Another ticking time bomb explodes in Park Slope – Streetsblog New York City
The injuries were minor. The indignation is heavy.
A Park Slope pedestrian was recently hit and injured by the driver of a Honda – a car that had been slapped with nine camera-issued speeding tickets and three red light tickets in less than two years.
Why the driver was even behind the wheel that day says a lot about why New York’s roads are so dangerous — even if the identities of the most reckless drivers are known to city officials. Prior to the June 9 crash, all but four of those $50 camera-issued tickets had been paid for, so the driver was free to continue driving.
“Our elected officials just don’t care that people are speeding, running red lights, blocking intersections and running into people,” said Kim Brettland, who witnessed the crash and posted the blatant driver’s record on Twitter. “There’s no way it’s flying in Germany or the Netherlands.”
It flies here because there’s no simple mechanism left to knock reckless drivers off the road repeatedly. Tickets issued by camera do not count towards a driver’s license. As long as the tickets are paid, the sheriff does not tow the cars of reckless drivers. And the city requires drivers with more than 15 speeding tickets or five red light violations per year to take a safe driving course. But only a fraction of the thousands of drivers who have reached that threshold have been ordered to take the course. (The chart below is 2021; use the filter to select this year, which is only six months old.)
Meanwhile, the state’s bill that extended speed camera operating hours to all day, every day originally included a provision to increase fines for repeat offenses, but leaders of the city council hesitated and did not approve this provision as the bill was being drafted. negotiated in Albany.
“It was in the bill and I told the DOT I thought it was reasonable, but when we got to the end of [the legislative] session, I never saw that provision again,” said Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (D-Syracuse). “The message about Council autonomy didn’t include it and that was the end of it.”
Other bills in Albany that would have counted speed camera or red-light tickets also died in Albany, also missing messages about the city council’s bylaws.
“It’s pretty clear that if your first ticket was $100, then the second was $500, then the third was $1,000, people wouldn’t speed up,” Brettland said.
In the June 9 crash at the corner of Union Street and Sixth Avenue, it’s unclear whether the driver was going too fast, although another witness said he ran a red light. The victim was struck by the front of the car, flew over the windshield and then thrown into the street, Brettland said. He wasn’t seriously hurt, but the next victim might not be so lucky.
“It’s like that 3-month-old baby who was killed in Fort Greene by the driver with 91 speeding tickets,” Brettland said. “Why was this driver on the road with a record like that? It is a government choice not to hold drivers accountable. That in itself is negligence. »
I saw a pedestrian hit crossing Union Street at 6th Avenue today by a repeat offender reckless driver. @NYCMaire why don’t you protect us from drivers like this? Why is the fine still $76? Why is he still driving? @TransAlt @NYC_SafeStreets @TheWarOnCars @StreetsblogNYC @ShahanaFromBK pic.twitter.com/yNiCwu8IR5
—Kim (@kbrettland) June 10, 2022
Brettland couldn’t help but think about the Honda driver’s next victim. “Maybe it will be me or my child,” she said. “It’s fucking infuriating that there are literally NO CONSEQUENCES to hitting people.”
The NYPD declined to say whether the driver of the June 9 crash has been charged. Council President Adrienne Adams declined to comment for this story.
Meanwhile, Magnarelli says he hopes the legislature can impose escalating fines in the next session.
“I believe in cameras,” he said. “If you break the law and get caught, you get fined. It is very good. Laws are there to be enforced.