Would you slow down for a skeleton? The NYC Department of Transportation believes you will. In an effort to slow down city traffic, the DOT is installing new traffic signs that flash skeletons if you’re going above the speed limit. The idea is that the creepy images will scare drivers into hitting the brakes and slowing down. Will it work?
The skeleton images will be part of the radar equipped boards that currently show drivers’ speeds. Average speed limit in the city is 30 mph, and if a driver exceeds this near one of the signs, the image of a normal-looking pedestrian switches to a skeleton and the words “SLOW DOWN” flash on the screen. The city believes that the scare tactic will work so well that they are creating a skeleton-centric ad campaign to explain that a pedestrian struck by a vehicle going 40 mph has a 70 percent chance of dying, while a person hit at 30 mph has an 80 percent chance of living.
The city has yet to announce where the signs will be used, but Mayor Bloomberg is in full support of the program. “If you save one life, it’s one of the more brilliant ideas ever heard,” he said during a press conference. He added, “The idea is to get people to realize that what they’re doing can kill them or kill somebody else. Unless you make it graphic, people don’t get the message.”
Perhaps Bloomberg is right. Facts and figures about sustainable streets and green transportation can’t seem to get the public on board with the DOT’s pro-bike lane, pro-environment campaign, so perhaps scaring them into safety measures is our only option. This isn’t the first time the Bloomberg administration has used visceral, controversial images to get a point across. Who can forget the soda bottle pouring fat? Yes, we all understood the message, but did the ads actually make people stop drinking sugary soda?
What do you think? Will a skeleton actually make New Yorkers hit the brakes?
Images © NYC Department of Transportation