NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new effort was underway Wednesday night to get reckless drivers off the roads in New York City, where Councilman Brad Lander (D-39th) wants to target some of the worst offenders and boot their cars until they take a special driving class.
Flowers and teddy bears still mark the corner of Fifth Avenue and Ninth Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where two little kids were hit and killed while crossing the street with their mothers in March.
“The goal is to change people’s behavior before they do real harm,” Lander said. His office is just steps away from the site of the tragic crash.
Lander is introducing the Reckless Driver Accountability Act in the City Council, and hopes it could lead to thousands of more cars getting the boot.
Under the legislation, if a driver gets four red light or speed camera violations within one year they’ll get a warning. If the driver gets five, Lander says, the driver has ten days to enroll in a reckless driving class.
“If you don’t, we’re gonna boot the car and you’re still gonna have to come in and take the course and pay the fee for the course and pay for the fee for the booting before you get your car back,” Lander said.
The Brooklyn councilman says his bill targets the worst offenders, which amounts to about 26,600 cars.
So far, reaction is mixed.
“Even a small step like that, changing the law, might wake people up a little more,” Park Slope resident Crystal Lawrence said.
Brooklyn resident Jonah Fried says its too soon to say whether it’s a good or bad idea.
“I have a problem with the red light cameras themselves because you lend your car to someone and then they’re driving it,” he said.
Lander assures voters it’s only for repeat offenders.
“If you get five in a year, I think that says you’re allowing you car to be used in a way that’s like a weapon aimed at your neighbors and you should change your behavior,” he said.
The councilman adds they’re still figuring out how much the fines will be for drivers and with the summer coming up, he doesn’t expect a hearing on the bill until the fall.