Safety Success! NY: Statement on the Signing of Sammy’s Law by Governor Kathy Hochul

  • May 9, 2024
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Statement by Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), on the Signing of Sammy’s Law by Governor Kathy Hochul

May 9, 2024 | (Brooklyn, NY): Today, New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed Sammy’s Law, which permits New York City to reduce the speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph on residential streets to enhance safety. It is named for Sammy Cohen Eckstein, a 12-year-old boy tragically killed by a reckless driver while crossing the street in Brooklyn. His mother, Amy Cohen, is the co-founder of Families for Safe Streets and an invaluable partner in our collaborative efforts to make roadways safer for everyone. Omar Masood, Director of State Government Relations, represented Advocates at the signing ceremony.

Speeding is a major contributor to crashes in New York and disproportionately affects the Empire State. While speeding is a factor in 29 percent of crashes nationally, 36 percent of crashes in the state include speeding as a factor. New York ranks in the top dozen states for its high percentage of speed-related crash fatalities. In 2021, of the 1,157 traffic fatalities in the state, 418 were speeding related. Moreover, urban areas are particularly at risk, where 78 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities occurred.  In addition to being tragic, the preventable deaths resulting from speeding are costly. New York incurred nearly $24 billion in economic harm, which is equivalent to a $1,214 per resident “crash tax” according to a 2019 analysis.

Simply put, speed kills and excess speed contributes to both the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes. It also is especially dangerous for vulnerable road users (VRUs) like pedestrians and bicyclists.

We applaud the New York Legislature and Gov. Hochul for enacting Sammy’s Law. The loss of life or infliction of serious injury due to crashes involving speed is annihilative and avoidable. This action will save lives in New York City and will hopefully spur other cities to follow suit. We urge the state to keep up the momentum on traffic safety.


About Advocates

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.