NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD will step up enforcement at dangerous intersections as the city heads into what is traditionally the deadliest time of year for pedestrians.
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.
It won’t be long before the sun sets around 5 p.m. when maximum pedestrians are out and about and drivers have a harder time seeing them.
Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said severe and fatal injuries for pedestrians climb 40 percent in the late afternoon and early evening hours from November through March.
“Last year, it was rather extraordinary to see 40 percent of the fatalities happen in the last three months of the year,” Trottenberg said.
In the eight days following the end of Daylight Saving Time last year, nine pedestrians lost their lives in New York City. NYPD Chief Thomas Chan said all but three fatal crashes happened after dusk.
“The early onset of darnkess in the fall and the winter is highly correlated to the increase of traffic injuries and fatalities,” Chan told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has unveiled a $1.5 million safety campaign as part of his “Vision Zero” initiative. There will be radio and television ads, transit signs and billboards to warn drivers and pedestrians to be more careful during the early evening hours.
New York City will be installing new, brighter LED street-lighting.
Police officers will be handing out cards reminding drivers and pedestrians to be extra careful between dusk and darkness at some of the city’s most dangerous intersections.
The NYPD will also target drivers who speed, fail to yield to pedestrians, text behind the wheel and block bike lanes.
There will also be heightened enforcement, as more officers hit the streets from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Social worker and community activist Amy Cohen fights for more traffic cameras across the city, and especially near schools. Her son, Sammy Cohen Eckstein, was 12 years old, walking home from soccer practice in Brooklyn when he was struck and killed in traffic.
“Three years ago he was killed in the fall at dusk by a speeding driver who was not paying attention,” she said.
Cohen’s wish is that no one else goes through the kind of deep despair her family feels.
Trottenberg said 114 pedestrians have already been killed this year, compared to 96 in total last year.
The city’s campaign, called “Dusk and Darkness,” also calls for specifically reaching out to people at senior centers and taxi and livery drivers.
Daylight Saving Time ends on Nov. 6.