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RECKLESS ABANDON: Driver With History of Speeding Kills Man in Queens

4:35 PM EDT on March 30, 2023

NYPD CIS investigators on the scene after the fatal crash. Video: Loud Labs NYC

A driver with a dozen speeding tickets in a year hit and killed a man early on Thursday morning in Queens, police said — again highlighting the failure of the city to rein in the most dangerous drivers in town.

Police said that the 57-year-old reckless driver was heading north on North Channel Bridge when he struck a 32-year-old pedestrian who was crossing the span at a parking area near Cross Bay Boulevard at about 2:30 am. The victim's name has not yet been released. The driver remained on the scene, and police said they made no arrests nor issued any summonses.

The driver's record since the start of 2022 is horrific. Click to enlarge. Photo: How's my Driving
The driver's record since the start of 2022 is horrific. Photo: How's my Driving

Video taken by Loud Labs NYC shows the aftermath of the fatal crash. The plate associated with the driver’s 2018 Honda CRV has racked up a whopping 27 speeding tickets since 2019, and 11 in the period from March 11, 2022 to March 10, 2023, all of them in Queens, according to city records via How's My Driving.

The 11 tickers are in a 12-month period are just four shy of the number that could require the driver to take a city-run safe driving course or risk their wheels being seized by the sheriff under the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program. Only a few hundred people have taken the course, though more than 20,000 people have hit the 15 speeding ticket threshold, records show.

And the car could not be towed away because all but one of the tickets — the most recent one — have been paid. Speed-camera-issued tickets do not count on a driver's record.

Advocates want the city to do more.

"Speeding kills, and wide roadways only lead to higher speeds. Our deepest condolences are with the family of the pedestrian struck-and-killed last night,” Families for Safe Streets member Denyze Gary. “Our leaders must do more to slow drivers down, and it starts with the Assembly passing Sammy’s Law [which would allow New York City to set its own speed limits] as part of the budget. Posted speed limits are not a suggestion, they're the law. They are there to keep those around us safe.”

And Queens Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers, who chairs the council’s transportation committee, said the fatal crash reveals the need for safer infrastructure.

“In addition to investigating the crash, this must include re-examining street safety infrastructure and road design at this corridor. Queens residents along Cross Bay Boulevard have long called on the city to address dangerously poor infrastructure conditions,” said Brooks-Powers, whose car has repeatedly been caught speeding in school zones, including 13 times alone on Cross Bay Boulevard.

Brooks-Powers declined to comment further, either on the DVAP program or the driver’s record of speeding.

Streetsblog last year revealed just how few people were taking the driver accountability course — less than 3 percent of the worst drivers on the road. According to the city’s own database, more than 22,300 cars had been slapped with 15 or more speeding tickets or five or more red light tickets as of last December, but only 630 drivers had taken the course, and another 450 were notified of the requirement. And just 12 vehicles had been seized because the owner bailed on the course, Streetsblog reported at the time, thanks to a council-mandated report.

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