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New Laws Passed to Reduce NYC Traffic Fatalities

The New York City Council approved 11 bills at the end of May designed to reduce accidents and improve safety, according to the Daily News. They are part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan, an ambitious proposal to eliminate traffic deaths in New York City.

The bills include the following provisions:

  • Hitting a pedestrian or bicyclist who has the right of way will be a crime
  • The city will have the authority to suspend the licenses of cab drivers who injure or kill people while committing traffic a traffic violation
  • The Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), which regulates taxi operations in the city, will have the authority to revoke or suspend the licenses of cabbies who have combined points from the TLC and the Department of Motor Vehicles that exceed the specified threshold
  • The city will be required to establish 14 "slow zones" with 20 mph speed limits - seven this year and seven in 2016
  • The city will be required to repair broken traffic lights within 24 hours after receiving a report
  • Stunts such as wheelies and donuts will be illegal

The council also passed resolutions encouraging the state to increase penalties for reckless driving and other traffic violations. It also passed a resolution requesting that the city be able to control its own speed limits and red light cameras. At present, Albany limits the number of cameras that can be used on city streets.

Not surprisingly, cab drivers feel that they have been unfairly targeted. A spokesperson for the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said, "We've been targeted, when in fact [taxi] drivers have the best driving records in the city of New York."

But Queens councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said, "If you speed on the streets of New York, you are breaking the law - you should get a ticket."

Whether the new laws will help achieve the goal of no traffic deaths remains to be seen.