Transpo Bills Gummed Up By State Senate Dysfunction

After spending the last five weeks affirming Albany’s status as the nation’s most dysfunctional state capital, the State Senate will have one last extraordinary session this Wednesday before calling it a year. The chamber is not expected to pass much in the way of transportation bills. (The Assembly wrapped up its session last month.) Here’s a short summary of unfinished livable streets business which the Senate and Assembly will leave behind until the 2010 legislative session.

There is one piece of legislation related to safer streets potentially en route to becoming law this week: The safe driving bill that passed the Assembly last month. Martin Dilan, chair of the Senate transportation committee, wants to move the bill this week, said his Albany office. Aimed primarily at young and inexperienced drivers, the bill would penalize distracted driving, including texting while driving, but it does not rise to the level of an outright texting ban. A provision inserted in the Assembly would prevent police from issuing a ticket for "inattentive driving" unless the driver was observed committing another violation at the same time.

Distracted driving contributes to more than 10,000 crashes per year in New York State. Apparently, Albany doesn’t think that’s a big enough hazard to justify pulling drivers over.

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