Proposed ‘Cooper’s Law’ would seize hack licenses of cabbies involved in pedestrian crashes

cooper stock pedestrian
Dana Lerner holds photos of her son Cooper Stock, who was struck and killed by a taxi on the Upper West Side last month. She is pushing for legislation that would would seize hack licenses of cabbies involved in pedestrian crashes..
Credit: Bess Adler/Metro

Walking home from dinner with his father, 9-year-old Cooper Stock was killed after a taxi driver turned left, striking both pedestrians as they crossed an Upper West Side avenue last month.

The cabbie, Koffi Komlani, received a summons for failure to yield to a pedestrian and has remained off the road by choice. But under current laws, he could get behind the wheel anytime.

“If he heard about this, he would say, ‘Mommy that doesn’t make sense, we have to do something. That’s wrong. That’s not fair,’” said Cooper’s mother, Dana Lerner. “He would be frightened and overwhelmed.”

Lerner is backing “Cooper’s Law,” proposed legislation she hopes will make streets safer and honor her son, who she said had a “sunny disposition.”

“As I go through this struggle and I try to figure out how am I going to be able to continue on, the idea of that happening is very helpful,” Lerner said.

After Cooper’s death and other pedestrian fatalities in her district, Upper West Side Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal began researching ways to improve traffic safety.

“Every corner I tried to turn ended up being a state law that would have to change,” Rosenthal said.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission, however, is under the city’s purview.

The legislation Rosenthal proposed would amend the city’s administrative code to immediately suspend the license of any taxi driver who kills or seriously injures a pedestrian or biker. Should an investigation determine the driver is guilty of “failure to yield,” the TLC license would be permanently revoked.

“This is for Cooper — and all pedestrians,” Rosenthal said.

As part of a widespread Vision Zero Action Plan released by Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday, the TLC will create an enforcement squad and adopt and explore new rules to increase sanctions on dangerous cab drivers.

“The‪ vast majority of those who drive taxis and cars service cars drive responsibly, but some do not,” de Blasio said Tuesday, speaking a block from where Cooper was struck and killed. “We have to recognize that TLC drivers play a particular role in our city, set a tone in our streets.”

While “Cooper’s Law” is stricter than TLC initiatives unveiled by the mayor, the administration is open to exploring Rosenthal’s proposal. The councilwoman hopes the report will accelerate her bill as a priority.

Though Lerner supports Vision Zero, she said the proposal is more about safety among cabbies and other for-hire vehicles, who carry more than a million passengers daily.

“I am scared for everybody out there now — everybody — because these drivers, they don’t have any incentives to drive safely,” she said.

Chester Jesus Soria contributed reporting.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…


Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…


3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."


Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…


Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.


TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…


Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…


Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…


NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb


Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.


3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…


Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…


Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…


Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…


Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.