Fight against drag races
A trio of state lawmakers are pushing a pair of bills to crack down on drag racing and the noisy exhaust pipes of bloated cars and off-road motorcycles after communities plagued by illegal street racing have cited the impact on physical and mental health.
Between April 2020 and May 2021, New Yorkers filed 2,930 illegal street racing complaints to 311, more than five times the calls made during the same period the previous year. At the same time, the city recorded 243 traffic fatalities in 2020 – the highest number since Vision Zero launched in 2014. In April 2021 alone, 70 people were killed in road traffic crashes. the circulation. As the weather warms and New Yorkers spend more time outdoors, that number could increase further during the summer months.
“One of the main complaints we hear every day as senators is the almost constant running and noisy vehicles passing through our neighborhoods,” Senator Brad Hoylman said at a press conference Thursday morning from the intersection from Dyckman Street and Sherman Avenue to Inwood. which has become a popular place for racing.
Hoylman was joined by State Sens. Robert Jackson and Andrew Gounardes to present his legislation, the FURIOUS Act, a reference to the popular Fast & Furious movie franchise, which would allow the city to operate its speed camera program at night and on weekends. -end in areas that have proven to be typical places for illegal street racing. The bill would also change the state’s racing laws, as the permanent legal precedent makes it difficult to prosecute runners if they have not planned a race route in advance.
Additionally, senators advocated for legislation drafted by Gournades, which represents Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, called the SLEEP Act, which would set a limit of 95 decibels for motorcycle exhaust and mufflers or 60 decibels. for mufflers and car exhaust systems. In the bill, Guornades is pushing for police vehicles to be fitted with a decibel reader and to increase the maximum fine for loud tailpipes – which the Senator may be mistaken for a gunshot – to $ 125 to $ 1000.
Senators hope to pass both laws before the end of the June session. “We are here to advocate for the passage of two common sense bills that would help end the dangerous and heinous street racing that plagues our community,” Hoylman said. “Illegal street racing puts all of our lives at risk and prevents us from sleeping at night. With the new traffic patterns during the pandemic, some drivers have taken this opportunity to treat our streets as if they are on a NASCAR freeway, but that cannot be our new standard.
Residents of the Upper East Side will welcome the legislation, as in recent months videos have been circulating online of off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) plowing down sidewalks and avenues.
Upper Manhattan residents have found it especially difficult to cope with the constant anxiety and stress that the noise of drag racing has created in the neighborhood.
“Last year, as we all struggled in our communities with some of the highest COVID rates of all with Manhattan, and in the city, we also struggled with this excessive noise,” said Tanya Bonner, Founder of Washington Heights and Inwood. for respectful decibel levels. “We were suffering from the trifecta, as they say, we had the dirt bikes, the fireworks and the street races.”
Bonner said his own health suffered last summer when the noise peaked.
“I also suffer from diabetes and in August my [blood sugar] the numbers were up to 250, ”she said.
City council candidate for District 10 Johanna Garcia, who is also Jackson’s chief of staff, said she hopes the legislation will bring much-needed peace to those affected neighborhoods. She also pointed out that speed cameras provide a non-confrontational way to identify those who break the law through street racing, which she says is important as elected officials continue to consider reforming the criminal justice system and the NYPD in particular. She urged residents to push the mayor and city officials to act as well.
“State lawmakers are doing something about it, but we also need to put pressure on the elected city, especially the mayor’s office, to step in and really do something about it,” Garcia said. . “We cannot send the message that we are happy with this because our lives are at stake physically and when it comes to mental health.”