NEW YORK - Traffic crashes in this city have killed more people in the last 12 months than during any 12-month period in the last seven years.
"It's crazy out there," one walker on the Upper East Side said, Friday. "Pedestrians are getting hit all the time."
"Unfortunately," State Senator and candidate for Manhattan Borough President Brad Hoylman said, "the statistics show that it's becoming more and more dangerous to be a pedestrian or cyclist on New York City streets."
Hoylman co-sponsors a bill known as Sammy's Law, named for a 12-year-old killed by a driver in 2013, which would give the city the power to set its own speed limits, an authority now held by the state.
"New York needs home rule over its own traffic laws," Hoylman said.
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A new Transportation Alternatives poll found nearly three-quarters of New York City voters agreed, while 70% of the city favored lowering speed limits on residential streets to 20 miles per hour. A Transportation Alternatives study observed 1,600 drivers in April and May and recorded 94% of those on Staten Island speeding, 73% of drivers observed in Queens, 52% in the Bronx, 46% in Brooklyn and 30% of Manhattan drivers driving faster than the speed limit.
"We need everyone in Albany to understand this is their responsibility," Mayor Bill de Blasio said, last week at a vigil for a city teacher killed by a driver. "They cannot leave Albany until they pass this act."
Sammy's Law represents just one bill in the more comprehensive Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act favored by the mayor, Hoylman, Transportation Alternatives, and -- polling suggests -- a majority of others in this city. Among other things, the package would lower the legal blood alcohol limit, require drivers keep three feet from cyclists and allow speed cameras to enforce speed limits all the time instead of just on weekdays before 10 p.m.
"That's why we have so many of these speed racers on our streets," Hoylman said.
The recent spike in traffic fatalities is not unique to the city. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found traffic fatalities across the country rose seven percent last year.