Families across Long Island are demanding help to make their roads safer, as advocates call on help from the federal government as they say too many people have died this year as a result of reckless drivers.
Holding up pictures of her son Andrew, Diana Alati cried as she remembered her sweet 13-year-old boy, struck and killed by a car on Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown in 2019. The driver stayed at the scene and called 911.
“It’s very hard to be here today and talk about him in the past, and it’s very hard for me to go to the cemetery to talk to him,” Alati said Wednesday. “It’s not fair that a driver just walks away with no consequences , no summons, and my son is gone. He’s never coming back.”
Alati joined Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is calling on the Department of Transportation to examine the deadliest roads on Long Island, which include Route 24/Hempstead Turnpike and Route 25/Jericho Turnpike.
“A safety audit of the very places on Long Island where we’ve seen too many deaths,” said Schumer.
The announcement was made in New Hyde Park, where the mayor said four people have been hit by cars in the last seven weeks.
“This has got to stop. The village has done what they can do,” said Mayor Chris Devane.
The most recent incident occurred near an elementary school, when a mother and her young son were walking to school when they were struck by a car.
“It ended up (the child) had a fractured skull and a brain bleed,” said Devane.
Both the mother and child are recovering, but advocates say more must be done.
“People make mistakes both on foot and behind the wheel, and roads should be designed so those mistakes aren’t fatal,” said Elissa Kyle, of Vision Long Island. “Slower speeds make crashes easier to avoid and less likely to be serious or fatal when they do happen.”
Once the audit is complete, Schumer says he can direct money set aside in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to enhance safety improvements. With or without the money, Alati vowed to keep fighting.
“I’ve been watching every parent on TV and their pain and suffering — I know exactly what that feels like because I’ve been devastated since the day he left, and I’m trying to make a difference,” she said.