Council Raises Unattended Idling Fines. Will NYPD Enforce?

The City Council on Wednesday approved a bill that could prevent future disasters like last January’s Chinatown tragedy, which claimed the lives of preschoolers Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez.

chinatown.jpgA revised law attaches a stiff fine to the type of carelessness that caused the deaths of two children in Chinatown, but it’s up to NYPD to make it stick.

Queens Council Member Elizabeth Crowley’s Intro 947 raises the fine for leaving an idling, unattended vehicle to $250, up from $5. Crowley introduced the bill in response to the deaths of Martinez and Ng, as well as Robert Ogle and Alex Paul, who were run down by a driver who had stolen an unattended car in Middle Village. Having cleared the council’s transportation committee with widespread support early this month, the measure also eliminates a three-minute idling "grace period."

The obvious question: What good is it to jack up idling fines, even by a factor of 50, when police can’t be counted on to ticket for traffic fatalities? That’s where Council Member Dan Garodnick comes in. Last year he introduced legislation that would allow Traffic Enforcement Agents to issue idling tickets using their hand-held computers. The bill stalled some time ago, but a Garodnick spokesperson says it hasn’t been forgotten. Since learning that such a change can be handled administratively, Garodnick’s office has been waiting for NYPD to carry it out.

Streetsblog has word that the department has completed programming and testing the hand-held units, and now plans to begin training agents, though no timetable was available.

"Obviously it’s still something we’d like to see done," Garodnick’s spokesperson said, adding that unattended vehicles should be covered under the new protocol. At $250 a pop, it probably wouldn’t take many tickets before companies start telling drivers to take two seconds to shut down their trucks.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Council Bill Would Raise Fine for Unattended Idling Vehicles

|
Following two incidents in which four pedestrians were killed, a bill proposed by Queens City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley would raise the fine for leaving an idling, unattended vehicle to $250, up from the current, negligible fee of $5. According to City Room, Crowley’s bill comes in response to the deaths of Robert Ogle and […]

Tomorrow: Packed Agenda for Council Transpo Committee as Liu Eyes Exit

|
The City Council Transportation Committee will consider a slate of bills Thursday. Several of them should be of particular interest to livable streets advocates. Here’s a rundown. Intro 624: This is Jessica Lappin’s effort to hold businesses responsible for traffic law violations committed by bike delivery personnel. The bill was inspired in part by Upper […]

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 […]

Today’s Headlines

|
Lt. Gov Ravitch: Fees on Driving Will Happen, Eventually (News) Bloomberg "Failed to Steer" Development on His Watch (NYT) Matt Schuerman Profiles the Safe Yet Contentious Grand Street Bike Lane (WNYC) The GMAC Bailout Is "Cash for Clunkers" By Another Name (WSJ, Naked Capitalism) 5,000-Lb Hunk of Metal Snaps Off Bay Bridge, Closing It Indefinitely […]