Slew of Traffic Safety Bills on Council Transpo Committee Agenda

The City Council transportation committee has a full docket of traffic safety bills on the agenda for its April 30 meeting. We’ll have more on some of these bills in future posts, but for now here’s a summary.

There are a number of bills pertaining to taxi safety. Intro 276 would institute a one-year pilot program for “black box” technology to record and report speed, location, and braking. Intro 272 would suspend hack licenses of cab drivers who accumulate six or more license points in 15 months, and revoke licenses for 10 or more points in 15 months, for dangerous driving violations. Intro 171 would suspend or revoke TLC licenses of cab drivers who are summonsed or convicted, respectively, of traffic violations stemming from crashes that result in critical injury or death. And Intros 174 and 277 would require the TLC to review NYPD cab crash investigations and issue quarterly reports on the number of crashes reviewed, resulting injuries, and subsequent disciplinary actions.

Other bills to be considered:

  • Intro 238: A law that would set the penalty for failing to yield to a pedestrian or cyclist from $50 to $250 and up to 15 days in jail. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for a driver to “make contact” with a pedestrian or cyclist who has the right of way, punishable by up to $500 in fines and 30 days in jail.
  • Intro 140: A law lowering the speed limit to 25 miles per hour on one-way streets, and requiring DOT to implement seven 20-mph slow zones and 50 20-mph school slow zones a year.
  • Intro 43: A law requiring DOT to study safety issues pertaining to left-hand turns by motorists and to recommend measures to reduce injuries and deaths to pedestrians and cyclists, possibly including daylighting and exclusive crossing time.
  • Intro 46: A law requiring DOT to keep a log of defective traffic signals and to inspect and/or repair broken signals within 24 hours.
  • Intro 153: A law requiring the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to include traffic crashes and fatalities in an interactive NYPD crime map.
  • Intro 167: A law prohibiting “stunt behavior” by motorcyclists, including wheelies, donuts, engine revving, and tire-smoking.
  • Intro 168: A law requiring DOT to study the safety of arterial streets.
  • Intro 198: A law requiring all “tractors and trucks loading and unloading items within the city” to be equipped with side guards that help prevent people from being swept beneath them.
  • Intro 80: A law requiring DOT and NYPD to establish safety guidelines for work zones, including radar speed displays.

There are several resolutions on the agenda, calling on state lawmakers to: increase the penalty for reckless driving that results in death or serious injury; pass extant bills that would increase penalties for leaving the scene of a crash; lower the city speed limit, subject to the authority of the City Council; increase the penalty for driving on the sidewalk to $250 and three license points; and make it a misdemeanor to violate the state’s vulnerable user law. The committee will also take up resolutions asking for home rule of NYC’s automated enforcement program.

The transportation committee will meet in City Hall Council Chambers next Wednesday at 1 p.m.

  • AnoNYC

    I hope all of these bills become laws. What are the likelihoods of each?

  • andrelot

    It is absurd, completely absurd, to prescribe jail time for people who “make contact” or don’t yield, if nothing else happened.

  • Andrew

    If you mean that it shouldn’t require making contact, I agree. It isn’t acceptable to threaten someone’s life with a gun just because you want him to get out of your way, and it shouldn’t be acceptable to threaten someone’s life with a car or truck either.

    (But I don’t think that’s what you mean.)

  • Voter

    Wow. This is not Jimmy Vacca’s Parking Committee anymore.

  • Joe R.

    In lieu of all these proposed laws, most of which probably won’t see the light of day or be enforced even if they do, I propose one simple law:

    If you kill or seriously injure another person while driving through recklessness, negligence, or incompetence, your driving privileges are revoked for the remainder of your natural life. This is in addition to whatever criminal or civil penalties you may face.

    It’s much easier to have one law dealing with the consequences of poor driving than to have a gazillion new laws micromanaging every facet of driving. Also, from a purely practical standpoint it makes more sense to deal with the end result. I tend to think the potential of permanently losing your license will be more effective improving driving behavior than a plethora of new (and likely seldom enforced) traffic laws.

    Regarding Intro 43, I personally think left turns should just be banned altogether in NYC except in the few places where such a ban would cause a long detour.

  • Joe R.

    In far too many cases the sole reason why motorists don’t make contact by failing to yield is because the pedestrian literally runs for their life to get out of the way. Crossing the street shouldn’t be a game of frogger.

  • Tyson White

    If we don’t enforce the current laws (speeding, yielding, etc.) how will writing news ones help? Need to hold NYPD accountable for lack of enforcement.

  • PQR

    Could New York State ban anyone from securing a license in another state?

  • Joe R.

    No, but they could certainly ban anyone from driving in New York State without a valid NYS driver’s license if they wished to. That said, my idea would be more effective if we had one set of standards for a driver’s license nationally like most other countries do instead of 50 different licensing bureaus.

  • Bolwerk

    I don’t know about license revocations, but they do reciprocate unpaid fines and the like.

  • Aunt Bike

    You may fail to realize that “making contact” doesn’t always mean a light touch. Drivers who knock down, run over, drag, or strike and throw pedestrians are all “making contact”. Intro 238’s text is not on the Council’s website yet, but I seriously doubt it’s finished form is going to be sending people to jail for lightly bumping a pedestrian. Although I’m not necessarily against it doing so, getting hit by a car is a traumatic experience, and not just physically.

    I’d go further, and favor heavier fines (but not necessarily jail time) for drivers who so much as enter the crosswalk half a pedestrian occupies. That’s already failure to yield, and I don’t feel the current penalty is enough for an action with such serious potential for injury.

  • anon

    The short bit above doesn’t say anything about jail time being a required minimum sentence for failure to yield, or even for making contact with a pedestrian. But having it as an option for those who injure pedestrians through extreme recklessness and for repeat offenders seems like a good idea. Prosecutors would be given a stick to go after bad drivers with, something they say they don’t have today, and in mild cases could offer plea bargains with the defendant taking remedial drivers education with a focus on pedestrian rights and safety, possibly surrendering their license until after a course is completed, which might be a more appropriate prescription than jail time in some cases. Judges routinely dole out less than the maximum punishment allowed by law.

  • Andrew

    I seriously doubt it’s finished form is going to be sending people to jail for lightly bumping a pedestrian.

    That’s a shame.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    It’s because the NYPD isn’t enforcing current laws, that we need to make better laws to force their hand.

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