Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday the return of the city’s annual fall Dusk and Darkness campaign to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe during fall and winter evenings, especially after clocks “fall back” for the end of daylight saving time this Sunday morning.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman, NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster and TLC Commissioner and Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk spoke at One Police Plaza to announce major education and enforcement efforts aimed to shift driver behavior. Agency officials cited recent increases in reckless driving in overnight hours during the pandemic – and renewed the call for state legislation to allow New York City’s automated speed cameras to operate 24/7.
“As the sun sets earlier, drivers have an extra responsibility to slow down and keep pedestrians, cyclists, and themselves safe. The Dusk and Darkness program combines education and enforcement to make sure they do just that,” de Blasio said. “Now, it’s time to go further. Once again, I urge our partners in Albany to let New York City operate speed cameras 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That legislation will hold dangerous drivers accountable and save lives. It can’t pass soon enough.”
DOT data from 2010-2014, before the launch of the Dusk and Darkness campaign, showed serious collisions involving pedestrians increase by approximately 40% in darker early evenings in late fall and winter. Additionally, lower visibility during the dark hours of the colder months leads to twice as many crashes involving turns.
The campaign, now in its sixth year, has been correlated to improved safety on city streets: comparing evening and overnight fatalities of the five years of the Dusk and Darkness campaign (November-March, 2016-2021) to the prior five years pre-campaign, the average annual number of fatalities has declined by 18%.
The Dusk and Darkness campaign is also designed to protect the increasing number of cyclists on New York City’s streets. According to recent DOT reports, cycling has tripled in the last 15 years.
“Dusk and Darkness” also includes:
- Day of Awareness: DOT and NYPD street teams spread out at high-visibility locations across all five boroughs this morning to remind commuters of the increased dangers of traffic crashes during the fall evening and overnight hours. Those teams will also be visible this evening.
- Increased Evening/Nighttime Enforcement: NYPD will focus enforcement resources on speeding and failure to yield. Precincts will increase their on-street presence around sunset hours on high-crash corridors for both cyclists and pedestrians.
- Daylight Saving Awareness: Daylight saving time will end at 2 a.m. on Sunday. As with previous years, Vision Zero Task Force agencies and partners will use social media channels to alert drivers to the dangers of lower visibility, while encouraging them to follow the 25 mph citywide speed limit, and yield to pedestrians and cyclists. DOT will feature the driver-targeted Vision Zero “Signs” awareness campaigns on bus shelters, LinkNYC kiosks and print advertising.
Last month, DOT released its annual Automated Speed Enforcement Program report, which highlighted the success of more than 1,600 cameras citywide at curbing speeding – by more than 70%. However, analysis of 2020 fatalities showed that nearly 30% of all fatalities occur in speed camera zones during overnight and on weekends when they are not allowed to operate.
“With fewer hours of daylight and lower visibility, driving safely is especially important at this time of year,” said Health Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi. “Drivers, please slow down and look out for pedestrians, bicyclists, and all road users. Everyone has a role to play in making New York City’s streets safer.”