NYC Steps Up “Dusk and Darkness” Traffic Enforcement

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New York City has recently announced the return of a campaign that will call for increased traffic enforcement and speed cameras in order to provide safer streets for drivers and pedestrians who are out in the fall and winter months as it gets dark out at a much earlier time.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office has announced the return of multi-agency traffic enforcement to protect vulnerable and road users after sunset in the fall and winter. Referred to as the city’s “Dusk and Darkness campaign,” the effort involves increased traffic enforcement in the evening and nighttime, specifically with regard to speeding and failure to yield. It also involved “street teams” from the Department of Transportation and the New York Police Department venturing to “high-visibility locations” across the city to encourage commuters to stay safe. 

In a press release about the campaign, the de Blasio Administration cited DOT data showing that from 2010 to 2014, “serious collisions involving pedestrians” rose by about 40% in fall and winter evenings, when darkness comes earlier; data also showed that “lower visibility during the dark hours of the colder months leads to twice as many crashes involving turns.” That data was prior to the launch of the annual Dusk and Darkness campaign, however, which has correlated with a decrease in annual traffic-related fatalities, according to the city. 

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The idea of the Dusk and Darkness Campaign is to decrease accidents and fatalities during the months when the earlier darkness leads to a decrease in visibility for drivers.

As it announced the campaign’s return, the de Blasio Administration also called for state lawmakers to allow municipal authorities to operate automated speed cameras 24/7. “Once again, I urge our partners in Albany to let New York City operate speed cameras 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Mayor de Blasio said. “That legislation will hold dangerous drivers accountable and save lives. It can’t pass soon enough.”

Chief Kim Y. Royster, the New York Police Department’s Chief of Transportation, added in her own statement: “Historically, this is the most dangerous time of the year for pedestrians and cyclists. Our Dusk and Darkness campaign is a traffic initiative that promotes road safety in New York City… Stepped-up enforcement will take place where pedestrians and cyclists are most likely to be injured. It is really drivers that have the power to save lives and with the assistance of our Vision Zero partners, the NYPD will continue to keep our streets safe during the fall and winter months.”

“The epidemic of speeding throughout our city has led to serious crashes and fatalities, which are entirely preventable with the proper enforcement measures in place,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes, who has introduced a bill that would empower New York City to expand speed camera operation. “While education and awareness is a good first step, we need to back it up with concrete policies in order for us to reach Vision Zero, protect residents through these coming months of low visibility, and avoid the tragedies that reckless driving causes.”

More information on the Dusk and Darkness campaign to reduce traffic violence and protect vulnerable road users in New York City is available via the mayor’s office 

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