State Sen. Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside) rallied lawmakers to revisit his twice-stalled vehicle and traffic legislation today, in front of the site where a driver tragedy struck and killed a 1- and 4-year-old in Brooklyn.
On Monday, the bustling intersection of Ninth Avenue and Fifth Street became the lead story of media outlets throughout the city after Dorothy Brunes, 44, allegedly blew a red light and plowed into five pedestrians in the cross walk. Tony award-winning actress Ruthie Ann Blumenstein and her friend, Lauren Lew, were both injured during the incident, while their children were tragically killed.
The bill, packaged with a set of proposals from Brooklyn lawmakers, sets out to address penalties for speed-cameras in school areas and penalize heavily repeat violators. The push for action comes in response to discovering Bruns had 12 moving violations within the past two years.
Peralta’s bill has passed the Senate twice but failed to pass the Assembly.
“This is common sense legislation,” said Peralta. “This bill intends to crack down on speeding drivers, reduce traffic injuries and fatalities right here in New York City.”
If passed, bill S336B would mandate a 60-day license suspension for drivers ticketed for speeding in a school zone twice within an 18-month period.
“Under this proposal, the driver would have had her license suspended in at least two occasions,” said Peralta. “This is a two-strikes-and-you’re-out scenario. It has passed the Senate twice. We want it to pass the Assembly as well.”
According to Peralta, the bill has struggled to get passed the Codes Committee. The lawmaker said although assembly members have expressed their frustration, the Committee does not like to increase penalties.
Brooklyn Assembly Member Robert “Bobby Carroll (D) echoed a similar response on why the bill continues to get bucked in the Assembly.
“Sometimes there are members in the Assembly who are very reticent to ever increase any penalties,” said Carroll. “Sometimes I think that is a well-advised policy, but if it is across the board, then it becomes un-thoughtful.”
Peralta, however, said as a former assembly member, he will continue to lobby his friends in the delegation.
Although Peralta was making his plea in Brooklyn, he told QCP that Queens has a number of dangerous intersections as well, namely where Northern Boulevard meets Junction Boulevard.
“Several years ago there was a death right there that occurred,” said Peralta. “That’s always been a hot area.”
Peralta added Roosevelt Avenue to the list and noted Queens Boulevard has improved dramatically.
State Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D-Brooklyn) was also in attendance representing the other half of the legislative pack. Hamilton’s proposed legislation will require physicians to report ailments that may cause a driver to unexpectedly lose control of their vehicle.
This on the heels of reports that said the driver in Monday’s incident suffered from a seizure while driving.