over-year crash trends. It found lower visibility during the dark hours of colder months leads to twice as many crashes involving turns. In addition, severe crashes involving pedestrians increased by nearly 40 percent during the early evening hours in fall and winter, compared with crashes during other seasons.
As part of the Dusk campaign, police will target drivers during the evening rush hour who speed, fail to yield to pedestrians, text and block bike lanes.
"You get a different perception when it gets darker. You can't see as well, can't react quite as quickly," de Blasio said.
The Dusk campaign marks the first time that the city has adjusted traffic policy with seasonal changes.