In front of an audience of about 60 residents at I.S. 145 last night, city representatives and advocates answered questions about traffic safety in Jackson Heights. The forum was held in the wake of the death of 11-year-old I.S. 145 student Miguel Torres, who was run over by a dump truck driver at Northern Boulevard and 80th Street while crossing with the light.
“It broke my heart when I had to see the mother on the corner of 80th Street, hysterical because she had lost her 11-year-old son,” Council Member Daniel Dromm said. “The urgency to have this kind of forum became even more apparent.”
Organized by Dromm, the Jackson Heights Green Alliance, and Transportation Alternatives, the forum featured the council member, DOT Queens Borough Deputy Commissioner Dalila Hall, TA’s Ya-Ting Liu, and Deputy Inspector Michael A. Cody, commanding officer of NYPD’s 115th Precinct.
“Speeding, unequivocally, is the number one cause of traffic deaths in New York City,” far outpacing distracted driving, alcohol and illegal drugs, Liu said as the meeting began.
Deputy Inspector Cody, who started at the 115th Precinct six weeks ago, said the precinct has issued 39 speeding tickets so far this year. That’s on par with last year, when it issued 177 speeding tickets — about one every other day. By comparison, the precinct issued 1,090 tickets for tinted windows in 2012.
The department’s current lack of attention to speeding stands in contrast with how Cody spoke about intoxicated drivers. “A lot of times when I was a young officer, DWI was not considered a fashionable arrest,” he said. “We’ve come a long way … it’s a key part of our crime-fighting strategy.”