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Hochul signs new laws to enhance street safety, prevent traffic deaths & crack down on hit-and-run crashes


Fri, Aug 12th 2022 03:10 pm

Legislation authorizes municipalities to reduce speed limits to 25 miles per hour; increases fines for leaving scene of a car crash without reporting it

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday signed a legislative package to enhance street safety, prevent traffic-related fatalities, and crack down on hit-and-run incidents. Two new laws will allow municipalities to reduce speed limits to 25 miles per hour, and increase fines for leaving car crash scenes without reporting them.

"Every New Yorker deserves to feel safe when traveling on our streets, whether they are driving, cycling, or walking," Hochul said. "These new laws will help prevent senseless tragedies and injuries by cracking down on erratic and irresponsible driving. Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to keeping New Yorkers safe and using every resource available to save lives."

Legislation A.1007-A/S.2021-A will help prevent traffic-related crashes and fatalities by allowing municipalities to reduce speed limits to 25 miles per hour.

Hochul’s team said, “Research shows that faster driving speeds correlate to more serious injuries and fatalities for pedestrians in the event of a crash. Under current law, the default maximum speed limit throughout a city, town or village may not be set lower than 30 mph. By giving municipalities local control to reduce speed limits, this legislation will improve public safety and prevent pedestrian fatalities.”

New York State Sen. Rachel May said, "As a cyclist, I know how worrying it can be to use streets where speed limits are sometimes too high. I'm proud we could pass a critical tool needed to give local governments more flexibility to lower speed limits to help reduce traffic fatalities in New York state. Making streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and others is especially important, as more people are looking for walkable places to live and work."

Legislation A.3964/S.9163 will deter hit and run incidents and enhance public safety by increasing fines for leaving the scene of a car crash without reporting it.

Hochul’s team said, “Hit and run incidents are particularly dangerous when an individual is hurt and the driver at fault fails to report it, since that person may not get the proper care when they need it. This legislation will increase the fine range for leaving the scene of a personal injury crash to $750 to $1,000, and increase the fine range for a repeat violation to $1,000 to $3,000.”

New York State Sen. Andrew Gounardes said, "It is reprehensible to hit another person with your car and then flee the scene. Today, my bill makes it a lot more expensive to be a hit-and-run driver, by raising the fine up to $3,000.”

Hochul’s team said, “Earlier this year, a report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that traffic fatalities during the first half of 2021 had increased 18.4% since the first half of 2020, even as many New Yorkers worked from home. Additionally, New York City data shows traffic fatalities increased by 44% during the first three months of 2022, the deadliest start to any year since the start of the city's ‘Vision Zero’ program in 2014. By imposing greater penalties on hit-and-run incidents, this new law will help address increases in traffic-related deaths and reduce accidents on streets across the state.”

Daniel Flanzig, advocacy chair for New York's statewide bicycle advocacy organization, New York Bicycling Coalition, said, "Giving municipalities the flexibility to lower vehicular speed on their streets is a huge milestone in ‘Vision Zero’ strategy and in reducing traffic violence. We are thrilled that Gov. Hochul recognizes the importance of this long-needed change. New York has seen an unprecedented increase in hit-and-run crashes in our state over the last few years. By increasing penalties, it will deter misconduct and increase safety for our members in every corner of the state."

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