The city is shining a light on a dark subject.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced Thursday a preemptive strategy to combat the usual uptick in traffic deaths and injuries that come with the end of daylight saving time.
When the sun sets earlier in the day, right at the evening rush hour, commutes get more dangerous. There’s a 40% increase in severe pedestrian-related car crashes in the late afternoon and evening hours from November through March, according to data from the city’s Department of Transportation between 2010 and 2014.
“It makes a big difference for drivers in terms of visibility,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, who announced the “dusk and darkness” safety campaign at police headquarters alongside the Police Department, Taxi and Limousine Commission, Department for the Aging and City Council transit committee chairman Ydanis Rodriguez.
The $1.5 million campaign will bring ramped-up police enforcement against dangerous driving between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. around priority streets and intersections of the city during the coming months.
Cops will be harping on drunk and impaired driving as well as particular violations that put pedestrians at risk: speeding, cell phone use, failure to yield to pedestrians and blocked bicycle lanes, among others.
Departments will also be handing out a million educational pamphlets that urge drivers to slow down and act responsibly behind the wheel.
“Quite often our motorists need to be reminded of this,” said NYPD Transit Chief Thomas Chan.
“During these hours it’s more problematic. Drivers have to slow down and really pay attention—especially when making left turns.”