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Vision Zero: With Spring Weather in Forecast, Mayor Announces Return of "Warm Weather Weekends" Traffic Safety Campaign

March 29, 2019

NYPD will strengthen enforcement tomorrow and on warm weekends throughout spring, when data show an increase in speed-related crashes


NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that with warm weather in the forecast, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) would re-launch the Vision Zero “Warm Weather Weekends” spring safety campaign this weekend.  Saturday’s weather forecast calls for a high in the 60s, and according to crash data, motorists and motorcyclists drive more dangerously on warmer spring weekends.   

“Springtime weather is no excuse for dangerous driving that puts New Yorkers at risk,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Warm Weather Weekends are targeted enforcement derived from our data-driven Vision Zero campaign that helped make 2018 the safest year ever on our streets. The NYPD will be out in force to make sure everyone is more mindful of road safety, so we can save lives across our city.”

Drivers should expect heightened enforcement this weekend, from NYPD Highway Patrol and local precincts, each of which now has its own speed detection equipment. Officials will remind drivers that they should continue to obey the speed limit, turn slowly and yield to pedestrians. They will also be calling on drivers to “Look twice for motorcycles,” while reminding motorcyclists – who ride in greater numbers over weekends – to make sure they have the right licensure and registration, avoid risky passing between vehicles, and get practice before riding the open road.

“Through the Warm Weather Weekends campaign, we and our Vision Zero partners are taking preventive action after seeing far too many tragedies accompany the rise in temperatures, especially among drivers and motorcyclists,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Our message to New Yorkers is simple: we’re all excited that spring is here, and we want you to get out there and enjoy it -- but if you are driving a car or riding a motorcycle, please do so safely.”

“As the temperature rises and being outdoors becomes more inviting, the NYPD will continue to ensure that drivers watch for the additional pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists who will be on the road, especially when making left turns,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. “Drivers need to be mindful of the harm caused by not yielding to these vulnerable road users. Motorcyclists can also prevent serious injuries by obeying the rules, especially our speed limits.”          

Warm Weather Weekends:  Officials were originally 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 bring back season-specific efforts to deter reckless behavior to keep all New Yorkers safe. 

“As the weather heats up this spring and into summer, motorists need to be more cautious of their speeds when driving on our city streets. Thank you to the NYPD and DOT for the joint enforcement effort to keep our city streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation. “It’s vital that we continue to implement the Vision Zero agenda and other traffic calming measures to keep everyone safe while commuting throughout New York City.”

“The numbers do not lie, warmer weather results in more traffic accidents,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “With spring around the corner, we must be vigilant and remember that safety is as important as enjoying the warmer temperatures. Last year, Vision Zero’s Warm Weather Weekends campaign significantly reduced the number of accidents throughout the spring months. I wholeheartedly support the return of this campaign and I hope all New Yorkers can enjoy the warmer weather.”

“Widely-broadcast enforcement efforts are one of the best deterrents to reckless driving,” said Transportation Alternatives Interim Director Marco Conner. “We're pleased to see NYC DOT and the NYPD making sure drivers slow down, especially on warm-weather weekends when more New Yorkers are out running and biking.” 

About Vision Zero:

Vision Zero is the de Blasio administration’s initiative to use every tool at its disposal to end traffic deaths and injuries on New York City streets. In 2018, New York City experienced its safest year on record with the fifth straight year of fatality declines. Since the program’s inaugural year in 2014, when New York City became the first American city to adopt Vision Zero, the city’s traffic fatalities have declined more than 30 percent — bucking national fatality trends, which have increased 15 percent over the same period.

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

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