New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today launched Reckless Driving Kills, a new advertising campaign targeting dangerous driving in advance of the holiday travel season, when millions of New Yorkers drive to visit families and loved ones. While traffic fatalities remain at historical lows, pedestrian fatalities remain particularly concerning and are on the rise in New York City this year compared with the last two years. The new campaign focuses on images of New Yorkers holding a picture of a family member killed in a traffic crash while standing at the location where the crash occurred. One ad is of Audrey Anderson, a Queens resident whose 14-year old son Andre was killed in 2005 while riding his bicycle in the Rockaways. “A driver hit my son riding his bicycle on Shore Front Parkway. Andre should be turning 23 this year,” says the ad. The other features David Shephard, whose fiancée Sonya Powell was killed on Black Friday in 2009 by a speeding driver in a crosswalk in the Bronx. That ad reads, “My fiancée was hit and killed by a driver while crossing Baychester Avenue. This year would have been another anniversary.” The ads will appear beginning next month on bus shelters, billboards and street advertising in areas found to have high rates of reckless driving, and also on radio airwaves and via social media outlets. According to state DMV data, 48 traffic fatalities in New York City in 2012 were attributable to driver inattention or distraction, 59 traffic fatalities involved speeding and 34 fatalities were attributable to failure to yield the right of way. Final statistics for 2013 won’t be finalized until early next year, but preliminary figures show pedestrian fatalities increasing this year, fueled by crashes involving these and other factors, and many vehicles mounting sidewalks and striking pedestrians. The campaign is the first of two that will launch this week in advance of the holiday travel week, as a supplemental ad campaign targeting driving while intoxicated will follow.
“Reckless and distracted driving has tragic consequences for everyone, and has no place on city streets,” said Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “These personal stories drive home that these tragedies are not just statistics. It is imperative that we all do our part to drive safe and smart.”
NYC DOT has launched some of the most innovative safety programs in the nation with an emphasis on safety, re-engineering 137 corridors and 113 intersections citywide in just the last five years, installing 4,500 pedestrian countdown signals, 910 speed bumps and installing or planning 29 community-requested neighborhood slow zones. DOT also installed speed zones near 146 schools in the last six years and won state authorization to use speed cameras near schools for the first time ever. Major redesigns include Delancey Street, 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, Queens Boulevard, Grand Concourse and along Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island. These efforts plus NYPD enforcement have helped make the last six years the six safest New York City history, with the fewest traffic fatalities since records were first kept in 1910.
DOT has also launched the most sustained ad campaigns targeting dangerous driving and vulnerable street users. From the “That’s Why It’s 30” ads educating motorists of the fatal dangers of exceeding the speed limit by even 10 miles to the “Don’t be a Jerk” campaign educating cyclists about safe riding to the “LOOK” safety campaign combining innovative street markings and ads to caution road users to be attentive, DOT has reached the public time and time again with creative and life-saving messages.
The ads and the stories behind the Anderson and Shephard families can be found at on nyc.gov/recklessdriving.