DOT Vision Zero Ad Targets Drivers Who Speed and Fail to Yield

DOT has released the first in another round of ads for its “Your Choices Matter” Vision Zero education campaign. It’s an effective and reality-based video spot that targets drivers who speed and fail to yield — leading causes of death and injury for people who walk and bike in NYC.

The 30-second PSA depicts a driver adjusting his radio and accelerating down a city street before making a fast right turn into a crosswalk and striking a child on a bike. “He wasn’t racing,” reads the title card. “The driver was. Slow down. Your choices matter.”

A DOT press release says the new ads “specifically identify driver behaviors,” and that “[r]eckless or dangerous driving decisions by motorists are key factors in 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities citywide.”

Motorists hurt and kill thousands of pedestrians on city streets every year, and most victims who are struck in crosswalks have the walk signal.

“While NYC DOT redesigned more streets than ever and NYPD increased traffic enforcement, bringing safer streets to the five boroughs is also the responsibility of drivers,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in the press release. “Drivers’ choices behind the wheel matter and these television advertisements will remind millions of people that their actions can have fatal consequences for New Yorkers and their families.”

A second video ad will be released later this week, according to DOT. The video spots will run on broadcast and cable television through the end of June.

Other ads “will feature images of items found at crash scenes and tell the stories of the pedestrian-victims,” and relate findings from DOT borough pedestrian safety action plans, the press release says. Ads will be placed on radio, in newspapers, online, on billboards, and at street-level locations including busses and bus shelters, phone kiosks, and along priority corridors identified in the pedestrian safety action plans.

  • Jesse

    I love this line “Your Choices Matter”. In a perfect world, the “choice” referred to would be the person’s choice to even introduce a car into a crowded environment filled with pedestrians when they could have just as easily taken transit. But baby steps. Even just acknowledging that reckless driver behavior is responsible for so many deaths and injuries is (sadly) a sign of progress.

  • Larry Littlefield

    After reading the coverage here, the following popped into my head as I watch the ad.

    “Too bad about the mother’s accident, but the cyclist shouldn’t have run the green light.”

    This is why I taught my kids to avoid crossing at the corner when they were little. I felt they were safer crossing mid-block, after making sure no vehicles were coming as far as the eye could see. And walking through the subway station to avoid crossing bigger streets.

  • IlIlIl

    That doesn’t look like an MTA bus. One of which tried to run me over twice last Thursday.

  • red_greenlight1

    TV ads are great and all but without enforcement they mean jack shit.

  • Joe R.

    Drivers’ choices to get behind the wheel in the first place have fatal consequences, starting with those will die of asthma or cancer. Maybe we need a PSA for that, too. Trottenberg, I’ll raise you ten dead people for every one you raise me who died directly from traffic violence.

  • Joe R.

    Subway stations should be the defacto way to cross wide streets wherever they exist. If need be put in ramps for handicapped accessibility. When I cross Queens Boulevard near the Continental Avenue station I’m dumbfounded anyone would want to cross at street level. Close crosswalks in places like that and make the subway station the one and only way to cross. You’ll probably save more lives than all these PSAs will.

  • Hilda

    This is a creative but pointed PSA from DOT. Kudos to those at DOT that made this happen. This ad would have met controversy if it had to go before a community board to be shown though, and it likely would not have had the same spot on message.

  • ahwr

    Don’t be ridiculous. Emissions from motor vehicles are responsible only for some minority of air pollution, you can’t attribute all those deaths to it.

  • I saw this PSA on TV this evening and it was clever and shocking. Thank goodness NYC media spills over into most of NJ because the reality is no one is really even talking about bike and pedestrian safety on the state level. It barely even on their radar here.

  • I agree. This is a very good ad. Nice job NYC DOT. I’ve seen it all over tv tonight.

  • stairbob

    Here’s a story about a study which says more than a quarter of air pollution deaths are due to motor vehicles.

  • stairbob

    How are people going to get their cars down the subway steps?

    Oh you mean for pedestrians? That’s daft.

  • JamesR

    The privately owned vehicle fleet is gradually converting over to hybrid and electric power, so the pollution issue among single occupancy vehicles will take care of itself over time. PM2.5 emissions from diesel trucks is a far more salient issue IMO, as I don’t see commercial trucking shifting away from diesel anytime in the foreseeable future.

  • Joe R.

    I know electric garbage trucks are getting close to prime time ( ). We can probably also convert much or most of the short haul fleet, like USPS, UPS, Fedex, buses, local delivery trucks and so forth to electric. We’ll probably eventually have a small battery and electric drive of larger, long distance trucks to enable them to run on straight electric at least when they’re in cities.

    One thing NYC seriously needs to look at are things like leaf blowers. Those put out tons of pollution. They’re noisy as heck besides. We should make operating small, single stroke engines illegal within city limits. I’ve little doubt they’re a significant source of pollution (and a definite noisy nuisance).

  • Joe R.

    Ouch. If you normalize the numbers by population that implies about 1,600 premature deaths in NYC alone. The actual number is probably more than that due to the exposure rate (those just commuting in for work are exposed nearly as much as city residents). It wouldn’t surprise me if we were looking at 3,000 premature deaths in NYC. If you place an actuarial value of $1 million on each lost life, that’s $3 billion annually, or ~$350 for each NYC resident. Little doubt the human and financial costs of motor vehicle air pollution are more than we would like to admit. Unlike deaths due to traffic violence, this is 100% preventable by simply changing how vehicles are powered.


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