NYC Legal Update: Understand the New Reckless Driver Impound Law from our Queens Car Accident Lawyer
Reckless driving is a common cause of motor vehicle accidents in New York, particularly NYC and Long Island. The Legislature has long prohibited reckless driving under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1212 which defines reckless driving as “driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power . . . in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use fo the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” NYC has attempted to use more red light cameras and speed cameras to combat reckless drivers. However, far too many individuals still cause reckless driving accidents resulting in catastrophic personal injuries to innocent victims.
Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes to change that with a new NYC law taking effect on February 26, 2021, which will apply to tickets incurred after October 26, 2020. Under the new law, reckless drivers must take a traffic safety course or risk losing their vehicles if drivers:
- Receive five (5) camera-issued red light tickets in a 12-month period, or
- Receive fifteen (15) speeding tickets in a 12-month period.
Motorists who exceed either of these ticket limits may have their vehicle impounded until they take a safe driving course. The course will be overseen by the NYC Department of Transportation and requires motorists to sit for one 90-minute class that is free of charge. The NYC Department of Transportation estimates that up to 6,000 vehicles registered in the city may be affected.
Increasing Efforts While Pedestrian Deaths are Increasing
This new law comes at a time where 114 pedestrians were killed in NYC car accidents last year. At the time of signing the bill in February, NYC was already over pace with 20 pedestrian fatalities this year. The law is technically a pilot and after three years the City Council will review whether it should remain in effect or be modified.
Mayor de Blasio and the City Council had previously hoped that the increase in red-light cameras and speed cameras would have curtailed some of the reckless driving issues. While there was some effect, there are still too many drivers who have been undeterred. City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez opined that “[t]he dangerous vehicle abatement program will ensure that only the safest drivers remain on the road and will create a deterrent for drivers who refuse to correct their actions.”
Rights of Victims Injured by a Reckless Driver
Individuals who have been injured in any type of motor vehicle accident may have been the victim of a reckless driver. While the definition of a reckless driver is anyone who “unreasonably endangers users of the public highway,” in practice courts hesitate to find a motorist to be a reckless driver unless the conduct is egregious. Rather, most courts rely on other statutory violations such as speeding, running a red light, or improper turns to hold a defendant liable for causing personal injuries. Other times, courts will rely solely on the common-law (judge-made) standard of negligence to hold reckless drivers responsible for the personal injuries they cause.
Here at COHEN & COHEN PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS, P.C. , our experienced Queens car accident lawyers understand how dangerous reckless drivers can be. We represent innocent victims and their families who have been catastrophically injured due to the negligence of another person, business, or governmental entity. Our law firm knows how to prove the reckless conduct of other drivers to obtain compensation for victims. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in any traffic accident in NYC, Long Island, or anywhere else in New York, learn how we can help protect your rights to compensation by calling 800-247-8164 for a FREE case evaluation or use our convenient and easy-to-use contact us box available here.