Life / Travel

New York officials warn drivers to watch out for pedestrians

NEW YORK — The city is ramping up pedestrian safety efforts during the annual influx of holiday visitors and decreased daylight hours.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, police Commissioner James P. O'Neill and other officials said Tuesday that this season is traditionally the "deadliest time for pedestrians." They said education and focused enforcement efforts are working but there's still a lot to be done.

Drivers making turns are urged to take special care.

"It's a message to all drivers," de Blasio said. "There will be consequences if you speed. There will be consequences if you fail to yield to pedestrians. There will be consequences if you drive the wrong speed in a school zone."

The Democratic mayor expressed optimism in the future success of the stepped-up efforts to bring down the number of pedestrian fatalities: "This is just the beginning of something that's going to go much further."

Drivers, and even bicyclists, who break the law will get tickets. Pedestrians should watch out, too, police said.

"Regardless of your mode of transportation — a car, bike or on foot — put your phones down," O'Neill said.

O'Neill also said there will be more sobriety checkpoints across the city.

"If you're going to drink, call yourself a cab, get yourself home safely," he said. "A little pre-planning this holiday season will go a long way to keep everybody in New York City safe."

Ongoing safety efforts include reduced speed limits, cameras around schools, better intersection lighting, more police in problem areas and TV ads. Some traffic signals have been slowed down to give pedestrians more time to cross streets.

New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner for Technology Jessica Tisch unveiled an analytic engine available to the public on the NYPD website , which she said allows "unprecedented access" to data on collisions. The analytic engine gives drivers and pedestrians the information and the tools they need to view, map and analyze collision data.