July 3, 2014 By Christian Murray
The 108 Police Precinct has stepped up traffic enforcement this year, with the number of DWI arrests and tickets written for speeding up significantly from 2013.
Captain Brian Hennessy, Commanding officer of the 108 Precinct, said that the precinct had made 86 DWI arrests for the year through June 29, up from 31 for the same period a year ago.
He said that speedsters too have been targeted—particularly around Queens Boulevard, Thomson Avenue, Van Dam Street and Skillman Avenue.
This year, the precinct had issued 259 tickets for speeding through June 29, up from 229 for the same period a year ago.
“Enforcement has definitely stepped up,” Hennessy said. He said that the precinct has focused heavily on areas where speeding has led to fatalities.
The Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City region has been plagued by traffic-related deaths in recent years, with 12 occurring (7 pedestrians) within the confines of the 108 Police Precinct last year alone, Hennessy said.
For instance, one woman died in December after losing control getting off the Queensboro Bridge (on the LIC side), while a 16-year-old boy was killed by a vehicle while he was walking on the sidewalk along Thomson Avenue.
So far this year, the number of traffic-related fatalities is zero.
The number of pedestrians struck and hurt by motorists has also dropped. Through June 29, there had been 71 incidents, compared to 86 for the same period a year ago, Hennessy said.
Furthermore, the precinct had issued 229 tickets to drivers who had failed to yield to pedestrians through June 29. That number had increased from 191 for the same period a year ago.
Meanwhile, bicyclists too have been targeted. This year the precinct had issued 76 tickets to cyclists through June 29 for anything from running red lights to disobeying traffic signs. The precinct had issued 35 tickets by this time last year.
Hennessy said that Vision Zero is playing a part in keeping traffic deaths down. He said it has increased people’s awareness of traffic safety issues.
Furthermore, with Vision Zero, traffic-related deaths have become a much higher priority.
“Years ago crime was the main focus [for most police precincts],” Hennessy said. “Today a life lost in a car accident is treated as just as important as one lost in a murder.”