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Pedestrian Deaths Dip Amid 'Dusk and Darkness' Safety Campaign, City Says

 Forty five pedestrians were killed amid the winter initiative to lessen their deaths, officials said.
Forty five pedestrians were killed amid the winter initiative to lessen their deaths, officials said.
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NEW YORK CITY — Pedestrian deaths dipped during the darker months from November 2016 through February 2017 amid a concerted city effort to lessen those deaths during the period, officials said.

In that time, 45 pedestrians were killed — 16 fewer than during the same time the year before, the most significant drop in any of the traffic demographics that the city tracked, according to Department of Transportation data.

City officials attributed the drop to their "Dusk and Darkness" traffic safety initiative, which launched in November as part of part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's broader Vision Zero campaign. 

"Dusk to Darkness" explicitly targeted the correlation between a spike in pedestrian deaths and the months when night is longest, officials said.

During the winter safety initiative, the city inundated the airwaves and distributed reminders to practice good driving while the NYPD ramped up its ticketing effort, officials said. Police issued 243,943 violations, which officials said is a 10 percent increase over last year.

"We are encouraged by the results of our first-ever Dusk and Darkness campaign, which showed a dramatic decrease in roadway fatalities this winter, during DOT's and NYPD's concerted campaign of targeted education and enforcement," DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

Overall, traffic deaths dropped as well with 66 reported from November 2016 to March 7, compared to the 89 from the same period a year before, officials said.

The November-to-February drop matches a broader trend downward in traffic deaths, except for a few outliers, according to city data.

There were actually more pedestrian and cyclist deaths in 2016 — 163 — than any year since the Vision Zero initiative began in 2014, data shows.

Still, overall deaths, which includes those two groups as well as drivers and passengers, dropped to 230 deaths from the five-year high of 299 in 2013

De Blasio, during a Thursday press conference, cautioned that morning commutes will darken again starting Sunday when Daylight Saving Time begins.

"Next week, the mornings will be darker, so drivers need to be alert and make allowances for themselves as well as for their fellow commuters walking to work and for kids making their way to school," the mayor said.