Sept. 22, 2022 By Christian Murray
Drag racing is a problem throughout Queens—from Sunnyside to Fresh Meadows–and a Flushing legislator is looking to clamp down on the problem.
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic is introducing legislation that would authorize the city to extend the hours that existing speed cameras are in operation in areas known for drag racing. The cameras would be allowed to operate in troublesome areas from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m.
The city, in accordance with state legislation passed last year, is permitted to operate speed cameras in school zones from Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., year-round. The city is currently rolling out as many as 2,000 cameras.
Rozic’s legislation, called Fighting Underground Racing in Our Streets (FURIOUS) Act, aims to expand the scope of the existing speed camera legislation in order to combat the problem that typically happens at night. Her bill would allow the city to extend the hours– but with the permission of a local community board.
“The status quo is simply unacceptable,” Rozic said. “We need to hold reckless drivers accountable and make it clear that this dangerous behavior will not be tolerated on our streets, particularly during a pandemic.”
New Yorkers across the city have been filing complaints about the surge of illegal racing, which puts motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in peril and keeps locals awake at all hours of the night with revving engines, screeching tires and squealing brakes.
City data shows 1,057 complaints were made to 311 about drag racing between March 20, 2020 and September 10, 2020 – nearly five times the 239 calls made during the same period in 2019. In August alone, 214 complaints were made — compared to just 73 in August 2019.
Rozic’s bill is being sponsored in the state senate by Brad Hoylman of Manhattan.
Drag racing is currently a persistent problem throughout Queens, with regular gatherings of speed racing in the parking lots of the Fresh Meadow Shopping Center and Cunningham Park.
In western Queens, Center Boulevard in Long Island City has become a hotspot for drag racing as well as 43rd Street in Sunnyside, Shore Boulevard in Astoria and the parking lot outside the former National Liquidators on 48th Street on the border of Long Island City and Sunnyside.