By CHELSEA HALLUMS, age 11
Twelve-year-old Sammy Cohen was killed by a Chevrolet van while retrieving a soccer ball near Prospect Park in the fall of 2013. On average, five kids are hit by a car in New York City every day.
Kids like 14-year-old Allison Collard de Beaufort are taking these matters into their own hands. Allison is the founder and president of the Vision Zero Youth Council, part of a project supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio to make the city’s streets safer.
“Students in grades four through 12 can join the youth council and have their voices heard by participating in events and reaching out to other people,” Collard de Beaufort said.
Under Vision Zero, Mayor de Blasio has lowered the speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour on busy roads, and installed more speeding cameras. The cameras have led to $16.96 million worth of fines in 2014, which may persuade more drivers to slow down.
The District Attorney Driver Accountability Initiative is trying to make prosecutors bring more criminal charges against people who injure or kill pedestrians. Less than 1 percent of drivers who hit pedestrians receive tickets.
Meanwhile, Collard de Beaufort put up teddy bears along Prospect Park West after the death of Sammy Cohen. She is hoping that when drivers see the teddy bears, they will stop and remember that children are there. “I don’t want anybody else getting hurt,” she said.