New York

De Blasio Pushes for Stiffer Laws to Keep Dangerous Drivers off Roads

Mayor says the new laws are "a matter of life and death"

What to Know

  • Mayor de Blasio Thursday is proposed new legislation to crackdown on repeat offenders to keep dangerous drivers off city streets
  • The call for stiffer laws comes on the heels of the deadly crash in Park Slope that killed two young kids and injured their mothers
  • Ruthie Ann Miles, a Tony-winning actress, was injured in the Brooklyn crash that police say was caused by a woman running a red light

Mayor de Blasio is proposing a new bill to crack down on repeat offenders in an effort to keep dangerous drivers off city streets.

The call for stiffer laws comes on the heels of the deadly crash in Park Slope; police say a Staten Island woman gunned through a red light and into a group of pedestrians at the intersection.

The wreck claimed the lives of four-year-old Abigail Blumenstein and one-year-old Joshua Lew. Abigail’s mother, Ruthie Ann Miles, a Tony-winning actress, Joshua’s mother and a man were all injured the collision.

At a press conference Thursday morning with 78th Precinct officers, de Blasio, who is a resident of Park Slope, said he's walked through the intersection with his family thousands of times. He called video of the crash terrifying. 

"People going about their business. Perfectly normal day, middle of the day. Suddenly a car is plowing into them and two children are lost," the mayor said.

De Blasio has said the driver accused of running down the children and their mothers should have had her license taken away long ago. The 44-year-old driver, who claimed she had a medical issue, has racked up several driving violations over the last two years.

The state legislation the mayor's proposing would extend and expand speed enforcement cameras and would double the number of school zones with such cameras. De Blasio said speeding declines by 60 percent in areas with the cameras. 

The proposal would also increase fines, revoke vehicle registrations for repeat offenders, and require DMV notification of medical incidents that cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle. 

First and second-time offenders will face a $50 fine, third and fourth-time offenders will face a $150 and $250 fines, respectively, and fifth-time offenders will face a $300 fine and have their insurance informed. After the sixth violation, the driver's registration would be suspended.

A large memorial is continuing to grow for the two children killed in the wreck. Residents in the area said it wasn't the first deadly crash at the intersection. In 2016, it was the site of a deadly hit-and-run. Later that year, a car slammed into a building and injured four people. 

At the press conference Thursday, de Blasio also gave an update on his Vision Zero initiative. He said last year was the fourth consecutive year of declining traffic deaths under the initiative, with the fewest-ever overall traffic fatalities citywide.

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