Street racing has increased across the United States, primarily in New York City due to the pendemic and the corona virus, as it sparked police crackdowns and bills aimed at harsher activities.
Upper Manhattan is the area with the most complaints in the Big Apple. The neighbors are already tired of this problem and are asking the authorities to do something about it.
“I have been living in this neighborhood for 10 years and in the last three years the noise is too much. I live on the ground floor and it is really impossible to live in peace and rest at home. On the weekend, in addition to everything, they took out some 'speakers' (horns) to the street and organized a party. That is not right! We have to take care of our neighborhood,” said a resident to EldiarioNY.
In the last year the quality of life has worsened, and community members have reported countless incidents that almost ended in fatal collisions, by all types of vehicles. The intersections of Washington Heights and Inwood are routinely unsafe for drivers and pedestrians alike.
Experts say that TV shows and movies glorifying street racing have already sparked interest in recent years. The closures associated with the pandemic then cleared normally clogged roads while people worked from home.
There is a petition to turn on the cameras 24/7.
State Senators Robert Jackson, Brad Hoylman, Andrew Gounardes, and Community Leaders held a press conference in Inwood. This legislation would allow New York City to run its speed camera program at night and on weekends in locations identified as hotspots for illegal street racing.
The bill would also modify New York's race and speed contest statutes to address existing case law that makes it difficult to hold racers accountable for breaching such statutes if they did not arrange a race route ahead of time.
The speed camera program in New York City is now limited by law to functioning between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on weekdays. The FURIOUS Act would allow the City to use speed cameras at any time in communities where illicit street racing has been identified as a problem.
After months of complaints from people all around New York City about near-constant illegal street racing on streets deserted by the pandemic, this law passed the Senate Transportation Committee on April 26.
According to city data, 191 complaints of "drag racing" were filed with 311 in March 2021, compared to just 13 complaints in March 2019. Between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, a total of 2,344 complaints were filed - more than five times the 429 calls made during the same period the previous year.
With input from the local community, the FURIOUS Act would alter Section 1180-b of the Vehicle and Traffic Law to allow the City of New York to operate speed cameras at any time in a school speed zone that the City has recognized as a specific concern for illegal street racing.