Brad Lander for NYC

Words and Updates from Brad Lander


To keep more kids from dying

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That’s why I got arrested this morning, outside State Senator Marty Golden’s office in Bay Ridge: to keep more kids from dying.

We were there to demand that Golden and his colleagues head back to Albany immediately to renew and expand NYC’s school-zone speed camera program.The evidence is clear: speed cameras save kids’ lives. At intersections with speed cameras, speeding dropped by a whopping 63%, leading to fewer and less dangerous crashes.

But last week, Golden and the Senate GOP failed to renew the program before they adjourned for the summer (and their re-election campaigns). That means the cameras will have to be turned off at the end of July … and more kids will very likely be killed by speeding & reckless drivers.

Golden knows a lot about reckless driving because he’s a reckless driver. Over the past 3 years, he has racked up 10 speeding tickets in front of schools, three of them from March, April, and May of this year. And back in 2005, he hit and killed a 74-year-old senior with his SUV.

In fact, Golden would be a prime candidate for the Reckless Driver Accountability Act that I introduced in the City Council earlier this month, after Abigail Blumenstein and Joshua Lew were killed by a reckless driver at 5th Avenue & 9th Street. The law would boot the cars of dangerous drivers and require that they complete a Driver Accountability Program.

Regardless of what happens in Albany, I pledge to push forward with the Reckless Driver Accountability Act. We have some creative ideas about how to do so, which we’ll share in the coming days. If you want to help with this effort, please sign our petition to Help End Reckless Driving in NYC.

Every year, approximately 250 New Yorkers are killed and 4,000 are seriously injured in traffic crashes. Being hit by a vehicle is the #2 cause of injury-related death for seniors in New York City, and the #1 cause for children under 14. This year, drivers have already killed 9 kids, as many as were killed in all of last year.

Golden’s failure to reauthorize the camera program -- in light of his own record of reckless driving, and the consequences for our kids -- is both obscene and dangerous. He’s a reckless driver, and a reckless senator too.

I don’t take civil disobedience lightly. But sometimes it is necessary to bring attention to grievous wrongs.

This protest was organized by our indomitable neighbor Amy Cohen, who helped to create Families for Safe Streets after her son Sammy was killed when he was hit by a car on Prospect Park West five years ago. Amy, Families for Safe Streets, and Transportation Alternatives organized a 24 hour sit-in outside Senator Golden’s office to call attention to Golden’s failure, and to demand that he get the Senate GOP back to Albany to keep more kids from dying. The courage that Amy -- and other families who have lost loves ones -- have shown in their effort to save the lives of other people’s children is nothing short of heroic.

I pray that Senator Golden heeds their voices and gets the speed cameras renewed. If not, it’ll be more than his car that needs the boot.