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New York City's Crackdown on Dangerous Drivers

New York City has been taking steps in 2014 to combat dangerous drivers through heavy police ticketing, as well as new legislation strengthening the sentences for dangerous drivers with multiple traffic violations. The crackdown on dangerous drivers is part of Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative to protect pedestrians on New York City streets from death or serious injury as a result of bad drivers and a previously lax administration.
According to the NYPD's traffic report system, within the first quarter of 2014, 100,172 tickets were issued as compared to 89,868 tickets in 2013. In a recent study, it was found that 56 percent of all traffic fatalities within the city involved pedestrians. Each year, roughly 4,000 people are seriously injured and about 250 people are killed due to traffic accidents. Of these pedestrian fatalities, 70 percent are due to drivers who consistently make dangerous choices. Dangerous choices consist of not paying attention, speeding, and not following designated signs. 

NYC Dangerous Driver Amendments to the Penal Code

As part of the Vision Zero policy, the New York Senate is amending the penal code to admit crimes of dangerous driving in the fifth, fourth, third, second, and first degrees. The purpose of the legislation is to establish criminal liability on dangerous drivers who have continuously violated traffic laws, and have caused physical injury or death to others. The breakdown of the new laws is as follows:

  • Dangerous driving in the fifth degree is imposed on a driver who has been convicted within the last 18 months of any two traffic violations if the most recent violation seriously injured another person. The punishment is a Class A Misdemeanor, which may result in imprisonment up to one year.

  • Dangerous driving in the fourth degree is imposed on a person who has three or more suspensions and in the most recent event physically injured another. The result would be a Class E Felony, which could result in imprisonment for up to four years.

  • Dangerous driving in the third degree is imposed on a person who has 10 or more suspensions, or has been convicted in the last 18 months of two serious traffic violations, and has seriously injured another person. Either of these situations would result in a Class D Felony, which would come with a sentence of less than seven years in jail.

  • Dangerous driving in the second degree is imposed on someone who has had 10 suspensions or more and has seriously injured another person, or has been convicted in the last 18 months of two serious traffic violations and in the most recent event has killed another person. Either situation would result in a Class C Felony, which could include high fines and imprisonment up to 15 years.

  • Dangerous driving in the first degree involves an individual with 10 suspensions or more and who has, in the most recent incident, killed another person with their motor vehicle. This would result in a Class B Felony, which could result in high fines and a possible sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

NYC Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

These serious new dangerous driver initiatives as outlined in the legislation and in Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero plan will hopefully help New York City streets eliminate dangerous drivers and will protect pedestrians, bikers, and drivers alike from serious injury or death.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident in New York City, please contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys at Keogh Crispi, P.C. Our legal professionals will be able to answer any legal questions you have and determine if you have a claim. Call us today at 212- 818-0600 or send us a message online.

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