Statement of Families for Safe Streets founding member Hsi-Pei Liao:
“On Monday in Queens, a 59-year-old pedestrian sustained life-threatening injuries after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver at Queens Boulevard and 80th Road. Then on Thursday, a driver died after he struck two vehicles on Jamaica Avenue near the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens, seriously injuring two other drivers who were hospitalized as a result of the crash.
Traffic crashes are preventable. But when our streets are nearly empty like they have been for the last few weeks, some drivers take the opportunity to speed. This is the last thing we need. Speeding is the leading cause of crashes, and our healthcare system cannot handle any additional strain right now. This is especially true in Queens, which has seen the most COVID-19 cases.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, but just because the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has skyrocketed does not mean other emergencies are not happening. In order to make sure our hospitals can direct whatever resources they can muster toward the pandemic, we must do everything we can to eliminate preventable emergencies. Just as our elected leaders have called for us to take measures to “flatten the curve,” they must also, with just the same urgency, call on New Yorkers to “lower the baseline” -- to reduce the number of hospital visits not related to the pandemic.
This is why Families for Safe Streets is calling on Mayor de Blasio to take bold action by banning non-essential driving. A ban on non-essential driving will reduce the number of crashes that take place, free up hospital beds, reduce 911 call loads, and expedite ambulances. Without this step, reckless drivers will continue to place undue burden on a healthcare system which is already operating at capacity.”