NYC representatives in Albany are carrying a package of bills this session to prevent speeding and keep dangerous drivers off the streets.
Four state reps and Borough President Eric Adams announced the bills this morning at Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue, where Dorothy Bruns ran over and killed 1-year-old Joshua Lew and 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein earlier this week.
Bruns, 44, had a lengthy record of dangerous driving, with eight tickets for speeding in a school zone and red light running issued to her car between July 2016 and October 2017. She was also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had experienced multiple strokes and a heart attack in the last year, according to the Daily News.
The four bills legislators announced today set out to expand the city's automated speed enforcement program and to revoke driving privileges from motorists like Bruns who demonstrate unfitness to operate vehicles on public streets.
"We're trying to make better drivers here," said Assembly Member Robert Carroll. "We can stop this. We have the ability to stop this."
One bill, the Every School Speed Camera Act, would increase the number of school zones in the city with automated speed enforcement from 140 to 290, out of the 2,000 school locations in the city. Sponsored by Deborah Glick in the Assembly and Jose Peralta in the Senate, it's the same bill that died in Albany last year thanks in no small part to State Senator Marty Golden, himself a prolific speeder and violator of red lights.
The city's automated speed enforcements program has had a measurable impact on safety: At locations where cameras been installed, speeding has dropped 63 percent, according to DOT.
Carroll and State Senator Jesse Hamilton, meanwhile, will carry two bills to prevent motorists like Bruns from driving in the first place.
The first would require physicians to report any patient health issues that could result in suddenly losing control of a vehicle, empowering the Department of Motor Vehicles to use that information to suspend the driver's license.
The second, which has yet to be introduced, would establish new penalties for frequent red light violators. There are no license points attached to any camera-issued citations, because the cameras don't identify the driver. This bill would incorporate camera violations into the state's vehicle registration regime, making it illegal to operate the car that was cited. The owner of a vehicle tagged repeatedly by enforcement cameras would be subject to the following sanctions:
- 15-day registration suspension for six red light violations in under a 12-month period;
- 30-day registration suspension for nine violations in under a 24-month period;
- 90-day registration suspension for 12 violations in under a 36-month period.
The final bill, carried by Peralta and Glick, would trigger a 60-day license suspension for any driver caught speeding in a school zone twice in an 18-month period. The bill passed the Senate but not the Assembly last year.
"We have to stop with the excuses," Peralta said. "If you don't speed, you won't get a ticket. Simple."