Disbelief compounded grief after Dorothy Bruns careened through a red light in Brooklyn and mowed down tots Abigail Blumenstein and Joshua Lew. How come Bruns’ car had recently racked up four tickets for speeding and another four for running red lights, yet she kept her driver’s license — a license to kill?
Ask again 10 times louder, scream it to the skies, because drivers whose cars have racked up records far worse than Bruns’ are still menacing city streets, piling up tickets issued via cameras that automatically detect speeding and red-light offenders without consequence beyond a $50 fine.
Since speed cameras started snapping scofflaws in January 2014 — the dawn of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign to make city streets safer — dozens of drivers have accumulated 45 tickets or more, most of them for zooming at least 36 mph in a school zone during school hours.
Privacy laws prevent us from knowing who owns these ticking time bombs on wheels, but chilling numbers say plenty.
One speed demon has gotten snapped 74 times, mostly in Queens, and was caught once running a red light. He or she (or both, if there’s more than one driver) could get caught on camera a hundred more times and still stay on the road.
Another, a white 2007 Ford van, license 71467ME, is menacing Brooklyn and Queens, accumulating 59 speeding tickets and another seven red light violations over the same stretch. Last month, that same van got caught blocking a bus stop at the corner where Abigail and Joshua died.
Two of the 50 most dangerous scofflaws are livery cars plying the streets of Brooklyn (amassing an alarming 22 red light violations along with 25 speeding tickets) and the Bronx (48 combined). The Taxi & Limousine Commission should come down like a ton of bricks.
But when the driver is just an ordinary risk to the rest of us steering an ordinary 3,000-pound vehicle, the city lacks the power to intervene — which is why the state Legislature needs to step up. Last week, this editorial page called for taking away the plates of chronic violators; the NYPD’s top lawyer floated the notion of impounding vehicles entirely.
Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
Bills are kicking around the state Legislature to get incorrigible speed and red light offenders off the road. They’re moving nowhere fast.
While they’re at it, add more speed cameras and widen their permitted range.
Hurry. Before we lose another Abigail or Joshua.