De Blasio: NYC Traffic Deaths During Winter Months Down 26 Percent

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City officials are crediting its “Dusk and Darkness” campaign to a decrease in traffic deaths throughout the winter months.

The “Dusk and Darkness” campaign was introduced in October 2016 as an extension of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero program.

Between November 2016 and February 2017, there were 66 fatalities — down 23 deaths from the 89 recorded in the year prior, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported. According to the mayor’s office, there have been 33 traffic deaths in New York City this year as of March 8.

NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan says there was a crackdown before and after sunset, with increased patrols between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

“With the “Dusk to Darkness”campaign we have created a notable impact on the safety of our city streets,” Chan said.

According to the Mayor’s office, the NYPD administered 243,943 Vision Zero-related traffic offenses overall, up 10 percent from Winter 2016.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg credits education and enforcement for the decline.

“We believe there is some correlation,” Trottenberg said.

Data collected between 2010 and 2014 show there’s a spike in the number of pedestrian deaths on New York City streets right after Daylight Saving Time ends. When the clocks move ahead this weekend, it will get darker earlier, so the danger will switch to the mornings.

“As clocks spring forward this weekend, New Yorkers all know that we lose a precious hour of sleep, but the dangers caused by the clock change are less well known,” de Blasio said in a statement. “What we know about the spring is that just one lost hour of sleep, combined with newly dark mornings, make for a new reality.”

Trottenberg said serious crashes increase by 10 percent following the shift in Daylight Savings Time.

“…While we welcome the spring, longer days and warmer weather, we want to alert those who drive in morning darkness next week to make smart choices behind the wheel,” Trottenberg said in a statement.

Check out the official DOT Twitter page for driving tips ahead of the Daylight Saving Time shift.

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