Buckle your seatbelt, do not text message while driving and now be considerate of your speed. Just when you thought driving already had enough rules, another law is being enforced for drivers in New York City: drive slow.
Effective Nov. 7, New Yorkers must lower their speed from 30 mph to 25 mph. In an effort to substantially decrease vehicle related deaths, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill mandating drivers to watch their speed while driving down residential streets.
The speed limit reduction is a key strategy in de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative seeking to eliminate pedestrian fatalities and injuries from traffic accidents.
“We will no longer regard serious crashes as inevitable,” de Blasio wrote In a letter addressed to the public. “We won’t accept this any longer. I make that pledge as a parent, and as your mayor.”
Along with speed signs being replaced, police equipment and speed cameras are being adjusted accordingly. Though the old signs may take up to a year to be replaced, de Blasio is allowing drivers a grace period of a few months to adjust to the new speed limit. After those few months, police officers are going to start issuing tickets in order to crack down on drivers exceeding the limit.
Speeding fines have not change, but still range widely, starting at $45 and topping out at $600 depending on the location and speed above the limit. This does not factor in added costs of points on a driver’s license and possible insurance hikes.
Local residents have seen little impact from Vision Zero in Jamaica, where commercial trucks routinely and illegally use residential streets to cut between Liberty and Hillside Avenues.
The activist news outlet, Progress Queens, reported in late October that safety is an issue primarily at 170th Street and Liberty Avenue, two blocks away from a subway station, where skidmarks can be seen on sidewalks and it’s not unusual to see semi-trucks jump curbs in order to make tight-cornered turns.
“At some lights in the area cars go really fast, and I don’t see them coming. Sometimes I have to run across the street just to avoid getting hit,” said Katherine Rodriguez, senior.
How do you feel about the speed limit on residential blocks changing to 25 MPH? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
“The pros outweigh the cons, because less people are going to die. It’s going to be more safe,especially during the winter time.”
Kristel Augustin, 18, Nursing major
“I believe it’s a positive thing. The new limit can decrease the risk of deaths, but some people may not follow it. Going 25 mph is pretty slow!”
“The speed limit going down to 25 mph is a big difference. But at the end of the day I think it’s going to be safer and that’s what’s important.”