'Dusk and Darkness' safety campaign focuses on younger drivers, city officials say

Thursday, November 1, 2018
'Dusk and Darkness' safety campaign focuses on young drivers
Tim Fleischer has more on the 'Dusk and Darkness' safety campaign.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- City officials announced the start of the third annual "Dusk and Darkness" campaign Thursday as part of the Vision Zero Initiative.

With the end of Daylight Saving Time around the corner, the safety campaign focuses on fall and winter evening hours when pedestrian crashes have historically increased.

"We are relentlessly pursuing Vision Zero and working to save lives every single day," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Our Dusk and Darkness campaigns help us further that goal, especially as nighttime hours - and dangerous driving - increase."

This is when children are coming home from school, pedestrians are leaving their jobs, drivers tend to be very busy, and transportation officials say that's when visibility gets tricky.

"As we turn our clocks back and it gets darker and darker, this is the time we need to drive very safely," said Kim Wiley-Schwartz, of NYC DOT. "They have to slow down, particularly slow their turns."

DOT workers and NYPD officers were at 16 locations around the city handing out 500,000 fliers to drivers. Pedestrians are also being made aware of the dangers.

The program began in 2016 and in the first year, from November to March, there was a 25 percent drop in the number of pedestrian fatalities.

"We are heartened to see that spike in end of year fatalities," DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. "We have been able to bring it down."

They are also announcing the "Alive at 25" program taught at high schools after a study showed that 20 percent of auto fatalities had someone 25 or younger behind the wheel.

"Vision Zero has played a big part in my life," high school senior Wilson Hernandez said. "Helping me understand what I have to do to stay safe and keep other people safe."

More on the "Dusk and Darkness" plan

-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.


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