NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens councilman who supported a new law as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero traffic safety initiative now wants part of it amended.
The so-called “Right of Way” law makes it a misdemeanor when a driver fails to yield to a pedestrian and exercise due care, causing an accident that kills or severely injures someone.
Councilman Rory Lancman said the law has led to a number of arrests, including half a dozen bus drivers.
Lancman said he’s concerned that people are being arrested arbitrarily and wants to know how the NYPD is interpreting and implying due care.
“If the council had wanted to pass the law making it a crime to fail to yield, we would have done that; but we didn’t,” Lancman told 1010 WINS. “We added also the qualification that the driver needs to fail to exercise due care.”
Lancman said police should be applying that standard in an identifiable way.
“So we need to qualify what it means to fail to exercise due care,” Lancman said.
The lawmaker has reached out to the NYPD, but has not gotten a response back.
The amendment attempts to clarify the law further. Lancman said if he hears from the police department and their interpretation meets the guidelines and standards in place, he will withdraw the draft.
The Mayor’s Office defended the law.
“The new ‘Failure to Yield’ law is a vital tool in our efforts to protect pedestrians and make our streets safer,” Deputy Press Secretary Wiley Norvell said. “We will work with our partners at the MTA and push for the training and support drivers need to do their jobs safely, and we are looking closely at change we can make on our streets to prevent crashes between buses and pedestrians.”