I do not want one other child to die or any other family to have to go through what my family and Cooper’s friends are going through. I am a founding member of the newly formed organization Families for Safe Streets. We believe that reckless driving is an epidemic that can be eradicated. We were instrumental last year in having the speed limit lowered from 30 miles to 25 miles per hour in NYC. But without enforcement and a greater demand for change, our ability to truly make change—and save lives—will be unattainable.
It is simply unacceptable for us to merely accept that “accidents happen”. All of us can make a difference.
How You Can Help
1. Contact Families for Safe Streets (FamiliesForSafeStreets.com). We are here to help people who have lost loved ones, or have been injured in traffic violence. Please lend your support at first World Remembrance Day for Victims of Traffic Violence in NYC on Sunday, Nov 15. (RSVP here.)
2. Visit crashnotaccident.com. There you can take the pledge to use the term “crash” and not “accident.” The word “accident” implies something unavoidable, suggesting nothing could have been done to prevent it. Have you ever heard someone say “plane accident? Why is death by reckless and distracted drivers minimized into an “oops”? The language we use matters.
3. Request a speed camera to be installed at your children’s schools. Currently in NYC there are 144 cameras being used, yet there are 2,100 schools. Strangely, these cameras are only in service during school hours. So the many children who stay after school for activities are not benefitting from this safety measure.
4. Report bad driving behavior. If you call 311 to complain about a reckless driver, it can help. It is illegal for drivers to be speeding, talking on the phone, or texting while driving. Take a picture of the license information or even a video of a driver who is speeding. File a complaint.
5. Get involved in making your community safer. If there is an intersection in your neighborhood that you feel is dangerous please go to a meeting of your Community Board and insist that they commit to fixing the problems.
6. Educate your children to pay attention and speak up if they are witnessing dangerous behaviors. Insist that your children wait until the walk signal is on, even if others are crossing. Remind your children that they should tell you immediately if they have been in a situation with a driver where they feel unsafe.
Cooper was a real ham. He was a kind child and a good soul. When he loved something, it was with tremendous passion. He had a tight group of buddies since he was 3 years old. They played sports and worshipped the heroes of the Knicks, the Jets, and the Yankees. But his biggest hero was his dad, Richard Stock. Words cannot express the agony of losing a child. The pain is with you every minute of every day.
Cooper’s death has left a gaping hole in our lives and in our community. This horrific tragedy has left its mark on so many people. Cooper was loved immensely and he had an incredible life. But his death was completely avoidable. That will always haunt me.