2016-10-05 / Features

Peralta Unveils Bill Tackling Speeders In School Zones

(L. to r.); Caroline Samponaro, from Transportation Alternatives; State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens), Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) and Cristina Furlong, co-founder, Make Queens Safer. (L. to r.); Caroline Samponaro, from Transportation Alternatives; State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens), Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) and Cristina Furlong, co-founder, Make Queens Safer. State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens) and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) unveiled legislation on September 29 intended to tackle drivers who speed in school zones to reduce traffic accidents around schools.

During the announcement, which was held outside PS 41 in Manhattan, Peralta and Glick were joined by members of Transportation Alternatives and Make Queens Safer, two advocacy organizations.

Under the proposed legislation, drivers convicted of three or more speeding violations in school zones during school days within an 18-month period would lose their licenses for 60 days.

In 2013, according to New York City’s Department of Transportation, at least three in every four drivers exceeded limits within a quarter mile of 100 school buildings surveyed. In addition, at another 306 school zones, between 25 and 75 percent of the drivers exceeded the speed limit.

“We have a speeding problem in one of every three schools in the City,” said Peralta. “If passed, this legislation will punish offenders by taking away their driver’s licenses for 60 days. We have a responsibility to hold reckless drivers accountable for their actions. School zones are slow zones. Period.

“This is one more step to keep our children safe. Last year, more than 1,000 schoolchildren under the age of 17 were injured in crashes, and nine children were killed. So, this proposal is aimed at improving schoolchildren and pedestrian safety, especially in and around school zones. Every day, more than one million children travel to and from schools in the City, so we must ensure that our students are safe at all times.”

Senator Peralta noted that when a child under the age of 14 is struck by a vehicle traveling 35 miles per hour, they are five times more likely to die than if they were hit by a vehicle traveling 25 miles per hour. “Undoubtedly, exceeding speed limits by a few miles can be the difference between life and death in crashes.”

Glick said, “Every day over one million children travel to and from school in New York City. When a parent or guardian sends their children to school, they deserve the peace of mind to know that speeding motorists will not put their children in danger. Requiring the suspension of a driver’s license after three or more speeding violations within a school zone in an 18-month period of time is the least we can do for our children. We must put all speeding motorists on notice that reckless driving in our school zones will not be tolerated. I am happy to be working with Senator Peralta, Transportation Alternatives, Make Queens Safer and our community members to slow motorists down in our school zones.”

“The speeding that is all too common on New York City streets is especially dangerous when drivers do it in school zones, with more than a million schoolkids trying to make their way to and from school safely each day” said Paul

Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “As part of the effort to protect every school from dangerous speeding, it is essential that we put a stop to this kind of reckless behavior at the wheel. We thank Assembly Member Glick and Senator Peralta for their leadership with this legislation to make sure there will be consequences to putting our kids at risk.”

Cristina Furlong, co-founder of Make Queens Safer, said, “With over one million school kids and as many parents, teachers, and administrators, there is no better way to educate about traffic safety than in and around our schools. Speed camera enforcement has changed behavior and reduced traffic dangers around the schools where they are located. When drivers persist in disregarding the safety of our children, the result could be tragic. We believe that it is fair and just to have this new legislation to act as a deterrent to the dangerous behaviors and rampant speeding that put our kids in harm’s way.”

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