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Dutchess County ‘Watch Out for Me’ Spotlights Transportation Safety

Published: 11/21/2017

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus
(845) 486-2000

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro announced the launch of a new “Watch Out for Me” transportation safety campaign. The first phase of the campaign includes safe walking, bicycling and driving messages on public transit buses, a brochure of street safety tips and a social media campaign directing individuals to the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board’s new website for the campaign.

Yield to people in crosswalks.   It's the lawThe Dutchess County Legislature adopted a Complete Streets policy in October 2016. The goal of the policy is to increase safety on County roads and facilities for people of all ages and abilities, regardless of their mode of transportation. The “Watch Out for Me” campaign is one component of the policy. Residents can test their knowledge of street safety by taking an online quiz.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Any crash with a person walking, bicycling or driving is one we want to prevent. Our Complete Streets Committee has reviewed crash data, and the findings show inattentiveness and not following traffic laws are major factors. I urge motorists and pedestrians alike to put down their cell phones and pay attention to their surroundings. That easy action can reduce crashes and injuries, making our communities safer for driving, walking and bicycling, and helping Dutchess become the healthiest county in New York.”

Between 2011 and 2015 in Dutchess County, according to the New York State Department of Transportation, there were 434 crashes involving pedestrians and motor vehicles. Of those:

  • 386 pedestrians were injured;
  • 13 pedestrians were struck and killed;
  • 35 pedestrians were not injured.

The biggest contributing factors in such fatal and injury crashes were:

  • pedestrian error/confusion (38 percent);
  • driver inattention (27 percent)
  • pedestrian/driver failure to yield right of way (18 percent).

Dutchess County’s “Watch Out For Me” campaign is based on similar initiatives across the country and focuses on the following key messages:

When driving

  • Yield to people in crosswalks
  • Look for pedestrians when turning, backing up, or driving at night
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Avoid cell phone use

When walking

  • Cross at marked crosswalks and intersections
  • Use pedestrian pushbuttons
  • Be visible, especially at night
  • Avoid cell phone use

When bicycling

  • Obey all traffic signs and signals
  • Ride with traffic
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Use lights and reflectors at night 

Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board Administrator Bill Johnson said, “There is growing interest in walking and bicycling, both for recreation and transportation. At the same time, people are increasingly distracted by their cell phones and often don’t know or follow the rules of the road. In order to promote walking and bicycling, and create the walkable, bikeable communities many residents want, we all need to be more aware of the rules of the road and understand how to walk, bike, and drive safely.”

More information about the Complete Streets policy is available online. “Watch Out for Me” campaign materials are available online.