New York Safe Streets Activists Propose New Road Safety Legislation

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Activists are campaigning to get the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act passed this legislative session in Albany.

Earlier this month a group of safe-streets lobbying groups in New York released the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act, a collection of eight pieces of legislation “that will better support victims of traffic violence and make streets safer across New York State at a moment when traffic fatalities and speeding are both on the rise,” according to advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. The lobbying group, which includes Families for Safe Streets and and other organizations, is campaigning for the passage of these eight bills this year.

The eight bills in the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act include the following, according to StreetsBlog NYC:

The Traffic Crash Victims Bill of Rights, which would grant car crash victims “the right to receive timely crash reports and the right to attend crash-related hearings and submit impact statements,” per Transportation Alternatives;

Sammy’s Law, named after a Brooklyn 12-year-old killed in a car crash in 2013, which would repeal an existing regulation “that prohibits New York City from lowering the speed limit below 25 mph (or 15 mph in school zones)”;

Speed Safety Camera Improvement, which would authorize New York City to use speed safety cameras 24 hours a day, “escalate penalties for extreme repeat offenders,” and permit record-sharing with car insurance companies;

Vehicle Safety Rating, which would require New York’s Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles to establish a safety rating system for cars “that accounts for the risk a motor vehicle poses to vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists,” and which would require the display of a vehicle’s safety rating at its point of sale and on a website operated by the state;

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The Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act includes eight bills designed to make New York’s roads safer for drivers and vulnerable road users.

Dangerous Driving “Rule of Two,” which would “make it easier for the most reckless drivers to be held accountable under existing misdemeanor law (VTL 1212), especially when they injure or kill someone”;

A bill that would “lower the blood alcohol concentration limit for driving from .08 percent to .05 percent, and for aggravated driving while intoxicated from .18 percent to .12 percent,” a limit that appears to have reduced alcohol-impaired fatalities in Utah;

Safe Passage for Cyclists, which would clearly define a “safe distance” of at least three feet for motorists overtaking cyclists, and “provide a mechanism for accountability” after crashes;

And a DMV pre-licensing course that would require “robust street safety education starting when new drivers get their driver permits,” teaching new drivers how to overtake cyclists and operate around vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians.

More information on the campaign to pass the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act is available via StreetsBlog and Transportation Alternatives.

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