Press Release - 06-16-2017

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Joe Morrissey             [email protected]       
Rich Meddaugh          [email protected]


“Operation See! Be Seen!” Part of Five-Year, $110M Initiative to Keep Pedestrians Safe Across New York State

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) today announced that police agencies statewide are participating in “Operation See! Be Seen!,” a pedestrian safety enforcement and education mobilization that will run from June 16 through June 30. During the two-week campaign, local police in upstate New York and on Long Island will be patrolling busy pedestrian corridors, and issuing warning notices, tickets and informative tip cards to both motorists and pedestrians found violating the law.  More than a dozen law enforcement agencies will cover 20 “focus communities” (listed below) identified in the statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, where pedestrian crash volume is highest outside of New York City. 


“During the summer months, motorists should anticipate encountering more pedestrians on the road,” said Terri Egan, Acting GTSC Chair and Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Deputy Commissioner. “Making sure pedestrians are safe is a top priority, and we are glad to have the leadership of Governor Cuomo and partnership with the Department of Transportation and the Department of Health on this comprehensive plan to prevent pedestrian injuries and deaths.”


The focus communities, their counties and the number of pedestrian crashes during the five-year period from 2009 to 2013 are:

1.HempsteadNassau 2,139
2.Buffalo Erie1,254
7.Brookhaven Suffolk 522
8.IslipSuffolk 516
9.Oyster BayNassau478
10.N. HempsteadNassau463
12.White   PlainsWestchester354
15.New RochelleWestchester243
18.Niagara FallsNiagara226


This is the second year of the ‘See! Be Seen!’ mobilization, which is funded by grants from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC). Last year, police agencies across New York State issued 1,285 tickets and 1,416 warnings to drivers and pedestrians as the result of a pedestrian safety enforcement campaign. The enforcement period ran from June 20 through July 3, 2016.


The enforcement mobilization is part of the New York State Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (pdf), which was announced by Governor Cuomo in June of 2016. The five-year, $110 million multi-agency initiative is the state’s first ever comprehensive pedestrian safety plan. It is being implemented cooperatively by the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the GTSC.


More than 25 percent of motor-vehicle-related fatalities are pedestrians.  Sixty one percent of the contributing factors to pedestrian crashes were related to driver actions, while 37 percent were related to pedestrian actions. For driver-related actions, the top two contributing factors were driver inattention and failure to yield right of way. For pedestrian-related actions, the top two were pedestrian error and pedestrian failure to yield right of way.


The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, which is supported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), seeks to reduce pedestrian fatalities in New York State by 20 percent from 335 in 2013 to 268 in 2021 and reduce pedestrian injuries by 10 percent from 16,278 in 2013 to 14,650 in 2021.


The plan uses a “3E approach” of engineering, education and enforcement strategies. DOT is implementing low-cost countermeasures at 2,000 crosswalks without traffic signals and 2,400 signalized intersections. DOH is developing public service announcements, engaging local traffic safety boards, schools and others in public outreach, and providing training for safety organizations. GTSC is providing education for law enforcement and organizing the annual pedestrian safety law enforcement blitzes.


The education campaign emphasizes the “See! Be Seen!” message for driver and pedestrian awareness. The “See!” aspect of this campaign encourages drivers to:


  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections
  • Do not block crosswalks when stopped at an intersection
  • Do not run red lights
  • Slow down and obey speed limits
  • 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


The “Be Seen!” aspect of this campaign encourages pedestrians to:

  • Cross at intersections and marked crosswalks
  • Use pedestrian push-buttons 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 after dark and in bad weather 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
  • Look left, look right, and then look left again before crossing a street


“This comprehensive initiative will make it safer and easier to walk in communities all across New York State, a tangible example of Governor Cuomo’s continuing commitment to improving the quality of life for us and our children,” New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said.  “We are pleased to partner with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the State Department of Health, local police and traffic safety officials on this proactive, multifaceted campaign to improve pedestrian safety.”


New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Motorists and pedestrians share responsibility for preventing jury to themselves and others.   Governor Cuomo’s initiative and our partnership with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Council, Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Transportation is educating New Yorkers on how to safely share our roadways.”


More information about pedestrian safety is available on New York’s website on pedestrian safety. To learn more about “Operation See! Be Seen!” and the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, visit the GTSC Pedestrian Safety page.