Legislature Has and Will Continue to Protect New Yorkers

May 9, 2018

While the debate and discussions around gun control laws continue on the state and federal level, a similarly dire issue on the local level continues to take lives – the senseless deaths of pedestrians and cyclists. I know this issue. When I became Chair of the Assembly’s Codes Committee, traffic safety was one of the first issues I addressed. At that time, multiple suspensions for traffic infractions were just violations subject to fines, not jail, whether you had one or 1,000 violations. I sponsored and with my colleagues passed legislation to criminalize multiple suspensions. That bill became law.

The recent tragedies that led to the death of 13 year-old Kevin Flores and weeks later 4 year-old Abigail Blumenstein and 1 year-old Joshua Lew have shined a light on the continuing problem of dangerous and irresponsible drivers. Let there be no doubt that my colleagues and I in the state legislature want drivers with a pattern of dangerous driving to be held accountable for their actions under New York State law. A few years ago, my colleagues and I supported and were instrumental in passing legislation to lower New York City’s speed limit. We also subsequently passed legislation allowing for the use of speed cameras in New York City.

But our work to protect New Yorkers does not end. Right now, bills have been introduced to punish reckless drivers and after these terrible deaths, more will come. I am the sponsor of more than one of those bills, one in particular would target repeat traffic law offenders by making it a felony for a lesser number of suspensions. I crafted this legislation in direct response to Kevin Flores’s death.

We must all remember that driving is a privilege and must be treated as such. A car can be just as dangerous of a weapon as a gun, so we must ensure that drivers recognize the importance of driving safely and responsibly. We need more driver education and we must start young. It has worked with teaching kids that drunk driving is always a crime. Together, through legislation and education we can protect our children, family, and friends.