- New York City will offer a four-session driver safety program to high school seniors as part of a new effort to reduce traffic fatalities. The “Alive at 25” program targets drivers ages 18-25, the demographic of drivers behind the wheel in 20% of the city’s fatal crashes in 2017.
- The city also announced the third year of a "Dusk and Darkness" safety campaign, with increased enforcement of traffic violations around sunset hours, ads raising awareness of changing conditions around daylight savings time and more attention to drunk driving.
- In partnership with the Business Integrity Commission, the New York Police Department will also inspect and enforce violations against private garbage hauling companies that largely operate overnight and have been involved in 26 fatalities since 2014.
The efforts are all part of the city’s Vision Zero campaign to eliminate traffic fatalities, but target a particularly dangerous time of year. As dusk comes earlier — and light changes with daylight saving time — roads can become dangerous. According to city statistics, New York City averaged 63.4 traffic fatalities between Nov. 1 and March 15 over the five years before the Dusk and Darkness campaign began, with many of them during evening hours. The first year of the campaign saw fatalities decline to 51, then 44 in the second year.
"Under Vision Zero, we have gone to work where the crash data take us — and with Dusk and Darkness, we have focused on times of the year and times of the day that were simply more dangerous to pedestrians," New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement. "This year, we will fine-tune that effort, as we target newer drivers who may be taking dangerous chances on our roadways."
As one of ten Vision Zero cities, New York has taken a number of steps to cut traffic fatalities, with a particular focus on pedestrians. The city installed 1,500 security bollards in high-profile sites to keep sidewalks safe, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has worked to reduce car use in certain areas of the city, including Prospect Park.
The effort also comes as the U.S. is on pace for its third straight year with 40,000 or more traffic fatalities, according to statistics from the National Safety Council. With 18,720 deaths on American roads between January and June of 2018, the group found that the country is on pace for a slight decline in fatalities over 2017, but only after a sharp two-year increase.