A Brooklyn collision on Sept. 11 that killed a 3-month-old baby and injured her mother raised questions about consequences for the driver, who had 91 speed violations.
When a reporter confronted Mayor Bill de Blasio on the issue at hizzoner’s Sept. 13 briefing, he immediately deferred to Albany and legislation that has passed the state senate called the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act.
“First of all, our laws in this state are still too lax when it comes to reckless drivers. And there’s a chance to fix that now,” de Blasio said Monday. He announced his support for the act in May, when an NYPD officer was hit by a drunk driver.
The act includes a few different measures that make nearly every aspect around driving safety more strict. According to Transportation Alternatives, it includes “Sammy’s Law,” which allows lower speed limits in NYC.
“If you hurt someone with a car, it should be considered no different than if you hurt someone with a weapon,” de Blasio added. The Dangerous Driving Act also falls under the umbrella of Crash Victim Rights and Safety, a piece that mandates reckless and violent driving education in pre-license courses.
In a statement, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris called on the mayor to do more than push legislation.
“In his remaining months in office, Mayor de Blasio must fight back concretely against this wave of traffic violence and hit-and-runs with street redesigns that prevent reckless drivers from causing tragedy in the first place,” Harris said.
Transportation Alternatives has challenged the mayor’s office to implement their plan, NYC 25×25 which would repurpose 25% of city streets and prioritize them for those who walk, bike, and use public transit.
The concept of open streets without cars gained more traction after the spring 2020 lockdowns, when restaurants in many cities were allowed to use parking spaces and even traffic lanes for outdoor dining. Still, critics and supporters call it radical to open up 1,000 miles of streets to pedestrians.
“This driver should not have been on the road, period,” Harris said. Transit Alternatives noted that the 3-month-old child that tragically passed this weekend was not the only one. On the Upper West Side, a driver killed a cyclist, and in Queens, a teen died in a crash on their moped.
There are now a total of 188 traffic deaths so far in 2021.