NEW YORK — The NYPD’s Chief of Transportation held a news conference Thursday afternoon to raise awareness on the number of pedestrian deaths caused by left-hand turns in New York City; there have been roughly 70 since 2016.
“The dangers caused by left turning vehicles are very real and concern me,” said NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan.
With left-hand turn death now becoming the leading cause of death for pedestrians throughout New York, the department has launched a new public awareness video. In it, a parent who lost a child as a result of someone making a left hand turn told the stories of their child’s death in hopes of preventing another parents loss.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Ally and how life would have been if she were still alive,” said one parent in the video.
One father pleaded in person at the event.
“We need to slow down when we are turning to the left. It could be your father, it could be your mother. It could be your brother,” said Raul Ampuero of Jackson Height, Queens.
Last April, it was his son, 9-year-old Giovanni Ampuero, that was hit and killed by someone trying to make a left hand turn.
The boy was heading for ice cream with his mother, and holding her hand, when he was hit at the intersection of 70th Street and Northern Blvd.
“His last words were 'please mom, don’t let me go. I love you and I love daddy,'” Raul Ampuero added.
Transportation officials and Ampuero hope all drivers remember: you should be making left-hand turns at 5 miles per hour, when doing so it should be at a 90 degree angle, and always look both ways for pedestrians. Not being so cautious could, in an instant, claim the life of another child like Giovanni Ampuero.