Car owners who speed or run red lights might soon face having their vehicles impounded until they take a class on the horrors of reckless driving, officials said on Tuesday.
The Reckless Driver Accountability Act, presented by Councilman Brad Lander, would expand the reach of a court-mandated class that shows drivers the deadly consequences of bad driving to everywhere in the city.
It is currently only in use in Red Hook and on Staten Island, where reckless drivers must sit through videos and testimonials before regaining their privileges.
And cops would be able to boot or impound cars that pick up more than five summonses in a year. Owners wouldn’t be able to get their vehicles back until they attend one of the restorative justice classes.
Lander said he is proposing the bill in response to a deadly March crash where a woman mowed down two children in a Park Slope intersection. He said current penalties are just a slap on the wrist that don’t create a real deterrent to force reckless drivers to change their behavior.
“They are putting the lives of their neighbors and our loved one at risk, and there is just no real consequence,” said Lander.
There are about 25,000 New York City cars that rack up at least five camera infractions per year, said Lander.
Transit advocates say the bill, which has at least 12 co-sponsors in the council, would save lives.
“Coupled with street designs that prioritize and protect the most vulnerable people, the Reckless Driver Accountability Act will play an incredibly important role in the effort to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on New York City streets,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.
Lander said he wanted to create the bill because it can be instituted on a city level without state approval, unlike the speed cameras. Many city officials are anxiously waiting for the state legislature to increase the number of speed cameras from the current 140 that are allowed.