Spring 2004, p.15

Speed Cameras Could Have Prevented Fresh Meadows Double Hit and Run

In early April, drag racers critically injured 14-year olds Saverio Sportello and Christina Vroulis in a hit and run on Francis Lewis Boulevard at the Horace Harding Expressway in Fresh Meadows, Queens. This stretch of Francis Lewis Boulevard has wide lanes and straight stretches and is infamous for its speeding and drag racing.

After the incident, Assembly Members Michael Cohen and Mark Weprin and Council Members David Weprin, John Liu and Jim Gennaro demanded passage of A04111, a bill enabling the use of speed enforcement cameras in New York City. One speed camera a could have provided around the clock speeder enforcement on Francis Lewis Boulevard, and could have prevented these tragic injuries. The city council, mayor and police department support a state law authorizing the City DOT to use the cameras, and the law passed the State Senate in 2001. Since then, it has gone nowhere because of opposition from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Seventy five countries around the world use speed cameras, with strikingly successful results. In two years, Washington D.C.ís new speed camera program issued $34 million in fines, 651,000 infraction notices and nabbed 408 drivers for extreme speeding. Meanwhile, traffic fatalities fell by 30%, from 71 to 50; aggressive speeding by 75%; and average speeds in 25 mph zones by an impressive 8 mph.

Write to Sheldon Silver and tell him that he owes it to New Yorkers to put the brakes on dangerous drivers by passing speed camera legislation.

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