Help Enforce & Expand Criminal Penalties for Reckless Drivers
Testimony by Amy Tam Liao, Hsi-Pei Liao, and Steve Vaccaro at April 2014 Vision Zero hearings. Click through picture for video–WARNING–graphic content.
On May 23, 2014, the New York City Council passed groundbreaking legislation to create criminal penalties for reckless driving. On June 23rd, Mayor de Blasio signed the bill into law. The promise of this new law will not be fulfilled without your help
- NYC Admin Code Section 19-190 creates a criminal (misdemeanor) penalty for New York City drivers who injure or kill pedestrians or cyclists with the right of way. This will dramatically change the current state of the law, under which drivers who injure or kill virtually are never charged with more than a traffic violation–if that–unless found to be intoxicated, or to have left the scene of the crash. Watch the video linked above to understand how the current laws fail to create meaningful consequences for sober reckless drivers (warning–graphic content).
- Section 19-190 will take effect August 22, 2014. Please write Mayor DeBlasio’s office using this link, thank him for his support of Vision Zero and Section 19-190 in particular.
- As explained in the testimony linked above, Section 19-190 applies a flat penalty of up to $250 for all instances of failure to yield. the penalty is the same whether or not the driver strikes or even kills a pedestrian or cyclist. The law should be strengthened with graduated penalties based on the harm done. Please write to one or more of the co-sponsors of Section 19-190–Mark Weprin, Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine–thank them for their support of Vision Zero, and ask that graduated penalties be included in a future amendment.
- Even with the enactment of Section 19-190, it will be an unenforced “dead letter” unless police, prosecutors and the public at large learn of its provisions and are urged to apply them. Please attend your local monthly NYPD Community Precinct Council meeting and ask how often the precinct has charged a driver with a misdemeanor for violating Section 19-190.
- Most importantly know your rights. If you have been struck by a motorist while walking or bicycling with the right of way, stay at the scene of the crash and insist that the police take not only an accident report, but also a COMPLAINT report, for violation of Section 19-190 of the New York City Administrative Code. Unless there is a complaint report, no crime has been or will be charged.