NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City is taking steps to curb reckless driving with a proposed law that would target drivers who have received multiple red light and speeding violations.
The pilot program would require registered owners of vehicles that have racked up five or more red light violations or 15 or more school zone speed camera violations within a year to complete a free traffic safety course. The city said the 90-minute course is the first of its kind in the country.
“People go through red lights every day,” one driver told CBS2.
“Speeding, running lights,” another person added. “They’re always in a hurry to go nowhere.”
Councilman Brad Lander, of Brooklyn, introduced the legislation. He said more than 200 people are killed in crashes each year in the city.
“We pledge to take action, to target the most reckless driving, and to intervene with the owners and drivers of those vehicle before they injure or kill more of our neighbors,” he said Tuesday. “We now know thanks to the cameras who the most reckless drivers in our city are and the idea is to intervene with them, change their behaviors.”
“Reckless driving is a public health epidemic in New York,” Rachel Jones, of Families For Safe Streets, added. “Most people who get a ticket amend their behaviors. These very few people have ticket numbers that you wouldn’t believe, and there have been no consequences for them.”
The proposed three-year pilot program will be created by the Department of Transportation.
“The city is also in the process of the largest speed camera program maybe in the world,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said vehicles with multiple infractions are more likely to be involved in crashes than those with few or no violations.
“It’s very simple and clear: Slow down,” he said. “Stop speeding. Your car, your truck, your bus, could be a deadly force, and if you don’t slow down we’ll take the drastic step of getting you off the street.”
Camera infractions currently go to the registered owner of the vehicle, not necessarily the driver. The city said if a vehicle owner cannot prove they were not the one driving and does not take the course, the vehicle could be impounded until the course is completed.
Many of the drivers that CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon spoke with said they’re on board.
“I think some of these issues are important. You have school zones, you have a number of things that require extra safety. So I wouldn’t enjoy doing it, but I would support it being done,” one man said.
Still, others said taking away someone’s vehicle may be going too far.
“Impounding cars while driving in Manhattan, which his already a risky proposition, I think that may be a little bit overboard,” said another man.
The legislation will take effect eight months after becoming a law.