November 3, 2022
As Daylight Savings Ends, Streets Become More Dangerous in Evenings and at Night, Especially for Pedestrians and Cyclists
As Overnight Garbage Collection Has Increased, Campaign Will Place Greater Emphasis on Safer Truck Driving and Worker Protection
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the return of the city’s annual “Dusk and Darkness” traffic enforcement and education campaign to keep pedestrians, cyclists, and all road users safe during fall and winter evenings, especially after the end of daylight saving time this Sunday, November 6. This year, the Dusk and Darkness campaign will focus on promoting safe practices for the carting of commercial waste — handled by private companies — to protect workers and other road users, while the New York City Police Department (NYPD) will expand traffic enforcement of dangerous moving violations during the more dangerous evening and overnight hours.
Launched in 2016 and now in its seventh year, the Dusk and Darkness campaign combines proven tactics to combat elevated rates of fatal crashes. During fall evenings, rush hour occurs at a time when sunlight and visibility are dramatically and suddenly reduced, leading to some of the highest fatal crash rates of the calendar year. In the past, this campaign has improved safety on city streets — reducing the average number of evening and overnight fatalities each year by 13.5 percent over the years it has been in place as compared to the five years prior. In that time frame, the average number of pedestrian fatalities declined 21.7 percent and the average number of motor vehicle occupant fatalities dropped by 25.8 percent.
“This initiative brings together three things our administration has focused on since day one: following the data, breaking down siloes between agencies, and keeping New Yorkers safe,” said Mayor Adams. “We have seen how dangerous the streets can be after the clocks change, and we are deploying targeted, proven strategies to give New Yorkers the tools they need to keep themselves and their neighbors safe. Street safety is public safety.”
“This goes for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians: It’s on everyone sharing the road to be aware of each other, their surroundings, and the heightened risks this time of year,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III. “At the end of the day, we want everyone to get home safely. Education and enforcement are key to making that happen.”
“As the days get shorter, it’s important we all travel through this city with caution and consideration for our fellow New Yorkers. I urge all drivers to keep their speeds low, bikers to wear reflective gear, and pedestrians to cross the streets with caution,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “I thank DOT, TLC, NYPD, and all the Vision Zero agencies for getting this important message out and helping to keep our streets safe.”
“Our campaign this year will be a layered initiative of preventive policing measures designed to keep all road users safe — focused on increased enforcement and education on the hazards of this time of year,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Y. Royster. “Prevention will be a key component to this seasonal initiative, and the NYPD will be utilizing data to inform our flexible deployment plan and conducting outreach to drivers to remind them that their choices matter behind the wheel.”
“Drivers must operate their vehicles responsibly every time they get behind the wheel, but as our days get shorter, they have a heightened responsibility to drive carefully to keep their fellow New Yorkers safe, especially in the evenings that we know are more dangerous,” said New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “Programs like Dusk and Darkness are great examples of how education and enforcement complement our safe street redesigns to combat reckless driving. We thank our sister agencies for their continued partnership.”
“While this season brings less daylight for us all, that should not mean more New Yorkers dying due to dangerous driving,” said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “The Dusk to Darkness program reminds us to stay vigilant and helps everyone navigate these darker months safely.”
“As we set our clocks back, let’s also remember to keep our speedometers set — at a safe 25 mph or less unless otherwise posted,” said New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Chair David Do. “We know that nothing prevents more traffic deaths than driving within the speed limit and between dusk and darkness are the times when crashes are most likely to occur. We literally drive this home to our for-hire drivers during their training. Per miles driven, they are among the safest drivers in the city.”
“As the daylight hours decrease in the fall and winter, our attention and focus behind the wheel must increase,” said New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Dawn M. Pinnock. “As the standard bearer for fleet safety, we have a responsibility to ensure our fleet operators have the resources they need to best perform their duties, including investing in adaptive headlights, heated mirrors, and safety lights for work trucks. In addition to these efforts, we are proud to help educate others and increase awareness about the Dusk and Darkness campaign. We remind all motorists to drive cautiously, slow down, and don’t let one night ruin a life.”
“Commercial waste haulers perform an essential service for our city, and it is imperative that they prioritize safety during their operations,” said New York City Business Integrity Commission (BIC) Commissioner Elizabeth Crotty. “BIC is proud to participate in the Dusk and Darkness outreach campaign, along with our other Vision Zero partners, as we work to address this important public safety issue.”
Dusk and Darkness this year includes the following initiatives:
Day of Awareness: DOT and NYPD Vision Zero Street Teams are spread out at high-visibility locations across all five boroughs this morning to remind commuters of the increased dangers of traffic crashes during the fall evening and overnight hours. Those teams will also be visible this evening.
Increased Evening and Overnight Enforcement: The NYPD is engaging in sustained, increased enforcement that kicked off on Halloween and will continue through the fall and winter. NYPD officers will be deployed on highways and local streets, with an increased focus on driving behavior that endangers vulnerable road users. Officers will be on alert to enforce against hazardous driving violations to keep pedestrians and cyclists, including older adults and children, safe in neighborhoods throughout the city. Enforcement will focus on speeding drivers, drivers that fail to yield, and distracted drivers using their cell phones while behind the wheel. NYPD traffic agents will increase enforcement against vehicles that are double-parked and blocking bike and bus lanes.
Daylight Saving Awareness: As the end of daylight saving time approaches on Sunday, Vision Zero Task Force agencies and partners will use social media channels to alert drivers to the dangers of lower visibility, while encouraging them to follow the 25-mile-per-hour citywide speed limit and to yield to pedestrians and cyclists throughout the season. DOT will also feature the driver-targeted Vision Zero “Speeding Ruins Lives” awareness campaigns on bus shelters, on LinkNYC kiosks, and in print advertising. DOT’s marketing efforts will also focus on evening rush hours, with a drive-time radio ad campaign that targets drivers at the exact time of day when driver awareness needs to be heightened.
For-Hire Vehicle Driver Safety: TLC will visit areas frequented by for-hire vehicle drivers to remind them of the importance of using extra caution during low-visibility periods, including by driving 25 miles per hour unless otherwise posted. TLC will also reiterate this message to drivers and passengers via social media.
Commercial Waste Industry Safety: BIC enforcement activities include evening and overnight operations in partnership with the NYPD and other partner agencies. Safety enforcement includes garage inspections, truck stops, and regulatory action to ensure trade waste companies comply with safety requirements that aim to protect trade waste workers and all road users. For Dusk and Darkness, BIC is sharing additional resources and information with trade waste companies regarding safe operations.
BIC takes a holistic approach to regulating traffic safety in the commercial waste hauling industry, with robust driver training and vehicle inspection programs. Since 2016, BIC has held five safety symposia for the industry and visited more than a dozen trade waste companies to join their safety events and trainings to connect directly with drivers and helpers. BIC is currently engaged in various education, outreach, and compliance tracking efforts to ensure the private sector installs side guards — life-saving tools that protect cyclists and pedestrians — on their vehicles by the legally required mandate of January 1, 2023.
“Driving in New York is always a challenge, but it’s made even more dangerous when the sun sets early and visibility decreases,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “All users of the roadway must prioritize keeping their fellow New Yorkers safe, and I applaud the city for prioritizing this outreach.”
“All those who use our city’s roadways need to be aware of the increased dangers of driving in the early evening following the end of daylight saving time, as we adjust to the earlier onset of darkness,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “The Dusk and Darkness campaign reminds us we must all be careful and look out for each other on the roads. I commend Mayor Adams, the New York City Department of Transportation, and the NYPD for their efforts to keep motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists safe, during this time of year and all year long.”
“As we prepare to set our clocks back and it gets darker earlier, ensuring protection for pedestrians and cyclists using our city streets becomes even more important,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “I commend our partners in city government for taking these proactive steps, and we are prepared to work hand-in-hand to keep our streets free of dangerous crashes.”
“As days get shorter, many New Yorkers will be commuting in darkness, and increased vigilance by drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians is essential to ensure everyone makes it to their destinations safely,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “The ‘Dusk to Darkness’ program is an important initiative to promote awareness and vigilance, and my Street Safety Bureau is committed to holding those who commit crimes behind the wheel accountable. I commend the NYPD and Commissioner Rodriguez for continuing this annual campaign to save lives.”
“As we move through autumn into winter and the days become shorter, we all must do our part to keep New York City roads safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists,” said New York State Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “School zone speed cameras are one of the best objective tools we have to keep our streets safe, and I’m so glad my legislation to allow cameras to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week was passed this year and implemented by the city in August. I commend Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez and join them in urging drivers and cyclists to slow down and observe the rules of the road, especially as dusk approaches each day.”
“Today, as a city, we welcome the return of ‘Dusk and Darkness,’ a program that ensures our streets will be safer as our days grow shorter,” said New York City Councilmember Shekar Krishnan. “As the drastic reduction in crashes on the 34th Avenue Open Street in my district proves, this and other programs that prioritize people can save lives."
“It is well known that the fall evening hours are some of the most dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, especially following the end of daylight saving time,” said Ken Podziba, president and CEO, Bike New York. “We deeply appreciate Mayor Adams and DOT’s comprehensive efforts to educate drivers about these seasonal hazards, and we will be assisting bike riders similarly with nighttime biking guidance and bike light giveaways in all five boroughs during the weeks of November 14th and 21st.”
“We’re encouraged that the city is focusing marketing and education on changing the behavior of dangerous drivers, whose recklessness becomes especially threatening during fall and winter commutes,” said Sara Lind, chief strategy officer, Open Plans. “Less daylight is no excuse for endangering pedestrians, and New Yorkers should feel safe to cross the street at any time of the day or night. We hope this program leads to a less threatening environment for our most vulnerable road users.”
“The City of New York needs to do everything in its power to keep people safe on our street, especially as daylight saving time ends on Sunday,” said Danny Harris, executive director, Transportation Alternatives. “Keeping our bus and bike lanes clear from double parked cars will prevent crashes and protect vulnerable people on our streets. In addition to these actions, our city leaders must expand physical street redesigns and meet the requirements of the NYC Streets Plan.”
“The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) appreciates the increased focus on solid waste collection workers in this year’s Dusk and Darkness initiative,” said David Biderman, executive director and CEO, SWANA. “The men and women who collect New York City’s trash at night face the risk of serious injuries or death due to unsafe driving by cars and other vehicles. In fact, SWANA’s Safety Ambassador in New York City was struck and seriously injured this summer in such an incident on Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn. We encourage tough enforcement against drivers who threaten the lives of these essential workers at all solid waste collection companies and agencies.”