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Waiting for Raymond: New Yorkers Want Zero Tolerance for Speeding

1:39 PM EDT on October 5, 2010

Image: Daily News
Image: Daily News

Have a look at the un-scientific poll nested inside Michael Daly's excellent Daily News column on speeding enforcement (penned in response to the case of Eric Hakimisefat, the 16-year-old un-licensed driver who killed a passenger after reaching 63 mph on a Midwood street and crashing into a tree). Currently, two-thirds of respondents think that all speeding is wrong.

And yet, out on the streets, nearly 40 percent of motorists are speeding, while enforcement is nearly non-existent. Our police commissioner (by many accounts the most important living New Yorker) responds to calls for speeding enforcement by, essentially, tossing up his hands.

Here's Daly's take on the speeding epidemic:

We have had zero tolerance for public drinking and urination. Why not zero tolerance for driving more than 30 mph in the city streets?

Every few days, we witness some new traffic tragedy, and too often we shrug. We were all horrified when we learned that the medical examiner's office had retained a young car- accident victim's brain without the family's consent. The wreck that made him a candidate for an autopsy barely reached public attention.

Often when a motorist or a pedestrian or a bicyclist is killed by a speeder, the culprit escapes even a ticket because velocity after the fact can be hard to establish. Velocity as calculated by the speedometer of a trailing police car or a radar gun is a snap.

Take it from me. I used the speedometer on my wife's car to catch then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani going 70 mph after he announced a supposed crackdown on speeding back in 1998.

Let's have a real crackdown now.

Because speeding is so pervasive and NYPD's resources are limited, to really crack down on it, NYC will need camera enforcement. Which means we need Albany to get moving on a speed camera bill. In the last legislative session, the state legislature made an unusual amount of progress on livable streets measures like bus lane enforcement, Hayley and Diego's law, and smart growth, but Deborah Glick's speed camera bill didn't go far. Maybe in the next session, lawmakers who care about street safety can get this life-saving legislation passed.

Imagine how much easier their job would be if Ray Kelly and NYPD start making the case to the public that speeding has got to stop.

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