Tag Archives: Department of Motor Vehicles

Outrage after DMV dismisses tickets against driver who killed toddler in Flushing


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The Department of Motor Vehicles has dropped two tickets against the driver who fatally struck a 3-year-old girl in Flushing last year, angering the toddler’s father and others.

Allison Liao and her grandmother were crossing the intersection of Cherry Avenue and Main Street on Oct. 6, 2013, when an SUV hit the child, according to police.

The driver, identified in media reports as Ahmad Abu-Zayedeha, remained at the scene and was not charged with a crime. But he was issued two summonses for failing to exercise due care and failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

The girl’s father, Hsi-Pei Liao, took to social media Friday to express his feelings over the dismissal of the summonses.

“.@nysdmv why did you void the 2 tickets for the driver that killed my 3 year old daughter!?!?” he wrote on Twitter.

He has filed a civil suit against Abu-Zayedeha, according to the New York Post.

Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng were also upset over the decision and took aim at the DMV.

In a statement, Meng said she would be writing to the department about the dismissal.

“After watching the video of this tragedy, I find the decision to dismiss these tickets very troubling,” she said.

Photo via Hsi-Pei Liao/Twitter

Photo via Hsi-Pei Liao/Twitter

According to the video and published reports, Liao and her grandmother were crossing with the light and holding each other’s hands when the SUV struck them as it was making a turn.

Abu-Zayedeha had been drinking before the accident, but passed a Breathalyzer test, reports said. He testified under oath that Allison had run into the path of his car, according to Gothamist.

Transportation Alternatives called for the removal of DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala.

“This is an outrageous injustice to the family of Allison Liao, and to all New Yorkers,” executive Director Paul Steely White said. “The two summonses were already a mere slap on the wrist for the driver who failed to yield and killed Allison Liao when she was in the crosswalk with the light, hand-in-hand with her grandmother. Now the state Department of Motor Vehicles has decided the deadly driver who muscled his way through that crosswalk doesn’t even deserve such a paltry sanction.”

In a statement released to CBS New York, the DMV reiterated that no criminal charges were brought against Abu-Zayedeha in connection to the accident and said that the tickets had been dismissed on July 1.

“However, whenever a fatal accident occurs anywhere in the state, the DMV schedules a special safety hearing,” the statement also said. “That hearing for Mr. Abu-Zayedeha has been set for January 6. At that time, a determination will be made if Mr. Abu-Zayedeha has any culpability for the accident on October 6 that would result in any action being taken with regard to his driver license based on the Vehicle and Traffic law. DMV is an administrative agency and has no authority with regard to law enforcement or criminal prosecution.”

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Courier reporter gears up for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos and video by Cristabelle Tumola


When I told my parents I would be jumping on a motorcycle for the first time in my life, their faces went blank and they gave me the response I’ve heard so often since I asked them years ago for a skateboard: “You’re joking, right?”

Although I was raised among mostly boys and had numerous falls and tumbles, my parents always made sure I knew “extreme hobbies” would be out of the question because safety was their number one priority.

However, when I told them that this particular adventure would be to go over the safe ways to handle a motorcycle, they eased off and gave me their blessings.

With New York State having over 680,000 licensed motorcyclists in 2013, according to the DMV, and 5,153 Queens students coming out of New York’s Motorcycle Safety School, it is always important to be aware of the safety and responsibility that comes with owning a bike.

In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month I put on my leather jacket, strapped on boots and took part in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Introductory Motorcycle Experience course offered by the Motorcycle Safety School just west of Lindenwood, Queens, over the Brooklyn line.

FOR MORE PHOTOS OF MY MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE, CLICK HERE

Our instructor for the day was martial artist, professional film and TV stuntman and DMV-certified instructor Adam Wood, who said he knew riding a motorcycle was exactly what he wanted to do. Coming from Colorado, he said, he did not want to be at the mercy of New York City’s public transportation.

The session began with an introduction to the different types of motorcycles — cruisers, sport, dual-purpose and touring bikes. With all the choices, the goal is to sit on as many different bikes as possible, find out what you like, how good it looks and feels, and think about where you’ll be riding.

However, before going out and picking your favorite ride, pay attention.

State law requires motorcycle riders to wear two things before hitting the road: Department of Transportation (DOT) certified helmet and eyewear. How do you know your gear is DOT-certified? Just check the sticker.

According to MSF, proper gear also includes a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, full-fingered gloves, long pants and over-the-ankle boots (rubber soles, no laces). Wood also showed us motorcycle-specific over-pants with armor built into the shins, hip and knees.

A safety fashion tip — leather is the best material to look for in motorcycle clothing because, according to Wood, at 25 mph, leather lasts up to six seconds when making impact with the floor, while jeans only last 0.75 seconds.

The importance of gear is to allow the rider to have good communication with the motorcycle. Comfort, visibility and protection are the key things to remember when picking proper gear.

“You’re going to want to buy the gear that allows us to interact with our motorcycle the best,” Wood said. “You should do research to arm yourself with information so you don’t put yourself in bad situations.”

Following the classroom lesson of the day, it was time to take the session outside and add some “seat time” under our belts.

Before mounting any bike, remember these are very heavy pieces of machinery, ranging from 200 to 900 pounds. Once you release that kickstand, it’s only you and your strength stopping that bike from hitting the floor.

In addition to the handlebars, a motorcycle has five other primary controls. Three of those controls are hand-operated and mounted on the handlebar. There is the throttle, which allows you to rev up the engine, the front brake and the clutch lever.

While on our Suzuki bikes, we learned the clutch lever is what allows you to change gears. When you come to a stop and you don’t want the bike to shut off, you have to squeeze the clutch and then ease back out.

Using what Wood called the “Friction Zone,” you maintain a smooth ride with your bike and don’t stall or accelerate uncontrollably.

The remaining controls are foot-operated and control the rear brake and shifting of the gears. You don’t need much pressure to switch to different gears; a soft tap up switches from first gear to N and then up to 5.

Unlike in a car, there is no meter telling you what gear you are in, so in order to check if your bike is on first, you have to give the shift lever three taps down and if you stop feeling clicks, that means you are on the lowest gear.

Although I wasn’t able to fully ride the motorcycle, because I do not have a permit, I was able to get a taste of what it takes to control such a machine — gentle taps, concentration and having the proper gear and training.

After looking at photos and watching my videos, I think my parents are more relaxed with the idea of me getting on a Harley Davidson one of these days… Now wait until I get that tattoo.

For more information of the Motorcycle Safety School, visit www.ridemss.com. MSF offers motorcycle courses at Queensborough Community College and for more information or to find a course closest to you, visit www.msf-usa.org or www.nysmsp.org.

 

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Queens Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

DMV puts brakes on dealer 

A Queens used-car dealer will be driving off into the sunset — unless a judge overturns sanctions from the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Auto Palace of Woodside was hit with two rulings: One would suspend its business certificate for 90 days; the other would revoke it permanently. Read more: [New York Post]

Queens’ controversial Triumph of Civic Virtue monument could be in line for a long-delayed facelift.

A crumbling, controversial monument on the grounds of Queens Borough Hall may finally get a long-delayed facelift. The Triumph of Civic Virtue, which has courted legions of supporters and detractors for almost 100 years, has been fenced off. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Wounded heroes in the family 

These brothers don’t run from trouble. The older brother of the NYPD cop who arrested a neighborhood punk yesterday despite two gunshot wounds took a bullet himself in 2006 while nabbing two bank robbers who tried to carjack him in Queens. Read more: [New York Post] 

TSA PO’d over plug outrage 

Now they’re electrified. One day after a dim-bulb worker caused chaos at JFK Airport by failing to notice a metal detector was unplugged, the TSA cracked down on its security screeners at the international aviation hub yesterday. Read more: [New York Post]