“Last time we were here in January, we were responding to a tragic loss. Today, we're again at the spot where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer in December,” de Blasio said on Monday.
“Every parent understands, when you stand in a spot where a child was lost, you feel something,” he added. “And I certainly felt, again, the loss of a young boy that we wish so deeply was here with us today. In his memory, we are taking real actions to make sure we won't lose other children.”
At the emotional bill-signing ceremony, several parents held tightly to pictures of lost loved ones, including several children, who have been the victims of New York City’s tumultuous traffic flow. Among them was Dana Lerner, the mother of nine-year-old Cooper Stock, who was struck and killed by a taxi driver in the Upper East Side on January 10.
“He was walking legally in the crosswalk with my husband,” Lerner said. “The taxi driver did not yield to them, he was driving recklessly, and I believe that there are a lot of taxi drivers that don’t even know the rules.
“So as much as I believe there are good taxi drivers, I think a lot of them don’t know a lot of these rules,” she added. “They, in some ways, set the tone and the pace for the city. It’s all the more important for professional drivers to be trained properly.”
In Cooper’s honor, a bill that makes it possible for the TLC to legally suspend and revoke licenses of drivers involved in accidents resulting in death or critical injury, has been named “Cooper’s Law,” and was among the eleven bills signed by the mayor in the recreation yard at PS 152.
The other 10 bills in the package increase penalties for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, ban dangerous stunt behavior and speed contests by motorcyclists, and increase the number of neighborhood slow zones and speed limits near schools.
While the mayor’s signature on these pieces of legislation is a critical piece of the legal process, there is still somewhat of a long road to travel before their effects are fully realized.
“First the governor has to sign the legislation, which we know he will do but we don’t know exactly when,” de Blasio explained. “And second the City Council has to pass enabling legislation, which again we obviously anticipate in short order, but that has to happen in sequence.
“Then in the fall, the signs will actually start to go up,” he said. “There will be an education campaign leading up to that, but enforcement will happen as the signs start to go up.”