It’s 27! Jumaane Williams’s Driving Record is Worse Than Reported

Council Member Jumaane Williams has a horrific driving record. Photo: John McCarten for NYC Council
Council Member Jumaane Williams has a horrific driving record. Photo: John McCarten for NYC Council

He’s worse than you thought.

The man who wants to be your next Public Advocate has been nabbed by school zone cameras 27 times — not 18 as the Daily News reported this week.

In its story about Council Member Jumaane Williams’s driving record on Sunday, the tabloid used the lower figure because it only searched back to 2016. But the full record shows that Williams has nine more camera violations, plus 20 other infractions, dating back to 2013, when school-zone cameras were approved.

Williams had called the Daily News story a “political” attack, but in an interview earlier this week with Streetsblog, Williams apologized and took responsibility for the tickets. “I’m absolutely sorry, and should be held accountable — as I am,” he told Streetsblog’s David Meyer. Williams has paid $1,628.38 in fines, but still owes $245, records show.

He promised to change his driving behavior.

“You gotta slow down, that’s the whole message I got seeing that jarring number of 18 tickets in two years,” he said, suggesting that he was well aware that there were more violations lurking deeper in his driving record.

The 10 bus lane violations are particularly ironic. Earlier this year, Williams joined several other car-loving southern Brooklyn lawmakers in opposing dedicated bus lanes for the B82 route citing a preference for on-street car storage.

The NYPD said that 80 percent of drivers nabbed by a speed camera never get a second ticket, though Williams is hardly in that category. In fact, with 27 speed camera violations, Williams would be one of the 2,500 worst repeat offenders caught on camera. (One caveat: Tickets are issued to specific license plates, so it is unclear if Williams was the driver in every instance.)

Would-be supporters of Williams are conflicted.

“Councilmember Williams has acknowledged his culpability, and promised to change. The proof will be in his follow through,” said Eric McClure of StreetsPAC. “Our elected leaders should hold themselves to at least the same standards they expect of the rest of us, and respecting the speed limit – especially around school kids – and staying clear of bus lanes is not a very high bar to clear. He can do better, and he knows it.”

Willliams did not respond to a request for comment for this story, but tweeted at Streetsblog after this story was published:

  • Joe R.

    Wait, $1,873.38 for all that, and I recall a cyclist getting hit with $4,600 in fines for one traffic stop:

    http://gothamist.com/2017/03/31/cyclists_red_lights_tickets.php

    Is something not right here?

  • Danny G

    Let’s see if Councilman Jumaane can commit to delivering street safety improvements at the 27 most dangerous intersections in his district. What better way to turn the page and let this be a moment where politicians who are brave enough to apologize can lead by example.

  • Danny G

    Ack! Sorry for the typo – that should be Councilman Williams. I don’t mean to belittle him by using his first name.

  • neroden

    Well, I gotta give credit to him for taking responsibility. Few people do. Let’s see if he changes.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I once saw an insurance industry tabulation of driving records by occupation.

    The occupation with the best average driving record? Politicians! Perhaps this is the reason why.

    Leadership means setting an example.

  • David M

    Or maybe its because when they’re pulled over they’re much more likely to be cut a break than the general population?

  • Bernard Finucane

    Anyone who breaks the law this routinely needs to lose his license.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Part of the reason is that those cyclists, as well as the few drivers actually pulled over by a live police officer pay a much higher rate per ticket than the automated cameras charge.

  • Good point … but I am seriously mad at him. No better than Marty Golden..

  • He cannot be the public advocate . Period

  • I am floored to see streetspac giving him a pass . This is jarring

  • clarknt67

    That was my first thought. Worst record is almost certainly defined by tickets issued. How many cops exercise their discretion to give politicians a ticket when they are pulled over? It is easy to imagine them waving the Congressman or city council person on.

  • clarknt67

    I like the guy. I do. But what does “I take responsibility” mean if you just keep doing the same irresponsible thing over and over?

  • redbike

    Not picking nits: ALL these violations are attributable to the vehicle, NOT to a driver. That’s the nature of automated / photo enforcement; also the parking / registration violations.

    How about (echoing others who’ve proposed this): a briskly and steeply escalating schedule of fines ending with revoking the registration and civil forfeiture of the vehicle.

    Operating a motor vehicle is licensed and regulated; it’s not a right.

  • Bernard Finucane

    If you can’t identify the driver then it’s a poorly designed system. Where I live, for example, you get a nice portrait in the mail when you drive too fast. But yeah attaching the fine to the vehicle makes sense.

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