‘Operation See! Be Seen!’ runs June 11-24 with new pedestrian safety PSA
√ New York pedestrian fatalities dropped 18% from 2019 to 2020 despite national increase
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced law enforcement will be participating in the "Operation See! Be Seen!" pedestrian safety campaign from June 11-24 to decrease pedestrian-involved crashes. As part of this education effort, a new PSA will air on radio, television and social media and will be displayed on billboards. The new PSA focuses on reminding pedestrians and motorists to "look out" for each other in common scenarios where they may not anticipate or be visible to each other due to obstructions in or near the roadway.
This campaign is part of New York's nationally recognized Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, which utilizes education, equitable enforcement and engineering to boost the safety of pedestrians throughout the state.
"New York's Pedestrian Safety Action Plan has played a critical role in making our streets safer and our communities more walkable," Cuomo said. "No state is more committed to protecting the safety of pedestrians than New York and this campaign serves as an important component in educating both drivers and pedestrians about their responsibilities to protect one another on the road."
Through the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, or PSAP, the state has made what it called substantial progress protecting pedestrians. Preliminary data shows pedestrian fatalities are down more than 26% statewide from 2016, when the PSAP began, to 2020. According to a recent report, New York had 51 fewer pedestrian fatalities in 2020 compared to 2019 – an 18% reduction – while nationally, pedestrian fatalities were up nearly 5%. The Governor's Highway Safety Association (GTSC) awarded New York's PSAP the Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award in 2018 for significant contributions to pedestrian and motorist safety.
During the "Operation See! Be Seen!" mobilization, law enforcement will engage motorists and pedestrians to inform and educate them about pedestrian safety laws and issue warning notices or tickets when necessary. They will also distribute multilanguage informative tip cards and campaign materials. The type of violations that will be targeted include motorists failing to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, or pedestrians crossing against the orange "DO NOT WALK" hand.
Cuomo’s press release offered these safety reminders for drivers and pedestrians:
Safety Reminders for Drivers
√ Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections
√ Do not block crosswalks when stopped at an intersection
√ Always look for pedestrians, particularly when turning at a green light or making a right turn on red
√ Take extra care around schools, playgrounds and neighborhoods
Safety Reminders for Pedestrians
√ Cross at intersections and marked crosswalks
√ Use pedestrian pushbuttons where available and wait for the signal to cross
√ Use sidewalks; if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic so you see vehicles and drivers see you
√ Stay visible by wearing light-colored or reflective clothing
√ Watch for vehicles backing out of parking spaces and exiting driveways
√ Make eye contact with drivers so they see you
√ Before crossing, look left, right, then left again, and over your shoulder for turning vehicles
The five-year, $110 million, Pedestrian Safety Action Plan runs through 2021. The plan is being implemented cooperatively by the GTSC, which coordinates equitable enforcement campaigns like the "Operation See! Be Seen!" mobilization; New York State Department of Transportation, which focuses on engineering improvements; and the State Department of Health, which conducts public education and awareness campaigns.
DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Safety is our No. 1 priority at New York State DOT and we are proud to partner in this multiagency, comprehensive effort known as 'PSAP'. The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan focuses on all the critical elements of pedestrian safety – engineering, education and enforcement – providing enhanced safety for pedestrians at hundreds of intersections all across New York state. The project on U.S. Route 11 in Malone that DOT is constructing is another example of our efforts to build more walkable, livable and safer corridors in communities across New York."
Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder, chair of the GTSC, said, "GTSC is proud to continue our work with DOT and DOH in helping to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities. I applaud Gov. Cuomo for establishing the first-of-its-kind multiagency plan that addresses pedestrian safety – the data shows we're making progress, and we're building the infrastructure and educating New Yorkers for even safer roads in the future."
Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "As more and more people take advantage of the health and economic benefits of walking and biking to their destinations, both motorists and pedestrians alike must be aware of their safety responsibilities in sharing New York's roadways. I am proud of our joint progress in implementing the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan and urge New Yorkers to continue to be mindful of the gains we have made in improving highway safety for all."
For more information on PSAP, visit https://www.ny.gov/programs/pedestrian-safety-action-plan. It provides an overview of the pedestrian safety plan, examples of highway safety improvements that can enhance pedestrian safety, and tips for safely navigating roadways as a pedestrian.