Bid to Lift NYPD Ban on Careless Driving Tickets Clears Senate Committee

Graphic by Carly Clark

Legislation targeted at NYPD’s self-imposed ban on citing motorists for careless driving has passed the State Senate transportation committee.

The bill, introduced by Brooklyn Democrat Dan Squadron, would amend Hayley and Diego’s Law by explicitly stating that officers may issue tickets to drivers who harm pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable street users whether or not an officer directly observes an infraction. At the February City Council hearing on NYPD traffic enforcement, NYPD officials said department protocol prohibits precinct officers from issuing tickets under VTL 1146, the state statute that includes Hayley and Diego’s Law as well as Elle’s Law, because the citations are prone to being dismissed in court.

Juan Martinez, general counsel for Transportation Alternatives, told Streetsblog in May that the prohibition against beat cops writing careless driving citations is contradicted by case law and a state attorney general opinion. Though the policy does not apply to the department’s Accident Investigation Squad, NYPD routinely issues fewer than 100 VTL 1146 citations per year.

On Tuesday, Squadron’s office informed Streetsblog that the bill’s next move would be to the floor of the Republican-controlled Senate. The companion Assembly bill, introduced by Manhattan Democrat Brian Kavanagh, is in the transportation committee. To date, Squadron and Kavanagh are still the only sponsors of this important legislation in their respective houses.