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2021 Mayoral Campaign

Eric Adams Got 15 Camera Tickets for Reckless Driving Since 2019 — And That’s Just On His City Car

Eric Adams speaks at a podium during a rally with his supporters outside City Hall in May.

Eric Adams at a campaign rally in May. Photo: Streetsblog

Eric Adams is campaigning on making New York City safer — but he's also repeatedly speeding through its school zones and running its red lights.

This is the summons log of Eric Adams's city-issued car since January, 2019. It's bad. Data: Howsmydriving.ny
This is the summons log of Eric Adams's city-issued car just since January, 2019. It's bad. Data:
This is the summons log of Eric Adams's city-issued car since January, 2019. It's bad. Data: Howsmydriving.ny

A city vehicle assigned to Adams has racked up 40 traffic violations since the Brooklyn Borough President took office in early 2014, including 14 tickets for speeding in school zones and one ticket for running a red light in just 2019 and 2020 alone.

The Borough President's vehicle has also gotten two additional red light tickets, in 2015 and 2018, plus three more speeding tickets over that same time period for a total of 20 serious camera-issued moving violation tickets. A city speed camera only issues a ticket if the driver is exceeding the posted speed limit by 11 or more miles per hour. Human beings hit by drivers traveling 30 mph are twice as likely to die as those hit by drivers traveling 25 mph.

Most recently, Adams's vehicle was hit with three bus lane violations this past March, all for blocking the lane on Jay Street, near his Borough Hall office, according to a review of the plate using How's My Driving NY, which compiles city ticket data.

That same month, Adams was asked at a forum sponsored by Bike NYC what his administration would do about drivers of government vehicles who park illegally. Adams replied that he would direct the Inspector Generals of all city agencies to ensure compliance.

"We have to change the culture that people have been used to for a long time," Adams said at the forum. Last January when Streetsblog ran these plates, his office claimed it was a general "agency vehicle." (A spokesperson for Adams's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. We will update this story if we hear back.)

Brooklyn Council Member Brad Lander, who is running for Comptroller, was recently raked over the coals for his own driving record after the Post found that the safe streets advocate had sustained eight school zone speeding tickets since 2016, most since he started his citywide race for the top accounting job.

This year has been especially deadly on New York City streets. Streetsblog reported earlier today that 103 people have been killed in traffic crashes so far in 2021, including 29 more pedestrians than this point in 2020.

The license plate for Adams's official vehicle was given out to reporters by his mayoral campaign on Thursday afternoon, as the current frontrunner in the Democratic primary fended off another round of accusations that he actually lives in Fort Lee, N.J. with his partner in a co-op they both own (Adams's co-ownership of the unit has previously been established). On Tuesday night, Politico reported that Adams was keeping late and strange hours at his office in Borough Hall in recent months, arriving in the dead of night and not leaving until early the next morning.

On Wednesday, Adams gave the press a surreal tour of the basement apartment in the three-unit brownstone he owns in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and observers quickly pointed out (based on some choice pictures posted to social media) that the candidate's son may be spending more time in the home than the BP. ("I don't think he lives there," tweeted Andrew Yang, who moved to New Paltz for the majority of the pandemic.)

Adams then promised to release his E-ZPass records to dispel any doubt that he spends most of his time in Brooklyn, and not the Garden State. Those records show 11 trips to New Jersey from May, 2020 through May, 2021. Six of those trips happened on two dates.

That was good enough for the New York Post, which ran a story about the records under the headline, "Eric Adams' E-ZPass Records Appear To Refute New Jersey Resident Claim."

Yet the E-ZPass records provided by the campaign were just from Adams's government-issued vehicle, not his personal or campaign cars.

The former NYPD captain is leading in the most recent polls and has made public safety the core of his campaign, promising to both reform the police department and take a tough-on-crime stance, whether its gun violence or graffiti.

"If we get the justice part right, we're going to get the safety part right," Adams said last month.

Yet Adams's record of blithely speeding through school zones and his long history of ignoring the rampant low-level corruption of placard abuse suggests that as mayor, he may not have the stomach for either.

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