DOT Launches Anti-Reckless Driving Campaign Featuring Families of Victims

David Shephard's fiancée was killed by a reckless driver in the Bronx. Image: DOT
David Shephard’s fiancée Sonya Powell was killed by a reckless driver in a Bronx crosswalk. Images: DOT

DOT announced yesterday that it is launching an education campaign to combat reckless driving — specifically speeding, distracted driving, and failure to yield to pedestrians. These three violations combined account for 40 percent of New Yorkers killed in car crashes, DOT says.

The campaign, which will be on bus shelters, billboards, radio and social media, and will soon be accompanied by a campaign against drunk driving, features family members of those killed by reckless drivers. One ad features Audrey Anderson, whose son Andre, 14, was killed in 2005 while riding his bike on Shore Front Parkway in the Rockaways. Another ad shows David Shephard, whose fiancée Sonya Powell was killed in a Baychester Avenue crosswalk in 2009 by a speeding driver.

In 2012 alone, 34 people were killed by drivers not yielding the right of way, 48 were killed by distracted drivers, and 59 were killed by speeding drivers, DOT says.

In its release announcing the campaign, DOT noted that pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in recent years and singled out drivers who mount sidewalks as one of the reasons for the increase in fatalities. Researchers said last week at Elmhurst Hospital that they are also seeing an increase in sidewalk crashes.

Audrey Anderson's 14-year-old son Andre was killed by a motorist while riding his bike in 2005.
Audrey Anderson’s 14-year-old son Andre was killed by a motorist while riding his bike in 2005.
  • Bolwerk

    Glad they’re paying some attention to the real problem now, but it sorta misses the point or at least is contradicted by the fact that they give driver’s licenses out like candy.

    In all the outrage about that “affluenza” case last week, I didn’t see anyone question the logic of giving licenses out to 16-year-olds.

  • Ian Turner

    NYCDOT does not control driver licenses, that’s DMV (which is a state agency).

  • Bolwerk

    I’m aware of that, but that kind of double standard pretty well makes this pointless.

  • LN

    We’ve come a long way. In 2006 Audrey DOT threatened to remove Andre Anderson’s ghost bike http://times-up.mayfirst.org/sites/default/files/uploads/pdf/gb_anderson_letter_to_DOT.pdf – now they are featuring his story and his amazing mom on bus shelters. Rest In Peace, Andre

  • LN

    edit: …In 2006 Audrey heard from DOT who threatened…

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    Different people work in different branches of government and have different focuses. I agree, we should be much more strict about licensing, like driving tests every 5 years. But at least someone at the DOT cares and is trying to make a difference. I’m happy when the system works, even if it’s only I’m fits and starts.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    Good point. I guess some of what we’re doing is really making a difference.

  • Bolwerk

    I think the good news here is DOT isn’t limiting itself to blaming pedestrians with that condescending “LOOK” campaign.

    Still, official policy is directly contradicting what little P.R. this is. It would be much more helpful if government agencies coordinated with each other to solve problems. I really doubt antisocial types who behave like goons on the road heed these signs.

  • Rabi Abonour

    I like this campaign, but I think that there is an issue here in that I don’t think people think of distracted driving as reckless. Most people are opposed to “reckless” driving, but how many would consider themselves reckless when they text and drive?

  • JL

    True. The ads could be more pointed. “Texting kills”..

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