Greater Greater Washington

Roads


Who has the best anti-speeding ads, New York or DC?

We know that most elected officials are very concerned about people talking on airplanes but aren't willing to do much about distracted, reckless, and just speeding drivers who kill people on US roads every day. Can advertising persuade these drivers to be safe?


Image from NYC DOT.

New York's DOT created a series of ads that highlight the tragedy and loss that comes after a moment of inattention or the rush to get somewhere faster claims a life.


Image from NYC DOT.

Meanwhile, here in DC, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) put together this 3-minute video about the dangers of speeding, featuring MPD chief Cathy Lanier, DDOT head Terry Bellamy, and others.

Former GGW contributor Stephen Miller hopes that New York's next police commissioner, former commissioner Bill Bratton, will show the same level of concern about speeding that Lanier and others at MPD seem to.

Perhaps what we need is DC officials' attitudes coupled with New York's ad-making prowess. The regional Street Smart campaign, which runs ads each spring, has recently garnered more mixed reviews or outright derision.

What kinds of ads do you think are most effective?

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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Ad campaigns that tell people to follow rules they are already aware of are mostly an excuse for not enforcing those rules. How about educating people about rules they don't know, like the laws about unmarked crosswalks?

by Ben Ross on Dec 27, 2013 12:47 pm • linkreport

Action is better than the best ad campaign.

NYC may have emotionally powerful ads, but didn't charge a taxi driver who, in a fit of road rage, drove onto the sidewalk and severed a woman's leg. BikesnobNYC regularly rants on the failure of NYC to prosecute drivers who kill.

My impression is that DC is better, but has a very long way to go.

by SJE on Dec 27, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

This looks like a "solution" in search of problem to me.

Really, when was the last time a pedestrian in DC was killed by a "speeding driver"? How many pedestrians in DC were killed by "speeding drivers" in the last 12 months?

by ceefer66 on Dec 27, 2013 2:40 pm • linkreport

In fact, speed is the key factor — not just in pedestrian injuries and fatalities — but in discouraging walking. “The majority of crashes [resulting in] fatalities and serious injuries are related to high speed streets,” said Scott Bricker,

http://dc.streetsblog.org/2012/08/07/in-new-nhtsa-report-scarce-information-on-causes-of-pedestrian-deaths/

http://wamu.org/news/13/08/05/dcs_rate_of_pedestrian_fatalities_higher_than_national_average

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/half-of-dc-traffic-fatalities-were-pedestrians/2012/08/06/107be118-dff8-11e1-a19c-fcfa365396c8_story.html

Some of that is due to the fact that DC is fully urbanized which always throws figures off in rankings that compare it to states but data is unfortunately scarce on causes of the fatalities. It'd be better if we police/local govt's interested in investigating these things but until then we should probably put the burden of safety on those operating the multi-ton and high speed machines.

by drumz on Dec 27, 2013 3:18 pm • linkreport

Page 59 of the DDOT Traffic Safety Statistics for 2009-2011.

4.6.2 Crashes by Speed Violation

Speeding is known to contribute to the severity of a crash. The summary of crashes related to speeding is presented in Figure 4.49. From the results, approximately 3.5% of the crashes were speed related, which resulted in 37.5% of the total fatalities and 9.8% disabling injuries in 2011. In addition, the figure shows that of the total reported crashes that resulted in a disabling injury, about 10% were attributed to speeding.

by Crickey7 on Dec 27, 2013 3:32 pm • linkreport

DDOT also helpfully disaggregates crashes into the various causes, which include "interacting with pets," grooming and reading.

by Crickey7 on Dec 27, 2013 3:38 pm • linkreport

We don't yet know the details of the fatal collision on dec 19 where a driver killed a pedestrian in SW DC (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/woman-is-killed-by-suv-as-she-walked-dog/2013/12/19/d37ac8d6-6838-11e3-a0b9-249bbb34602c_story.html), but it could be that the answer to ceefer's question is "8 days ago."

by David Alpert on Dec 27, 2013 3:39 pm • linkreport

@ceefer66, and notice how they don't include bicyclists that uses those new sound proof music ear sets while riding through busy areas potentially running into someone or running into a moving vehicle.

by eric on Dec 28, 2013 10:18 am • linkreport

The concept of someone suggesting that speeding cars killing pedestrians isn't a real problem, especially kids and seniors, is so jaw dropping as to indicate either a mean spirited troll or just a plain narcissist.

Sadly no one seems to do this in dc, but take a look at the memorial work done by private citizens in New York city to get a sense of the brilliant lives crushed out of existence by police and prosecutor failure to enforce laws and prosecute the reckless and dangerous:

http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/12/27/in-memoriam-5/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Streetsblog+%28Streetsblog%29

by Paul H on Dec 28, 2013 10:33 am • linkreport

I'd also guess that "speed" is not counted unless more than 12 mph above the posted speed limit, irrespective of the actual conditions. Skid marks and eye witness are only a rough estimate of speed, and you have to be well above "normal" to be clearly considered speeding. Plus, we all know that doing 10 mph above the posted limit isn't speeding.

by SJE on Dec 28, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

Obviously the equally important flip side is educating bikers on safety. I encountered a biker last night on a busy stretch of Braddock Road in Centreville wearing only one piece of slightly fluorescent clothing. He had no lights or reflective pieces on his bike whatsoever. I think too many bikers think the world revolves around them and have no common sense whatsoever. There are enough distractions for drivers already without adding bikers who flout traffic requirements to the mix.

by Eleanor on Dec 28, 2013 1:12 pm • linkreport

I find that cyclists who ride at night without bikes or reflective clothing are often poor folks who rely on their bikes for transportation. FABB has attempted to distribute free lights to such cyclists, and anyone who cares about that issue should get involved.

"There are enough distractions for drivers already without adding bikers who flout traffic requirements to the mix."

The ambiguity of the English language prevents me from knowing if you mean that bikers in general flout laws and bikers should not be in the road - or if you simply mean that those cyclists who flout the law ought to keep it - that is true, but is of course true of drivers and pedestrians. And I would suggest its a minor factor compared to drivers driving improperly. I drive around Fairfax county a fair amount, mainly in Annandale and adjoining areas, and I find law breaking cyclists to be a minor factor. It may be that there are many more in Centreville than in Annandale, but I doubt that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 28, 2013 1:55 pm • linkreport

If you mean that all cyclists flout the law, and that cyclists should not be on the road, you are profoundly wrong.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 28, 2013 1:56 pm • linkreport

Really, when was the last time a pedestrian in DC was killed by a "speeding driver"? How many pedestrians in DC were killed by "speeding drivers" in the last 12 months?

You make an excellent point. We know that "speed was not a factor" in any official police report. It never is.

Who can forget the 9 year old child hit who was churlish enough to destroy the front end of an SUV whilst being killed in a residential suburban cul-de-sac.

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/07/jahbari-jawon-howe-dies-after-being-hit-by-suv-91493.html

As the official police report said, "speed was not a factor". Who are you going to believe? The official police report or the evidence of your own lying eyes?

by oboe on Dec 28, 2013 2:34 pm • linkreport

notice how they don't include bicyclists that uses those new sound proof music ear sets while riding through busy areas potentially running into someone or running into a moving vehicle.

When was the last time a cyclist ran into a car and killed the driver. I'm guessing never. I highly doubt a driver in DC has even been seriously physically injured by a cyclist running into their car.

That said, I'd agree that the psychological trauma of killing a cyclist with your car, even if the accident was 100% the cyclists fault both legally and morally, would be quite substantial.

Now, cyclists running into pedestrians has the potential for serious injury and I'd agree that pedestrians should get maximum protection through better law enforcement for all vehicles that might injure them.

As for the ads, the NYC ones seem to hit the right notes. Remember, widespread compliance with drunk driving laws didn't happen until drunk driving became socially unacceptable, even though it was always legally unacceptable. I'd like Hollywood to show the consequences of speeding more often in movies, similar to how whenever someone drunk drives in a movie, they always end up in a terrible accident.

by Falls Church on Dec 28, 2013 4:12 pm • linkreport

BikesnobNYC regularly rants on the failure of NYC to prosecute drivers who kill.

The justice system in DC is broken too, especially for juveniles. It's not uncommon for violent juvenile criminals to get little more than a slap on the wrist even if they've had prior convictions.

by Falls Church on Dec 28, 2013 4:23 pm • linkreport

The only reason cyclists need lights and reflective clothing is because of cars.

Cars are the only reason we have stop signs/lights.

Cyclists are not a danger. Com

by Drumz on Dec 28, 2013 8:03 pm • linkreport

*complaining about the dangers cyclists pose in a context like this is a textbook example of a false equivalency.

/pressed the submit button to early.

by Drumz on Dec 28, 2013 8:05 pm • linkreport

@Paul H,

The name-calling is as hyperbolic and ridiculous as it is unnecessary.

by ceefer66 on Dec 28, 2013 8:59 pm • linkreport

"The only reason cyclists need lights and reflective clothing is because of cars."

Whatever happened to plain old common sense?

"Cars are the only reason we have stop signs/lights."

Really? Then again, considering that nearly all bicyclists consider stop signs/lights an unnecessary nuisance, you might have a point.

"Cyclists are not a danger. Complaining about the dangers cyclists pose in a context like this is a textbook example of a false equivalency"

Try telling that to the family of the 80-year-old woman who was killed by a bicycle last year while she was walking on a TRAIL.

by ceefer66 on Dec 28, 2013 9:05 pm • linkreport

"Try telling that to the family of the 80-year-old woman who was killed by a bicycle last year while she was walking on a TRAIL."

She was in fact at fault in that accident, from what was reconstructed - he passed properly.

and that was about 18 months ago, and you are still talking about it. How many pedestrians have been killed by motor vehicles in that time?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 28, 2013 10:39 pm • linkreport

Common sense would dictate that people drive as if there are pedestrians and cyclists around but we see how well that works.

Stop lights and stop signs by and large are unecessary for people not in a car. How many stop signs do you see in a shopping mall? Or at a trail? Or on a stretch of a pedestrianized street? Fact is, the more people we have walking and cycling means less of a need for strict road controls. That's a good thing.

Finally, yes a cyclist hit a lady once and she died. Somehow that absolves every driver ever and we don't need any sort of safety PSA because it's never the drivers fault. When was the last time speeding killed someone anyway?

by Drumz on Dec 28, 2013 10:46 pm • linkreport

I get it these characters that are cheerleading for Cyclists to do whatever the heck they want in the streets and blame car drivers for the cyclist causing accidents due to cyclists being careless is based on a agenda to Discriminate/Punish/Make life miserable for people that chose to drive their cars.

No matter how much they want to argue there will not ever be a time where the government chooses to go the communist/dictating route and punish car drivers for the careless mentality of cyclists and pedestrians that intentionally dart into the middle of the street causing accidents.

The issue here is the tree hugging folx that have soo much discriminating biased views against roads/highways that they will take chances at challenging the government to make driving extremely difficult in hopes to come up with a BS study/result that people are driving less.

by Tom on Dec 29, 2013 3:24 pm • linkreport

Just the other day a pedestrian was crossing Wisconsin avenue like she was entitled to cross the street just because some wacko had painted white stripes on the road way. It cost me about 10 seconds of my travel time for fear that I would dent my car. These communists will never be happy until they make driving extremely difficult.

by SJE on Dec 29, 2013 6:22 pm • linkreport

Every. Single. Piece of marketing released by DC government is horrid. It's like it's conceived and produced by high school freshmen.

Heaven forbid we look like a major city. Just take a look at that vomitous "One City" logo. Hard to read. Colors clash. Makes DC look like we're suffering through a Sudanese civil war and if we are "one city" then why the hell promote all the different wards?

You know who cares about the wards? No one.

by Michael on Dec 30, 2013 4:08 pm • linkreport

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