Kavanagh and Squadron Usher Hayley and Diego’s Law Into Effect

Assm. Brian Kavanagh and Sen. Daniel Squadron explain Hayley and Diego's Law, which takes effect today. Photo: Noah Kazis.
Brian Kavanagh and Daniel Squadron explain Hayley and Diego's Law, which takes effect today. Photo: Noah Kazis

“Careless driving is unacceptable.” That’s the message that State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh delivered today as they announced that Hayley and Diego’s Law, which they sponsored and ushered through the legislature, is now in effect.

“You can suffer serious consequences,” Kavanagh warned drivers. “That has not been true up to today.”

“Careless driving is not just something to fix next time,” said Squadron.

Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez, for whom this law is named, were killed when a van driver carelessly left his vehicle idling in gear and unattended; the van sped backwards into the two preschoolers, who were walking on a Chinatown sidewalk with their classmates.

“When people are injured and people lose their lives,” said Kavanagh, “people want a sense of justice and that is not provided by a speeding ticket.” By filling the gap between tickets and felony charges like criminally negligent homicide, said Kavanagh, Hayley and Diego’s Law will allow prosecutors to give victims and their families that sense of justice.

The two legislators said they have more they would like to accomplish for pedestrian and cyclist safety. After deadpanning that “New York State law is now perfect. It’s the platonic ideal,” Squadron said that he was looking into whether legislation could help improve the enforcement of the laws already on the books. He cited Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s recent study showing that the city’s bike lanes are frequently illegally obstructed to illustrate the need for better enforcement.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

With Hayley and Diego’s Law Unenforced, Sponsors Aim to Strengthen Law

|
In 2010, State Senator Dan Squadron and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh stood on the corner of Essex and Delancey Streets to tell motorists: “Careless driving is unacceptable.” Said Kavanagh, “You can suffer serious consequences.” A year later, however, the new enforcement tool the two legislators were touting, Hayley and Diego’s Law, had gone almost entirely […]

Careless Driving Amendment Passes Senate, Awaits Action by Assembly

|
A bill targeted at NYPD’s self-imposed ban on penalizing motorists for careless driving has cleared the State Senate, but awaits passage in the Assembly. The bill would amend Hayley and Diego’s Law by explicitly stating that officers may ticket or arrest drivers who harm pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable street users whether or not they […]

Senate Committee Votes to Close Loophole in Careless Driving Law

|
Just hours after the City Council transportation committee unanimously passed a resolution asking Albany to take action, the Senate transportation committee advanced a bill, with an 18-1 vote, that would close a loophole in Hayley and Diego’s Law, with the goal of increased enforcement of the state’s careless driving law by police and district attorneys. The law is named after […]

Bid to Lift NYPD Ban on Careless Driving Tickets Clears Senate Committee

|
Legislation targeted at NYPD’s self-imposed ban on citing motorists for careless driving has passed the State Senate transportation committee. The bill, introduced by Brooklyn Democrat Dan Squadron, would amend Hayley and Diego’s Law by explicitly stating that officers may issue tickets to drivers who harm pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable street users whether or not […]

Paterson Signs Two Traffic Justice Bills Into Law

|
On Friday evening, New York Governor David Paterson signed two bills intended to make streets safer by giving law enforcement greater leeway to bring charges against reckless drivers. Diego Martinez and Hayley Ng were killed when a van left idling and unattended careened backwards into a group of pre-schoolers on a Chinatown sidewalk. The driver […]