Another Albany Push to Stop Traffic Fatalities

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 07:59 PM

The intersection of Broadway and 96th Street, pre-redesign. That left turn lane? Gone -- to make room for more pedestrian space. (Kate Hinds/WNYC)

Two state lawmakers from Queens are proposing a new measure that would subject drivers with suspended or revoked licenses to tougher penalties if they're involved in a serious motor vehicle accident.

The bill being introduced in Albany by State Senator Michael Gianaris and State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey would make it a felony when a driver without a valid license is involved in a crash resulting in injury or death.

They announced the bill during a press conference near the site of an accident where a driver making an illegal turn killed a pedestrian on January 18.

Paul Steely White, Executive Director of the safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives said targeting unlicensed drivers makes sense since, statistically, they're involved in about one-fifth of all traffic fatalities in the nation. He said the bill is also a good counterpart to Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero agenda to stop pedestrian fatalities in New York City. 

A separate bill sponsored by Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell would give New York City the ability to lower speed limits to 20 miles per hour.


Comments [3]

Chang from NYC

Asking not to jaywalk or to make full stop at the red light for bikes are unrealistic expectations in NYC. But if you do, you should know how like not trying in front of fast speeding cars and turning cars from all direction. If you cross with walk sign, you should pay full attention and show clear intention using hand signal: > if in hurry, stop the car with hand signal AND have eye contact, still keep monitoring move (due to brake failure) and walk fast > if not in hurry, use hand signal to let car go and walk behind but watch next car approaching and stop the car like above.

Feb. 01 2014 12:17 AM
Chang from NYC

Once, I mean just once, can anybody talk about defensive crossing street by pedestrians and defensive riding bikes? Not once I hear about this side but always cars, cars cars r the monsters. As you guess, I'm a motorist but I cross street where most of fatalities occur. What I observe in NYC, in Manhattan, most pedestrians and bikers (New Yorkers being the worst), are with blanked eyes not aware and savvy when crossed streets unlike anything else. Dogs on lease seem to be more alert watching all around, while their owners not blind just cross with walk sign asserting rights but not defensively watching for turning cars or others possible dangers by drivers or mechanical failure, all looking down smart(?)phone screen! Speaking of dogs, they can be trained for guiding blind people. So people can be trained and conditioned for good habit like stopping at the curb and watch traffic (quick analytic view of intersection because all intersections vary) not just walk sign.

In order to reduce avoidable tragedies to all sides including drivers, multifaceted approach is needed. That means how to cross and bike defensively in NYC. For me when I see turning cars, I SIGNAL it to go fast in front of me. It's not the matter of pedestrians having the right or not, it is SAFEST for me walking behind the car (I don't understand why in the hell people insists walking in front of rolling cars) and I understand the frustration of missing light and idling.

Jan. 31 2014 11:23 PM
Al Cinamon from Yonkers

How absurd is this proposed legislation? So, if your license is suspended or revoked and you kill someone, there will harsh penalties. But if you have a valid license it will still be legal to kill and there will be no penalty.

Jan. 27 2014 03:18 PM

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