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Vision Zero Plans May Require Repeat Traffic Offenders To Take A Safety Course

Vision Zero was a program initiated by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014. The goal of the program was to eliminate all traffic deaths in the city. By 2018, it looked like the program was achieving some results. Pedestrian and bicyclist deaths were down. That changed in 2019 when bicyclist deaths more than doubled. As part of the program, traffic light timing was changed, police were told to better enforce traffic laws, and the city planned miles of new bicycle lanes. There are still are more plans in the works to get to de Blasio’s goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2024. One of those plans includes impounding vehicles of repeat traffic offenders, as the New York Times reports.

Last year’s deaths included two pedestrians who were hit by a driver with eight violations for speeding or running a red-light. Another fatality involving an 85-year-old woman who was killed by a Brooklyn driver with 10 speeding tickets and two red-light violations.

To curb these violations, the city is planning on taking drastic measures. Drivers who rack up multiple violations will be required to take a driver safety course or risk having their vehicles seized.

The program would make New York City the first in the nation to use traffic camera violations to try and change reckless driving behavior by the threat of impoundment instead of relying on punitive fines.

The initiative will begin as a three-year pilot program. It will require vehicle owners who get five traffic light violations or fifteen speed-camera violations in a year to complete a safety course. Drivers who fail to take the course will risk having their vehicles impounded by the DMV.

After the initial program, the city will consider lowering the threshold for the number of violations that will trigger the mandatory class.

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