Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday proposed state law changes to keep dangerous drivers off city streets, a move that comes on the heels of last week’s crash in Park Slope in which two small children were killed by a driver who ran a red light.
The changes he suggests include extending and expanding the speed enforcement camera program, upping fines, suspending vehicle registrations of repeat offenders and requiring physicians to alert the DMV of medical conditions or incidents that could cause drivers to lose consciousness or control when behind the wheel.
Dorothy Bruns, the driver in the Park Slope crash, reportedly suffers from medical conditions that cause seizures, which she may have suffered at the time of the incident, causing her to accelerate through the red light.
Additionally, Bruns’ license plate had been cited 12 times in the past two years for traffic violations that included four instances of running red lights and four for speeding in school zones. Her license was suspended the day after the crash.
“In the wrong hands, a car can be a deadly weapon,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We are fighting on every front to make our streets safer, but we need Albany’s help to keep dangerous drivers off the road, before we lose another life.”
Should de Blasio’s proposed changes pass in Albany, they will allow the city to install speed cameras in an additional 150 school zones and require doctors to report medical conditions and incidents that could hinder consciousness, which would be modeled after existing laws in New Jersey and other states.
The proposal also seeks to raise fines for repeat offenders within a two-year period; later offenses under the bill would also notify the driver’s insurance company and suspend vehicle registration.
“This proposed legislation would provide us with additional tools to enhance safety, enforce the law and keep dangerous drivers off the street,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill.
Additionally, de Blasio announced that the final four months of the Vision Zero Dusk and Darkness initiative saw pedestrian traffic fatalities decrease by 24 percent from the previous year.