Why Hasn’t NYC Implemented Its New Reckless Driving Law?

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A man recklessly driving in Brooklyn with a suspended license and an arrest record has lead to the recent death of a 3-month-old baby and this now has people outraged and questioning why Mayor DeBlasio never implemented a reckless driving law to keep these unlawful drivers off the road.

The man suspected of killing a three-month-old baby in a reckless driving incident in Brooklyn earlier this month had a suspended licensed, 91 speeding tickets, and an arrest on his record for driving without a valid license, according to a report by StreetsBlog. The 28-year-old driver, Tyrik Mott, was also “racing the wrong way down Gates Avenue” when the incident happened, and was arrested for “carjacking and robbery” but not the reckless driving incident, which resulted in the infant’s death and other pedestrians’ injuries. As one expert told StreetsBlog, however, he was able to remain on the streets because “there’s no legal mechanism” to keep drivers like him off the road.

The killing has brought intense scrutiny on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose administration passed a law in 2020 “that would require drivers with 15 or more camera-issued speeding tickets or five red-light tickets in any 12-month period to take an in-person safety course or have their cars impounded by the sheriff,” according to StreetsBlog. That law was introduced in 2018 and was described by the mayor in 2019 as not especially urgent to him. While it was finally passed in 2020, it has not yet been implemented; in May of that year, per StreetsBlog, the mayor said he “would not allocate the $1.6 million needed to fund the program” due to the coronavirus pandemic. He eventually said he would begin funding it in February 2021.

In a press briefing last week, de Blasio reportedly said he would look into why the law has not yet been implemented. The city’s police commissioner also reportedly said he didn’t know why drivers like Tyrik Mott are still permitted to drive in the city despite the law.  A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, charged with administrating the program, told StreetsBlog that drivers with enough infractions on their record “would start getting letters this fall, with classes beginning later this year.” As the report notes, there are plenty in the category, with “more than 1,000 drivers have accrued more than 26 speeding tickets in just the eight months of 2021 alone.”

One potential issue with the reckless driving law, according to the New York Post, is that it requires drivers to “self-report” traffic violations after they take the mandatory safety course. Documents obtained by the publication state that the course’s providers would contact participants “in order to conduct self-reporting of behaviors 1-3 months after they take the class,” even though the city has a “regularly updated database” of repeat offenders. It almost seems like common sense.”

More information about the concerns surrounding the delayed implementation of New York City’s reckless driving law is available via StreetsBlog and the New York Post.

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