What If NYPD Did a Month of Consistent Enforcement Instead of a 2-Day Blitz?

NYPD launched a 48-hour crackdown on speeding drivers last night, following a “blitz” a week ago that focused on failure to yield and cell phone violations. A ticketing event always gets media attention — that’s the point — but are short bursts of high-profile traffic enforcement better than elevated rates of consistent enforcement that become an unremarkable fact of life?

Last week’s effort resulted in 5,258 summonses, including 1,066 for texting while driving and 1,254 for failure to yield, according to the Daily News. So in two days, NYPD issued 50 percent of the number of failure to yield tickets that officers issued in the entire month of March.

Overall enforcement of these violations is on the rise this year, but the ticket blitz shows how much farther NYPD can go. If police maintained this rate of failure-to-yield ticketing for a whole month, enforcement would increase by a factor of 15. How would that change driver behavior? What would be the effect on traffic deaths and injuries?

Ticket blitzes demonstrate what NYPD can accomplish. But we still don’t know what happens on NYC streets when that level of enforcement becomes the norm.