Volume 20, Number 43 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | October 20 - 26, 2010
Careless driving law passes
A new law will crack down on careless drivers that injure pedestrians, cyclists and other users of the roadways.
For the first offense, drivers will now be fined $750 or 15 days of jail time, participate in a driving training course, or have his license or registration revoked. For a second offense, they could be penalized for any of the above, plus a misdemeanor charge. Elected officials and pedestrian safety advocates rejoiced about the bill’s passing last week, which they named “Hayley and Diego’s law.”
The bill’s sponsors, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, held a press conference last Wednesday on the Lower East Side.
“New York is a great place for walking and biking, but the deaths of Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez serve as a tragic reminder that careless driving puts everyone at risk,” said Squadron said.
“With this new law, we now have a practical tool that will make our streets safer and bring a measure of justice when drivers’ careless behavior leads to tragic consequences,” Kavanagh said.
Councilmember Margaret Chin, another advocate of the bill, called it “a great step forward in protecting pedestrians in our city.” Other supporters of the bill were Assembly member Sheldon Silver; Borough President Scott Stringer; and advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
Four-year-old Hayley Ng and three-year-old Diego Martinez were killed on East Broadway in early 2009 when a delivery van that its driver left in reverse backed into them. The driver went unpunished, since careless drivers in New York State did not previously receive an infraction under federal laws.
— Aline Reynolds