NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law Wednesday aimed at cracking down on reckless drivers who repeatedly break the law.
The new law comes with a severe punishment: The city could take away the driver’s vehicle.
The bill creates a pilot program with the mission to crack down on dangerous drivers who rack up camera violations.
Before signing it, the mayor held a public hearing, followed by a rally with families affected by reckless driving.
City leaders say drivers with multiple infractions are more likely to be involved in crashes than those with few or no violations.
The idea behind the bill is to target repeat reckless drivers through a dangerous vehicle abatement program.
The pilot program will require registered owners of vehicles that have racked up more than five red light camera violations or more than 15 speed camera violations within a year to complete a 90-minute free traffic safety course.
Right now, camera infractions are not necessarily sent to the driver, but the registered owner of a vehicle. The city says if an owner cannot prove they were not the one driving and does not take the course, the vehicle could be impounded until it’s completed.
Councilman Brad Lander says more than 200 people are killed each year in crashes in the city. He introduced the legislation in an effort to change that.
“We pledge to take action to target the most reckless driving and to intervene with the owners and drivers of those vehicles before they injure or kill more of our neighbors,” he said earlier this month.
“The message is very simple and clear: Slow down, stop speeding,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
The pilot program will run for three years. Each year, the Department of Transportation will report on the number of drivers who completed the course and the number of vehicles impounded. Toward the end of the program, the DOT will issue a report on its effectiveness.
The legislation is expected to take effect eight months after it becomes a law.