Today’s Headlines

  • Authorities Question Dorothy Bruns’s Fitness to Drive, Now That She’s Killed People (Post, News)
  • New Yorkers Mourn, Demand Steps to Prevent Further Loss of Life (Voice, NYT, AMNYWCBS)
  • Gelinas: New York Politicians Have to Get Over the Notion That Driving Is Sacrosanct (CJ)
  • Ruthie Ann Blumenstein’s Condition Upgraded; Unborn Child Survived Collision (NY1)
  • Cuomo Wants MTA Board Congestion Pricing Vote (Politico); Related: Uber Steps Up (News)
  • The MTA Is Aiming to Smother the Freedom Ticket (AMNY)
  • Advocate for the Poor Calls Out de Blasio for Inaction on Discount Fares (News)
  • Had to Happen: Assembly Members Infected by Hyperloop Hype (Politico)
  • Gonzalez Pursues Murder Charge Against Driver Who Rammed Bushwick Pedestrians, Killing 1
  • When Will DOT Restore Pavement Markings on Deadly West End Avenue? (Rag)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Vooch

    Daily News article on killer driver illuminates much that is so wrong. worth close reading. The killer was a ticking time bomb.

    Her lawyer is clearly setting up the ‘medical episode’ escape clause

    Bet there are thousands of such drivers on our streets.

  • Larry Littlefield

    And as Generation Greed ages there will be tens of thousands more.

    When they were in their teens and 20s there as an explosion of street crime. You don’t see nearly the same amount to day with a different generation at that age.

    When they took control of our public and private organizations you saw a wave of white collar crime, profiteering, and pension and stock option pillage.

    I wondered what they would do to us next. This could be it. From the majority of that generation’s point of view, better to be the guy in the BMW running over the other old person waiting for the bus than the other old person waiting for the bus.

  • ortcutt

    The way people are talking about this is completely backwards. The default should be that you are not fit to drive and you should need to make a positive determination that you are fit to drive. We’ve built a society where driving is considered a birthright and people are making excuses when someone who knew she had health conditions which rendered her unfit to drive and still decided to endanger the public, ending up killing people.

  • Vooch

    I’m interested what connection Dorothy Brun ( killer driver ) has to the protected class ?

    I can guarantee you she is a member.

  • Afraid to cross the street

    I’ve looked through the SeeThroughNewYork records for the killer’s last name and it seems common… There’s a person with the same last name & killer’s middle name (as suggested by killer’s open FB profile) as her first, listed with a salary for Staten Island Community Board 1 in 2008-09, but that’s all. Common last name and relatives in the protected class may well have other last names.

    Also on her open FB page, killer’s friends making excuses: “It’s not your fault. Shit happens.” <= People we share the roads with…

  • Vooch

    CB1 ?

    suggests some political connections then.

    good beginning.

  • You got that right.

    There are no meaningful standards of licencure; driver’s licences are given out essentially for the asking. A more sensible arrangement would be that the privilege of driving be bestowed only after someone passes a rigorous test. Ideally, it should be a test that the majority of the population cannot pass.

  • JarekFA

    Spot on. I’m in South Slope/Greenwood Heights not far from you and when I’m on the commercial part of 5th ave I frequently see old people struggling to drive their old Cadillacs (or other long and old boat sized cars) on 5th avenue. I look at them and I’m thinking — thank you for fighting the Nazi’s in World War II but perhaps you should no longer be behind the wheel for you to go 3 blocks to pick up your meds.

    Where do these old people go? They pick up meds. They go to the doctor. They see their grandkids. They get groceries (hence the uproar over the repurposing of the Key Foods on 5th ave and Baltic St — there are grocery stores literally every 2 to 3 blocks on 5th ave. But this one had a giant suburban sized parking lot. It was NEVER about “oh this is one of the few affordable groceries that stocks brands for Hispanic people [my grocery store 20 blocks down has entire aisles dedicated to Goya productos y mas tipos de queso blanco que puede contarse])

    I hate beating on this drum all the time but there’s no reason that the aged can’t do the majority of their errands via electronic bikes. I go to Holland and I swear to god I see so many old people riding bikes and doing errands. Could you imagine how much it’d enhance those peoples joie de vivre significantly. But of course, few (but not zero as Michael Mamoukakis was 80 years old when he was struck down by an inattentive bus driver in Chelsea last year) people that age bike or ebike because the roads aren’t designed for them to be safe (Charles Komanoff notwithstanding). That’s the cruel irony of these elderly car driving NIMBYs. They’re so desperate to be able to park that they demand as much parking as possible that they’re inadvertently maintaining a streetscape that’s dangerous for them and would allow them to age with dignity and enhanced mobility.

  • Joe R.

    Probably most of the old people you seeing driving didn’t even fight the Nazis in WWII. The average age of US soldiers in WWII was 26. The war ended 73 years ago. That would make most surviving soldiers centenarians. Even the youngest possible solider, say 17 in 1945, would be 90 now. Doubt there are many 90 year olds still driving. My mother aged out of driving in her early 70s. I have an uncle who is still driving at 90, but he’s lucky not to have major health problems or dementia.

    That isn’t to say the vast majority of people in their 70s, 80s, even 90s couldn’t safely ride bikes or e-bikes. The Dutch example proves they can. Unfortunately, as you say the same seniors who want to drive make it unsafe for those who might want to bike.

  • Joe R.

    I don’t know how a “medical episode” can be accepted as exoneration from something like this. If you have a medical condition which can cause you to drive dangerously, you have no business getting behind the wheel in the first place, even if the state at present allows you. She and she alone bears the consequences of deciding to drive with such a condition.

    I have severe CTS and I personally would never even consider driving a motor vehicle because I know it could affect my ability to control the vehicle once my hands start tingling. Why people with much more severe conditions choose to drive, or are allowed to drive, is something we as a society need to closely examine.

  • Joe R.

    I would personally aim for a test hard enough that 90% of the population is incapable of passing it, regardless of how much training they have, because they lack either the intelligence, spatial ability, reflexes, or proper attitude. And the remaining 10% who do would have to be re-certified regularly once they get driver’s licenses.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    The really weird thing is the statement from the NYPD saying that they need to prove a doctor had told her not to drive in order to press charges, (paraphrasing). Why is that legally necessary to charge with negligence, manslaughter, etc?

  • Vooch

    because ‘accidents’

  • Banet

    Can anyone help me find some past research related to shared car dedicated parking?

    The city is dedicating some parking spaces in Brownstone Brooklyn to Share Cars. I think that’s a great idea but some of my neighbors are up in arms about it.

    I vaguely recall someone citing some research that shows that for every dedicated shared car space X cars (about 3 I think?) are sold by locals who prefer to use a share car over owning a car.

    Link please?

  • reasonableexplanation

    I don’t disagree that that licenses are too easy to get, however, I think you should know, right now, less than half of people in nyc pass the drivers test (at least as of 2012):

  • Larry Littlefield

    Heck, I’m 56 and driving at night in the rain is already a problem. Fortunately I don’t have to, and right now I don’t even have a car.

    I don’t expect to be driving after age 70.

  • Joe R.

    Good question. In Canada if you’re unable to drive due to a medical condition the doctor informs the licensing bureau and your license is suspended until you’re able to drive again. It should be the same here. We shouldn’t be on an “honor system” where we depend upon drivers to follow their doctor’s orders. And just having a medical condition which makes driving dangerous should be grounds for charges if you kill or severely injure someone while driving, regardless of whether or not your doctor told you not to drive.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    The car share industry claims much more than that. They say up to 13 cars are taken off the road by every shared car. This UC Bekreley study claims between 7 and 11 depending on city.

  • Ah, interesting. I did not know that. Thanks for informing me.

    Still, the thought that I meant to express was “overwhelming majority”. The percentage of people who could pass a driver’s test should be a lot closer to Joe’s 10% than to the 46% mentioned in this article.

    Also, the article refers only to the City; meanwhile, the phenomenon of driver incompetence is one that crosses all boundaries. I would be willing to guess that the pass rates for suburban counties are much higher.

    This leads me to an embarassing disclosure. Back when I was in the process getting my licence, several people told me that it was easier to pass the test in Nassau County. Even though I was a bike rider then, I was not, at age 20, fully aware of the terrible implications of low standards of licensure. So I went along with the suggestions, and took my road test in Mineola instead of somewhere within the City.

    And, during this test I made what should have been a disqualifying mistake: I stopped at a stop sign well ahead of the stopping line. In addition, because we in the civilised City do not have right-on-red, I was slow to realise that I could make a right at a red light, which led to the following interchange:

    [stopped at a red light]

    TEST EVALUATOR: Make a right turn.

    ME: Right. [sits there]

    TEST EVALUATOR: Make a right turn.

    ME: You bet. Will do. [continues to sit there, obliviously whistling a happy tune]

    TEST EVALUATOR: Make a right turn — now.

    ME: [realising] Ah!

    After that, and especially after the blunder at the stop sign, I was sure that I was going to fail the test. I deserved to fail the test. But I passed.

    I was too young and too inexperienced then to appreciate the terrible thing that this says about the standards for giving out licences. But now it makes me upset. I strongly doubt that anything has changed for the better in the intervening decades.

  • bolwerk

    I don’t know about the hyperloop shit, but the need for some kind of high-speed rail between major upstate cities and NYC seems pretty absolute. It would, for the first time in decades, include non-metro area NYS in a modern transportation network.

    Conventional HSR should be able to make a tripe to Buffalo possible in between 3 to 4 hours, which is easily competitive with flying. Probably preferable given it would be much cheaper to implement.

  • Joe R.

    And HSR should be able to do NYC to Albany in one hour, give or take. That alone could turn upstate from the backwater it is into something which contributes significantly to NYS.

    NYC to Montreal is another viable route. That should take about 2.5 to 3 hours with state-of-the-art HSR.

  • Joe R.

    From what I’ve heard from people, NYC is way stricter than most other places. That accounts for the higher first-time failure rate. There are some states where it isn’t much of an exaggeration to say you get a driver’s license if you have a pulse. I recall reading that one state considers moving the car 15 feet backwards and forwards sufficient to issue a license. I forgot which state.

  • Vooch

    Try sitting in the passenger seat with any older driver. It’s a consistent pattern as one ages;

    Age 70 – 80; Drive as if they had a couple of cocktails. Not exactly reckless but kinda worrisome.

    Ages 80-85; Drive as if they are drunk but not quite slurring their words. If they really really concentrate, they can ( mostly ) hold a lane. Gets lost on any street they haven’t driven on.

    Ages 85+; Drives as if they are so drunk they can hardly see. Utterly unaware of their surroundings, erratic braking & acceleration; confusion reigns.

    My 87 year old aunt was complaining the other day that people aren’t like they used to be. In the old days when they bumped your car in a parking lot; they would leave a note; now no one leaves a note.

    Her car has lots and lots of parking lot damage on every corner.

    My dear 87 year old Aunt is bumping into things while parking and doesn’t ever realize she hit something !!!!!

    She honestly thinks someone else hit her while she was inside shopping.

  • Vooch

    first we need Marty Golden to vote on it

  • carma

    Drunk Driving is also a medical condition. Driving while impaired will prohibit you from operating a vehicle safely.

    Why cant this “medical episode” be treated the same way. If the driver knew that a medical episode can happen, than she shouldnt be on the road

  • HamTech87

    …on the first try.

  • HamTech87

    The understanding among young people taking the DMV road test is to ‘go north’ to take it. So Yonkers easier than NYC. Peekskill easier than both. Utica a breeze.

  • bolwerk

    Knowing Trump, there would be a 9-hour delay at the border for everyone to have a rectal exam up to their teeth. Only terr’rists use trains, dontcha know.

  • djx

    “The default should be that you are not fit to drive and you should need to make a positive determination that you are fit to drive. ”


  • djx

    I was quite skeptical of the “medical episode” excuse , but now I believe it. And it was so obvious that it should open her up to massive civil and even criminal liability.

    If you have a medical episode that is so known to cause you to drive dangerously, that should be proof that you were in fact driving dangerously.

  • Vooch

    let’s hope Steve Vaccaro is on the case

  • Ken Dodd

    My friend from England failed his driving test multiple times there, and when he moved to the Cape he took it again and passed first time. Said he couldn’t believe a) how easy it was and b) how quick it was over, compared to tests he’d taken in the UK.

  • Ken Dodd

    There are lots of Bruns on Staten Island. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were working the oyster beds 200 years ago.

  • Ken Dodd

    Her last public post reads: “Guess who’s cleared and going back to work this bitch I’m so excited” – this suggests to me the awful possibility that she was actually given a clean bill of health recently. I sincerely hope this does not make it harder to throw her in jail where she belongs.

  • Isaac B

    “Friends & family”?

  • JarekFA

    I was kidding about the WWII vet part. I was exaggerating to make the point. Like I was exaggerating about actually wanting to throw blood on Jimmy Van Bremer but that somehow got a write up in the Sunnyside local paper as a crazy bike fanatic threatening his life.

  • Adrian Horczak

    Traffic fatalities would plummet!

  • Banet