Vision Zero: NYC’s Dusk and Darkness Campaign Continues
When daylight savings time ended right along with the month of October, NYC kicked off its fifth annual Dusk and Darkness campaign, which focuses on raising awareness about the increase in pedestrian accidents that is associated with increased darkness. Additionally, the State of New York implemented a seat-belts-for-all law, which requires – for the first time – that even adults in the backseat buckle up.
Dusk and Darkness
The Dusk and Darkness campaign is all about reminding motorists that pedestrians and bicyclists are even more vulnerable in the darkness of fall and winter evenings. The fact is that when we fall back an hour, it puts an even finer point on this safety issue. This campaign is being reintroduced in conjunction with the new seat-belt law rollout, in which even adults in the backseat must now wear a seat belt (including in cabs and for-hire vehicles). Both are part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, which is predicated on all of the following:
- Shifting driver awareness and behavior to more safely accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists in the time of year (fall and winter) when pedestrian and bike accidents traditionally increase
- Changing the way NYC approaches driver education and enforcement related to this issue
- Allowing pedestrians of all ages and bicyclists – who are the most vulnerable on our streets – safer passage
Statistically speaking, dangerous pedestrian accidents increase by about 40 percent in the early darkness of late fall and winter – and turn-related crashes double. Further, the number of bicyclists on our roads went up 27 percent in 2020, and motorists need to share the road with them safely.
The Dusk and Darkness campaign includes the following safety enhancements:
- Increasing Enforcement in the Evenings and at Night – Excess speed and failure to yield the right-of-way are two of the most dangerous contributory factors when it comes to pedestrian and bicyclist accidents, and NYPD is picking up the pace when it comes to stemming these life-threatening violations (especially in the evening hours).
- Increasing Daylight Savings Time Awareness – The city is throwing some muscle into its increased awareness campaign, including radio ads, outdoor advertising, bus tails and shelters, gas toppers, Link NYC kiosks, and more. The impetus behind the advertising is alerting drivers to the increased risk associated with low visibility and encouraging all to stick to the 25-mph citywide speed limit and to focus on yielding safely to pedestrians and cyclists in their midst.
- Increasing Universal Seat-belt Law Awareness – The city is getting out the Every Seat seat-belt message to help ensure that all New Yorkers understand that it is now illegal to ride in a private car or in a commercial ride without a seat belt – no matter how old they are or where they sit. This is an easy ask – and can save lives.
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