Driver With Suspended License Critically Injures Parent at Queens School

Queens_School.pngThe site of this morning’s crash: 53rd Avenue in front of Bayside’s PS 162. Photo: Google Street View

The mother of a student at PS 162 in Queens is in critical condition after a driver struck her in front of the school this morning. The crash occurred as the parent was crossing 53rd Avenue between 201st and 202nd Streets at around 9:10 this morning, in view of students and teachers, according to a press release from Council Member Mark Weprin.

The driver, who remained at the scene, has been charged with failure to yield and driving with a suspended license, according to the NYPD. Eyewitnesses cited in Weprin’s release said the driver was speeding.  

Weprin called on the Department of Transportation to install speed humps, traffic lights, or other measures to calm traffic in front of the school. Whatever the right solution is for PS 162, New York City sorely needs better enforcement to prevent reckless drivers from injuring people on city streets. The crash this morning is also a reminder that the city’s commitment to Safe Routes to School must still be strengthened significantly to ensure that it’s safe for children and families to walk to every one of its thousands of public, private, and parochial schools.

  • It seems to me that either a) a whole lot of people drive with suspended licenses, or b) an inordinate amount of damage is caused by drivers whose licenses have been suspended.

    Speed humps, reduced-speed zones, etc., etc., can all help, but you guys are absolutely right — ultimately, we need a way to get dangerous drivers out from behind the wheel. We have a no-fly list; maybe it’s time for a no-drive list, too.

  • Glenn

    This doesn’t sound like an infrastructure problem, this is a human element problem. The driver’s license system despite its many, many flaws identified this person as unfit to drive for whatever reason and he speeds into a person injuring them critically. And we think that the lack of speed bumps was the issue? You can’t put speed bumps everywhere but you can prevent drivers from ever driving again…with tougher penalties and real enforcement.

  • Mike

    I am a parent whose child attends PS 162. The street needs a crossing guard as there is none present at this corner. The crossing guards are one street over or on Francis Lewis Blvd. With the parked cars blocking everyone’s view of oncoming traffic there are near accidents every day. Plus most of the parents are too busy talking on the phone and stopping their cars in the middle of the street to notice any pedestrians. The drivers around this school have been an ongoing nightmare for years. The principal does not help matters. She refuses to contact the police even when parents have reported incidences of cars almost running over children, double parked cars preventing kids from seeing to cross and my personal favorite, those parents who park on the sidewalk. This was a tragic accident that did not result from the design of the street. It occurred because the people in this area refuse to drive carefully.

  • PaulCJr

    And where is NYPD? It’s because NYPD hardly enforces traffic laws that people like this get away with driving with a suspended license.

  • Last year, the livable streets movement was able to put traffic safety enforcement on the radar of the district attorney candidates. The result is that Cy Vance is at least making a lot of the right noises.

    Richard Brown will be up for re-election next year…

  • The only way to keep suspended and unlicensed drivers off the road is to require that one inserts a valid license into a slot in the car before it can be shifted into drive.

  • I had my UK driving license revoked this spring for medical reasons -they have offered me a free bus pass and reduced train tickets in exchange, which takes the edge off the experience. At the same time, it is odd having a (shared) car out in the street that I can’t even drive. Lucky I live in a walkable city and have a bicycle.

    When people get their license suspended for legal reasons, it seems to me that more needs to be done to stop these people driving, to stop them from being “forced” to use the car, because once they’ve done it a couple of times, they may forget they were ever suspended.

    1. Suspension to include a fine which pays for a year’s bus pass in the city of residence, to give an alternative.
    2. Some education (again, billable to the offender) on how to walk, cycle and mass-transit round a city.
    3. the registration numbers of their entire household’s vehicles to be added to a list of vehicles of interest to the police, so that when police cars with ANPR reg # recognition drive around, the computer can recognise the reg# and flag up “check this isn’t driven by a suspended driver”, include the photo of the driver in the warning.

    the idea about #3 is not just that you catch suspended drivers, but if they get stopped early and often, or their household members do, they soon realise that the chance of being caught is so high they shouldn’t bother.

    As it is, it seems to be that you only get caught out once you are in another crash.

    -Hoping the mother gets well-


  • Kevin Love

    Here in Ontario, dangerous, violent criminals like this routinely have bail denied to them before their trial. The reason being that if they drove a car without a valid licence, then they pose such a serious risk to the public that it is inappropriate to allow them out on bail before their trial.

  • bicyclesonly

    Wow Steve, those are great approaches to keeping unlicensed motorists out of the driver’s seat. Especially forcing them to invest in mass transit.

    I have little patience for constitutional arguments aganst the kind of stops you describe. Cars are killing machines that kill more people than guns in this country each year. A serious approach to this unrecognized public health crisis requires regulating and scrutinizing motorists no less then persons toting guns around. Yet the focus of NYPD preventative community policing is the offensive and patently racist stop-and-frisk program. Perhaps the fudamental step towards a sane deployment of police resources is the recognition that many, perhaps most traffic deaths are as preventable as gun deaths, and they are just as important to deter and punish.

  • If the prisons were emptied of low-level drug offenders — especially those sent to prison for peddling marijuana — there would be plenty of newly freed-up space for dangerous drivers.

  • If there was a good, frequent public transit system, 24 hour a day, the occurrences of people driving with suspended licenses would decrease. It is the absence of public transit in a sprawling city or town that causes one to drive illegally because there is no alternative.

  • W.K., that’s definitely a factor, but the number of DWIs and unlicensed drivers here in NYC shows that it’s not the only factor.

  • Dan

    It does not mention that the guy almost hit the crossing guard too who was trying to stop this man

  • parent

    There is no stop sign or traffic light on this street. The crossing guard just steps out in front of cars and stops them. She doesn’t even have a whistle like many other school crossing guards. There is no reason for a car who doesn’t usually use this road to know that he/she will have to stop in the middle of the street. the sad part is if there wasn’t a crossing guard this woman probably would have looked both ways, seen the car coming and still be alive. Instead she trusted the inept crossing guard and just stepped off the curb without looking.

  • Lucy

    I agree with the previous comment. The crossing guard should have completely stopped the cars before allowing any pedestrian to cross the road. Other crossing guards do that…they infact cross with the pedestrians. I drive through that road often and she would all of a sudden signal for the cars to stop, after allowing the people to cross. Oh yes the driver is as well to blame….he shouldn’t have been speeding in a school zone or any other area…he should pay the price with his suspended license. A mom and wife is gravely clinging to life today!!!! It kills me to know that a 5 year old may lose his mother for the rest of his life. It takes a life for the city to realize that simply, a stop sign or signal is necessary in a heavy-trafficked school zone!!!!!


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