Pedestrian fatalities increased in 2012, and the most common factor in the 274 deaths was speeding. Yet the police have made enforcing the speed limit even less of a priority: last year the NYPD wrote 71,305 speeding summonses, down from the 76,493 they issued in 2011. To dispel any doubt that far too many drivers continue to speed with impunity, Transportation Alternatives used a radar gun to clock cars across the city. According to their data, after eight hours in Canarsie's 115th Precinct, TA found 194 drivers exceeding the speed limit by 10 mph or more, with the fastest driver traveling 59 mph in a 30 mph zone. Total number of speeding violations handed out by the 115th precinct for all of 2012? 163.
Even in Elmhurst, Queens, where speeding drivers received the most tickets of any area in the city (4,130), enforcement does not meet demand: TA clocked 237 drivers going 10 mph or more above the limit in East Elmhurst's 115th Precinct. Only 177 speeding tickets were issued last year.
Wonder how many speeding tickets Midtown South's Precinct handed out? Zero (0). Midtown North had one (1). The 7th Precinct, home to Delancey Street and the spot where a 12-year-old girl was killed by a van a year ago, had fourteen times what Midtown North did. That is, 14 citations for speeding in 2012. We're willing to guess that there are 14 Manhattan-bound vehicles speeding off the bridge to make the light right now.
"Since speeding is the leading cause of traffic deaths, it's clear we need every enforcement tool at our disposal—speed cameras foremost among them—to tackle this major problem," Michael Murphy, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives said. No luck on speed cameras, but hey, at least it's tough to sport tinted windows in this town.
At a recent hearing before the City Council's Public Safety Committee, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly agreed with a councilmember when he stated that infractions such as tinted windows are much easier to enforce than speeding.
"You have to have calibrated devices to give speeding summonses, you need experts," Kelly said. The Post reports that there are only five officers per precinct who issue traffic and parking summonses. Only one of those officers is trained to use a radar gun.
Meanwhile, there are at least 3,000 cameras in the NYPD's "all-seeing" Domain Awareness System.