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Mayor Adams Launches Major Campaign to Tackle Traffic Violence: "Speeding Ruins Lives. Slow Down."

May 2, 2022

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New $4 Million Campaign Targets Speeding, Dangerous Driving Behaviors That Increased During Pandemic With Ads in Nine Languages, Represents City’s Largest and Most Concentrated Public Education Investment in Vision Zero

New Effort Follows Mayor Adams’ $900 Million Investment in Traffic Safety, Plan to Redesign 1,000 Intersections Across Five Boroughs, Campaign for Local Control of Proven Traffic Safety Tools

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez today launched a $4 million multi-platform, multilingual campaign to counter rising traffic violence and curb dangerous driving behaviors, like speeding, that have occurred at higher rates since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city’s largest and most concentrated investment in public awareness since the start of Vision Zero in 2014, the campaign — titled “Speeding Ruins Lives, Slow Down” — also represents the largest education effort targeted at community and ethnic media with a $1.5 million commitment, helping to reach a range of communities across the five boroughs, including communities of color that disproportionately suffer as a result of traffic violence. Video ads and other content will appear in a total of nine languages, including English and Spanish.

“Traffic safety is public safety, and today we are continuing to take action against traffic violence,” said Mayor Adams. “This unprecedented campaign will reach New Yorkers across the five boroughs in nine languages with one message: Slow down. And we are going to do all we can to focus on the ultimate goal of Vision Zero and eliminate traffic fatalities.”

“Over the next two months, New Yorkers will see for themselves the horrible aftermath of driving too fast,” said DOT Commissioner Rodriguez. “This campaign will be unprecedented in the extent of its outreach: It will be in more communities, cover more community and ethnic media, and speak to New Yorkers in nine different languages. We thank the mayor for his support and leadership as we use all the tools in the toolbox to fight this traffic violence crisis.”

Images that will be featured in the new Vision Zero campaign.

Images that will be featured in the new Vision Zero campaign.

Images that will be featured in the new Vision Zero campaign.

Images that will be featured in the new Vision Zero campaign. The English version will be on a new billboard in East New York.

The campaign launched with the unveiling of a new billboard on Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn. With 35 traffic fatalities and more than 300 serious injuries since 2017, East New York is one of the neighborhoods hit hardest by traffic violence during the last two years of the pandemic and a Vision Zero priority area with major safety and street redesign projects also currently underway. Campaign content will reach all five boroughs through a variety of media, radio and television ads, billboards, bus shelters, LinkNYC kiosks, and gas station pumps. An extensive community and ethnic media presence — with a $1.5 million commitment marking the city’s first Vision Zero public education campaign focused on community and ethnic media with more than $1 million — will include newspaper and online digital ads, running in nine different languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish. Russian, and Spanish.

The new effort follows Mayor Adams’ historic investment of more than $900 million in street safety as part of his fiscal year 2023 executive budget. Mayor Adams also announced a plan to redesign 1,000 intersections across New York City to protect pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, and he has led a coalition of partners urging Albany to give New York City local control of automated enforcement, a tool proven to reduce dangerous driving.

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) continues to increase its enforcement of speeding and reckless driving in areas where fatalities are occurring. In the 28-day period ending April 24, 2022, the NYPD issued 47.4 percent more summonses for all hazardous conditions on New York City’s roads than in the same period in 2021. The NYPD also issued 54.6 percent more summonses in that period than in the same period last year, including a 322 percent increase in East New York’s 75th precinct, and they have issued five percent more speeding summonses citywide in the first four months of 2022 than they had at this point last year.

“Speeding and reckless driving behavior puts everyone on New York City’s roads at risk, and eradicating it remains at the core of the NYPD’s intelligence-driven traffic safety policies,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Y. Royster. “We have stepped up enforcement on highways where data shows a rise in injuries and fatal collisions. Across the NYPD, we have focused relentlessly on drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists at intersections. And we have continued to conduct Vision Zero high-visibility corridor enforcement and education operations, which strategically deploy personnel to carry out traffic enforcement and education in areas of the city where it is needed most: those locations with a high number of vulnerable road users hurt in traffic collisions. The NYPD’s layered approach reinforces our core philosophy that traffic safety is public safety — a philosophy that drives enforcement across all our police precincts and at our weekly traffic safety forum meetings.”

“Getting around town by two wheels or two heels is the healthiest way to travel, but we need motorists to do their part to keep our roads safe for everyone” said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “This is a great campaign to keep safety at the front of drivers’ minds.”

“Speeding is the leading cause of pedestrian deaths,” said New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Acting Commissioner Ryan Wanttaja. “We know that the slower you drive, the more time you have to brake and react, and the TLC is proud to stand with the Department of Transportation on this campaign. Crashes are preventable, and no one should be hurt because of speeding.”

“We urge all drivers to slow down; it keeps pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists safe,” said New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Dawn M. Pinnock. “At DCAS, we have been hard at work to improve the safety of our fleet vehicles and explore new technologies to standardize safe driving among city employees. We will continue to support DOT and all agencies on our shared mission to make city streets safer for all New Yorkers.”

“DDC has more than $1.5 billion of Vision Zero, Great Streets, and Select Bus Service enhancements in its design and construction pipelines with DOT, and we’re finding ways to deliver those projects faster than ever before,” said New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “We’re implementing design-build for the first time in city infrastructure projects, we’re incorporating private utility work directly into our contracts so we have more control and fewer delays, and we’re using more precast concrete elements that let us continue work in the colder winter months. We’ll continue to seek ways to build safe streets projects faster and more efficiently.”

“Traffic related deaths rose last year to the highest number in years, and I applaud Mayor Adams and DOT Commissioner Rodriguez for prioritizing New Yorkers’ safety with a historic investment of more than $900 million to confront traffic violence in New York City in a new Vision Zero public awareness campaign,” said U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney. “Every single New Yorker — regardless of the language they speak or their preferred mode of transportation — will see these ads in a variety of different languages and transportation kiosks. Making this information widespread and accessible is the first step in reducing unneeded injuries and fatalities.”

“Sadly, serious traffic injuries and deaths are an epidemic that’s impacted the lives of countless New Yorkers — and Vision Zero seeks to end this traffic violence crisis,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “In Congress, I was proud to fight for the ‘Safe Streets and Roads for All’ grant program in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will advance Vision Zero and safe system strategies. I applaud Mayor Adams and DOT Commissioner Rodriguez for their leadership in creating a safer city through engineering, enforcement, and education. This will protect the lives of residents and tourists alike as we seek to build a better, safer New York City for all.”

“Pedestrians continue to be killed or seriously injured by vehicles on our city streets,” said New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “Achieving vision zero requires re-engineering intersections, strengthening our laws in Albany, and, most importantly, getting through to motorists that speeding and reckless driving kill, period. I applaud Mayor Adams’ public awareness campaign and look forward to helping achieve Vision Zero.” 

“Too often, people don’t consider the life-and-death consequences of reckless driving until it is too late,” said New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “This campaign will remind motorists to respect the rules of the road for the safety of themselves and others. I thank Mayor Adams for not only making public safety a priority in neighborhoods across our city but doing so in a culturally sensitive manner.”

“The rise in traffic violence in recent years is deeply concerning, and I am pleased to see Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez launching a new public-awareness campaign to combat dangerous driving behavior in our city,” said New York State Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz. “I strongly agree with Mayor Adams that we must give New York City the autonomy to govern its own streets and to establish as many speed cameras as it takes to ensure that pedestrians and all New Yorkers are safe in their own neighborhoods.”

“On our congested streets, we need people to drive more slowly and be more mindful of their surroundings,” said New York State Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “Everyone using the roads must be aware of and considerate of all New Yorkers. I’m happy to see Mayor Adams making a commitment to address the increase in traffic violence in the city, and I appreciate this effort to raise awareness and remind drivers of their responsibilities.”

“We need every tool in our arsenal to end the scourge of reckless driving and put our city back on the path to zero traffic fatalities,” said New York State Assemblymember Emily Gallagher. “In addition to urgent infrastructure changes, expanded automated enforcement, and home rule for NYCDOT, education is key. I commend the mayor for committing significant resources to this important public awareness campaign.”

“In his first four months in office, the mayor has made it a priority to end traffic violence across the five boroughs,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “This newest public awareness campaign to curb dangerous driving is multilingual, reaching all corners and communities of our city. It follows the mayor’s extraordinary commitment to redesign 1,000 intersections, where over half of crashes and injuries occur. Indeed, when the world saw the horrifying traffic death in my district, Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez immediately responded with safety measures to ensure it never happens again. Now they are doing the same for all of New York City, delivering pedestrians and drivers alike the safety they need to enjoy our city streets.”

“We must continue to make our streets safer for pedestrians and New Yorkers invested in alternative modes of transportation,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Thank you, Mayor Adams, on this important public-awareness campaign and continued advocacy to get Albany to give back ‘home rule’ so we can enforce new safety guidance on our streets.”

“Our streets belong to everyone — pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike — and we must leave no stone unturned to ensure that they are made safe for everyone,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Far too many families have been devastated by traffic violence, and this critical, multilingual public-awareness campaign is a critical tool, especially in a borough as diverse as Queens, to help prevent even more of our neighbors from senselessly losing loved ones.”

“Investment in, and implementation of, smart traffic policies, including a new multi-platform, multilingual public-awareness campaign, will advance a comprehensive approach to keep New York’s streets safe,” said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers, chair, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “As New Yorkers explore their neighborhoods following the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant investment in the ‘NYC Streets Plan’ will help to curb the increase in traffic fatalities and incidents. Smart street design, traffic enforcement, but most of all true infrastructure investments are the keys to decreasing this alarming trend.”

“Mayor Adams’ new multilingual Vision Zero awareness campaign presses New Yorkers to contend with the fact that traffic fatalities and injuries are still too common, despite work to make our streets safer. Cars are dangerous, especially in a city of 8 million people, and traffic violence impacts every community,” said New York City Councilmember Gale A. Brewer. “I commend Mayor Adams for committing a historic $904 million in funding toward realizing the ‘NYC Streets Plan’ to support the network of multi-modal transportation and improve safety.”

“Traffic violence has impacted my life personally, and targeting dangerous driving is a key tool that must be employed as we fight for Vision Zero,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. “I’m particularly thankful for Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez bringing language access to this campaign: our streets can only be safe if drivers of all backgrounds and languages follow the rules of the road.”

“We must reimagine our streets for people. Car crashes on New York City streets kill hundreds of New Yorkers every year, each one a neighbor, friend, or family member,” said New York City Councilmember Shekar Krishnan. “I thank Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez for launching this campaign to highlight this truth and for investing in life-saving solutions like the ‘NYC Streets Plan’ and 34th Avenue Open Street/Paseo Park in my community of Jackson Heights.”

“As the Council Member representing the Manhattan precinct with the highest incidents of vehicular violence, investing in Vision Zero campaigns is of utmost importance,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin. “This historical marketing investment by Mayor Eric Adams will increase awareness and make our streets safer for all New Yorkers.”

“So many families in our city have lost loved ones because of speeding vehicles,” said New York City Councilmember Sandy Nurse. “Today’s launch shows the city is listening to these families and making Vision Zero a priority.”

“Expanding initiatives that raise attention to issues of traffic violence is necessary to creating safer streets for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Councilmember Kevin C. Riley. “The mayor’s announcement to implement a fluent, multi-media Vision Zero public-awareness campaign, spanning across all five boroughs, will expand the city’s outreach to hold reckless drivers accountable. Coupled with the major investments to improve our street safety and public transportation, we can ensure to rebuild infrastructure that protects all commuters, regardless of their means of travel.”

“Robust public outreach and education are integral to upholding the promises made through Vision Zero,” said New York City Councilmember Carlina Rivera. “I applaud Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez on the announcement of this new campaign and look forward to continued efforts to engage all New Yorkers in the fight for safer streets.”

“Public education is crucial to addressing speeding and other dangerous driving, and it should go hand in hand with enforcement programs,” said Ken Podziba, president and CEO, Bike New York. “We’re hopeful that the breadth and coverage of this new campaign will mean fewer injuries and fatalities. We thank Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez for committing to not only infrastructure improvements in the city but also to greater public awareness across the five boroughs.”

“For over five years, I’ve been working with community partners to help Eastern Brooklyn residents access and embrace cycling as a mobility solution to their limited transit options,” said Courtney Williams, founder and president, Brown Bike Girl. “However, it is impossible to advance a cycling mobility and environmental revolution when the residents’ top fear is becoming victim to reckless and aggressive auto driving.”

“We thank Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez for dedicating funds to providing New Yorkers with important information on the dangers of driving fast,” Angela Azzolino, executive director, Get Women Cycling. “The multimedia public service campaign serving the city’s top priority areas is a great opportunity for communities to better understand the dangers of speeding when driving on densely populated streets. Fatalities and serious injuries due to car crashes are preventable, but infrastructure and enforcement alone do not change driving behavior. We look forward to working with the city administration and our peers as we continue to advocate for much-needed funding for safety awareness campaigns, education, and outreach.”

“We need our streets to be safe for riders and pedestrians if we’re going to reduce our reliance on cars and the harmful emissions that damage public health and our environment,” said Julie Tighe, president, New York League of Conservation Voters. “The ‘Speeding Ruins Lives’ campaign is part of the critical effort toward Vision Zero and protecting every resident, rider, and pedestrian, and the New York League of Conservation Voters supports this significant investment.”

“RPA applauds Mayor Adams, Commissioner Rodriguez, and DOT for their strong investments to help curb the disturbing trend of reckless and deadly driving that has already destroyed so many lives since the start of the pandemic,” said Tiffany-Ann Taylor, vice president, transportation, Regional Plan Association (RPA). “The ‘NYC Streets Plan’ lays out a number of crucial investments to our infrastructure that will help save lives, prevent injuries, and improve our streets for all. RPA looks forward to working with the Adams administration to put these ideas into action.”

“Today’s message from Mayor Adams is right: Speeding ruins lives,” said Danny Harris, executive director, Transportation Alternatives. “The most effective ways to reduce speeding and save lives are with automated speed safety cameras and comprehensive street redesigns. We’re glad to see Mayor Adams’s commitment to $904 million in funding for the ‘NYC Streets Plan’ and to secure home rule over traffic safety for New York City. We will continue to work with his administration to get Vision Zero back on track.”

“Our transportation system must serve everyone in every neighborhood of our city,” said Renae Reynolds, executive director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “The streets should be designed with all users in mind, especially those considered most vulnerable — people walking, bicycling, and rolling. Tri-State Transportation Campaign is pleased to join with Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez in highlighting the high danger of high speeds on our streets. We join them in calling for the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act in Albany as well as for home rule for New York City to operate red-light and bus-enforcement cameras. We have the tools to end this public health crisis, and this campaign will help to get us closer to implementing them.”

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