Amy Tam and Hsi-Pei Liao experienced the death of their 3-year-old child, Allison, on Oct. 6 2013, when she was struck down by an SUV while crossing the street holding her grandmother’s hand.
The incident occurred at the intersection of Cherry Avenue and Main Street. The SUV driver, Ahmad Abu-Zayedeh, was never criminally charged for the incident.
Quintas Chen, who was also 3-years old, was killed on Nov. 29, when he was crossing the street with his father and a car was reversing onto the main road in College Point.
Tam said her heart aches for the Chen family, and she is outraged that another family has to experience what hers endured. She also said that traffic fatalities can be prevented.
“We have the tools to save lives and need our leaders to have the courage to put them in place. I am tired of excuses and broken promises. We have to build basic, critical safe streets infrastructure before people are killed – instead of waiting for another foreseeable yet preventable crash that will leave families shattered and communities suffering,” she added.
Traffic related deaths are becoming an increasingly big problem in New York City, with 16 children killed by motorists in 2022. Tam believes that traffic calming measures, school streets and universal daylighting need to be introduced at the city level.
“We also need to build on the efforts addressing drunk drivers who have technology installed in their vehicles and do something similar for reckless drivers. We need to pass legislation that will mandate that drivers with excessive repeat speeding violations have Intelligent Speed Assistance installed in their vehicles. Lastly, the speed safety camera program has been a life-saver, but we need to do more to prevent red-light running. That program needs to be expanded and strengthened,” she said.
Tam and Liao are founding members of Families for Safe Streets, which was established in 2014. The organization, founded by other families who experienced similar tragedies, aims to advocate for life-saving changes and to provide support to those who have been impacted by crashes.
“We believe no one should have to endure the physical, emotional and spiritual trauma of traffic violence alone and Families for Safe Streets aims to provide a range of support services to crash victims and survivors that is available to anyone in the United States.,” Tam said.
She added that she is outraged that a decade after Allison died in a preventable crash, another innocent three-year-old has lost his life.
“I am tired of excuses and broken promises. We can’t wait for another child like Allie, like Quintas, to be killed in a preventable crash. We need action now,” she said.