If the wind from a speeding car can shake a 3,500 pound vehicle, just imagine what damage it would inflict on any pedestrian it might strike.
The Department of Transportation released a report this week that states that “speeding was the greatest single factor in traffic deaths, contributing to 81 fatal traffic crashes” in New York City in 2012. A separate report, this one from the non-profit Tri-State Transportation Campaign, stated that Woodhaven Boulevard was the most dangerous road for pedestrians in all of Queens.
These two reports, coming on the heels of a series of fatalities on our roads, make road safety an issue that we need to address. This will be the topic of the next Woodhaven Town Hall meeting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps, 78-15 Jamaica Avenue.
Currently at the top of our agenda is an idea that has supporters and detractors, and that idea is speed cameras.
The speed limit in New York City is 30 miles per hour. Residents of Woodhaven are fully aware that this law gets broken regularly on Woodhaven Boulevard and with disturbing frequency on Jamaica Avenue and other side streets.
The DOT released a campaign a few years ago reminding residents of New York City why the speed limit was set at 30 mph. When hit at 30 mph, there is an 80 percent chance that the pedestrian will live.
Increase the speed of the car to 40 mph, and that same pedestrian’s chances to survive drops to 30 percent.
You can twist and crunch the numbers in a variety of ways, but it all boils down to one indisputable fact: drivers that are speeding, and thus breaking the law, are far more likely to cause fatalities than those who follow the law.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Union, is against speed cameras, telling the New York Daily News that speed cameras “are no substitute for live policing.” But the sad fact is that we do not
need a “substitute” for live policing of speeding cars – we need an improvement. We need an improvement because our roads are not currently being adequately policed.
Commissioner Ray Kelly is in favor of speed cameras. “Motorists know
that there will never be a sufficient number of police officers to catch everyone who violates the traffic laws,” the commissioner said in a letter to various lawmakers this week. “But the presence of speed cameras can create a strong deterrent effect, serving to reduce speeding and the collision and physical injury that it causes.”
It is now up to our elected officials to decide whether or not to green light a pilot program that would install up to 20 cameras in speed zones near schools. To me, this seems like a no-brainer, a smart use of technology to deter the morons who can’t control themselves on our roads, putting others’ lives at risk.
Considering the danger that speeding motorists impose on pedestrians – especially those here in Woodhaven, home to Queens’ new recipient of the Boulevard of Death moniker – it’s not enough for an elected official to just be against the speed cameras. They need to offer up a viable, alternative solution to the problem.