Vision Zero: As Warmer Spring Weather Finally Arrives, Mayor Announces New Efforts to Stop Dangerous Drivers This Weekend

April 12, 2018

NYPD’s new “Warm Weather Weekends” enforcement focuses on the correlation between rising temperatures and a springtime weekend surge in traffic crashes – including an 88 percent increase in serious motorcyclist injuries and fatalities

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that as part of Vision Zero and with warm weather in the forecast, the NYPD and the DOT would begin a new safety campaign aimed at motorists and motorcyclists, whom crash data show drive more dangerously on warmer spring weekends.  This Saturday’s weather forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. 

“The groundbreaking Dusk and Darkness campaign delivered promising results, leading our Vision Zero agencies to laser-focus on data-driven strategies to drive down fatalities,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Another unfortunate trend we have seen is the increase in dangerous driving during the spring, especially on weekends as weather begins to warm.  So we are telling drivers and motorcyclists: we know that this winter has been too long and too cold, but nicer weather this weekend is no excuse for dangerous driving.  The NYPD will be out in force to ensure you do not travel at speeds that endanger you and your fellow New Yorkers.”

“NYPD officers will be out in force on weekends to combat the behaviors most associated with traffic tragedies,” said Chief Thomas Chan, the NYPD’s Chief of Transportation. “It is unfortunate we see upticks in dangerous driving behavior during these long-awaited warm weather weekends, especially in the form of reckless motorcycle driving. Our goal is to ensure everyone enjoys these weekends and returns home safely. That will be our measure of success.”

“After this endless winter, spring cannot come soon enough.  We know from past years’ experience that on warm weather weekends we see far too many tragedies on our roads, especially among motorists and motorcyclists,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “So our message to New Yorkers is simple: go out and play this spring -- but if you are driving, please do so safely.  You could save a life, including your own.”

Warm Weather Weekends:  Officials were spurred to action by the events of April 29, 2017: In a year that was the overall safest-ever on New York City streets, that Saturday was the second deadliest day of the entire year. The first warm weekend day at the end of an unusually cool month, April 29th was sunny with a high temperature of 87 degrees.  In a number of different serious crashes around New York City that day, many of which involved speeding, 4 New Yorkers lost their lives and 204 were injured. 

DOT then conducted a detailed analysis of traffic fatalities and severe injuries from 2007 to 2016, observing the rate of traffic deaths and serious injuries on warmer days in March through June.  Comparing crash data to weather records, DOT studied days where temperatures were 60 degrees or higher, and uncovered the following clear correlative trends: 

  • The average number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in traffic crashes on weekends starts to rise in March and peaks during June.  In April, the weekend KSI rate is 28 percent higher than in January/February.
  • The danger in the spring is most pronounced for motor vehicle occupants and motorcyclists: on warm weather Saturdays and Sundays in April, the KSI rate for drivers and car occupants is 41 percent higher than the winter weekend rate.  For motorcyclists, the KSI danger on weekends rises by 88 percent.
  • Data appear to show that higher KSI rates on warmer spring days are limited to Saturdays and Sundays.  On weekdays, DOT data show that the average number of KSI annually during April warm weather weekdays is only 4% higher than the January/February winter weekday rate.  
  • In response to this data, NYPD and DOT will this weekend initiate season-specific efforts to deter reckless behavior to keep all New Yorkers safe.  Officials will remind drivers that they should continue to obey the speed limit, slow down, turn slowly and yield to pedestrians.  Drivers should expect heightened enforcement, from NYPD Highway Patrol and local precincts, each of which now has its own speed detection equipment.

 

"As the weather warms up, residents and visitors will want to enjoy everything lower Manhattan has to offer,” said Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “Lower Manhattan is a walking neighborhood, and there's a lot to experience here on foot. From local shops on the Lower East Side to restaurants in Chinatown, it's important that both pedestrians and motorists have a safe experience as the weather gets warmer. Thank you DOT and NYPD for raising awareness of this issue."

"We are all very much looking forward to enjoying the warmer weather, and brighter and longer days, but the importance of traffic safety never changes,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Committee on Transportation. “We must continue the progress we have made in reducing traffic fatalities and enhance tools we have applied to further our efforts in specific types of traffic fatalities. I thank the work of the NYPD and the DOT to ensure this campaign is a success."

"We're all excited to get outside this weekend and hit the road, whether on two wheels, four wheels, or two feet. Unfortunately, warm-weather weekends also inspire reckless behavior behind the wheel," said Alec Slatky, Manager of Government Affairs for AAA Northeast. "DOT and NYPD deserve credit for honing in on this specific problem and creating a plan to tackle the issue. This type of analysis and data-driven enforcement is essential to continuing the decline in traffic fatalities. Enjoy the beautiful Saturday, but do so responsibly – for your sake and for everyone else on the road."

Last year was the fourth consecutive year of declining traffic deaths under Vision Zero, with the fewest-ever overall traffic fatalities citywide, driven by a 29 percent one-year decline in pedestrian fatalities.  As part of the initiative, DOT implemented its most aggressive street redesign safety program, with increased investment in street redesign and traffic-calming measures citywide.  Unfortunately, even with historic fatality declines, 2017 was marked by increases in both motorcyclist and motor vehicle fatalities – trends that Warm Weather Weekends is designed to address. 

For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see www.nyc.gov/visionzero.


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