There’s No Exemption for Reckless Cops in Brad Lander’s ‘Reckless Driver Act’

City Council Member Brad Lander, behind the podium, with Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to his right, and members of Families for Safe Streets and other traffic safety advocates at City Hall announcing his legislation. Photo: Brad Aaron
City Council Member Brad Lander, behind the podium, with Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to his right, and members of Families for Safe Streets and other traffic safety advocates at City Hall announcing his legislation. Photo: Brad Aaron

Cops who drive recklessly — and there are thousands of them, according to Streetsblog’s ongoing investigation — would be kicked off the road just like everyone else under a pending bill by Council Member Brad Lander that allows authorities to impound the vehicles of repeat traffic camera violators, the pol said on Thursday.

“There’s no exemption for NYPD officers in the legislation,” Lander told Streetsblog last week, after the website printed a half-dozen articles revealing that nearly 40 percent of police employees have multiple moving violations on their records — and that scores of police officials have so many violations that their cars could be impounded if Lander’s bill, also known as the Reckless Driver Accountability Act, becomes law.

“They would be covered by this law. It would absolutely cover NYPD officers and taxi drivers and City Council members,” said Lander, referring to Council Member Jumaane Williams, who got caught 27 times for speeding by school-zone cameras.

Lander has estimated that only about one percent of drivers have more than four camera violations — the equivalent of 26,000 cars. Based on Streetsblog’s reports, it’s clear cops — who are sworn to protect us — are actually the ones we need to be protected from.

“It sure looks like from what you’ve captured, from the things you’ve taken so far, that the average car parked at an NYPD precinct is a much more reckless driver than the average New Yorker. That’s disturbing all by itself,” said Lander. “These are people who have a responsibility for keeping our streets safe and that includes from traffic fatalities as well as from other crimes.”

Lander has been pushing Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to work with him to get his bill enacted, soon, before more people are killed. Trottenberg has said she supports the bill, officially known as Intro. 971, which would allow the city to boot or impound vehicles that get five or more speeding or red-light camera violations within any 12-month period. Drivers would be able to get their cars back after completing a traffic safety course.

Lander wasn’t targeting cops when he wrote the bill in June after a driver with repeated camera violations killed two kids on Ninth Street in Park Slope. But the killer in that case, driver Dorothy Bruns had racked up eight red-light and speed camera violations — yet was still behind the wheel of her car.

Still, cops are among the worst repeat offenders, Streetsblog’s investigation revealed. Roughly 38 percent of cops’ private vehicles surveyed by Streetsblog have been hit multiple times for speeding or red light tickets. That’s almost double the rate of every day folk, the website revealed.

“We’ve done an enormous amount of street redesign it’s been very successful,” Lander said. “Now we need to move directly to [get] these most dangerous, sociopathic drivers off the road.”

  • Nawc77

    The exemption is that no one will want to tow a cops car with a placard on the dash.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    The end result of this will be every cop using a license plate cover, pasting on fake NJ dealer plates, scraping numbers off the license plate, etc. to avoid the camera. Which no other cop will then do anything about. I guess it would have the “benefit” of making the criminality and impunity of the police class so blatant that there might be a backlash but I wouldn’t count on it.

  • Daphna

    There will be no official exemption for cops who drive recklessly, but for sure there will be an unofficial exemption. AstoriaBlowin wrote many of the illegal ways that the NYPD employees will utilize with impunity to make sure they are not held accountable for their dangerous driving.

  • Boeings+Bikes

    It’s sad we have to go there, but there needs to be a serious discussion about who will be responsible for the booting and impounding of vehicles. It’s abundantly clear that the NYPD will overlook their own when it comes to responsibility under the law, so I’d strongly endorse a DOT-lead enforcement branch, as there was pre-Giuliani. Sadly, because it’s the NYPD which does the plate-scanning and has all the data, it seems that they also hold the keys to effective enforcement.

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