Scared Slow: NYC Deploys Traffic Skeletons to Brake Speedsters (VIDEO)

May 16, 2011· 1 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.
Will cabbies obey NYC's deadly threat? (Photo: NYC Department of Transportation)

New York City is deadly serious about cracking down on speeding drivers.

The NYC Department of Transportation is installing traffic signs that flash skeletons at cars traveling above the speed limit, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Traffic deaths in the city reached 271 last year, up from 258 in 2009, reports the New York Post.

“The idea is to get people to realize that what they’re doing could kill them or kill somebody else and to encourage them to obey the law,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, at a press conference. “And unless you make it graphic people don’t get the message."

When drivers exceed the city's 30 mph speed limit, radar-equipped boards will flash two LED alerts: the words SLOW DOWN and a picture of a normal-looking becoming a skeleton.

The macabre imagery is part of larger ad campaign, “That’s Why It’s 30,” to inform New Yorkers 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.”

Attempting to shock its citizenry into better behavior is nothing new for city officials, reports The Huffington Post:

Stores selling cigarettes were previously required to have signs showing cancerous lungs, rotting teeth or a stroke-damaged brain. An anti-soda campaign included this disgusting commercial showing a man drinking a can of fat.

Slow down! (Photo: NYC Department of Transportation)

Now that NYC's skeletons are out of the closet, will the plan work?

We here at TakePart HQ have our doubts.

Sure, some drivers might initially ease up on the pedal (if only for the novelty effect), but if you really believe a NYC cabbie is going to slow down because of a digital skeleton that wouldn't frighten a kindergartener, we've got a bridge to sell you.

If the city was truly interested in shocking its drivers into braking, why not invest in video billboards that run clips of actual traffic fatalities, with victims being pulled from the wreckage? Would that be over-the-top? Perhaps.

But, if nothing else, the graphic videos might give birth to rubber-neckers who would slow down just to watch—and isn't that the point?