Advocates call for legislation to boot, impound cars of ‘reckless drivers’

MANHATTAN — Advocates and elected officials took to the steps outside City Hall Tuesday, calling for the immediate passage of the Reckless Driver Accountability Act.

It's legislation that aims to keep dangerous drivers off the roads, holding them accountable for their problematic driving records.

City Councilmember Brad Lander introduced the legislation in wake of the horrific incident last March where two children and a pregnant mother were mowed down by driver Dorothy Bruns after police say Bruns ran a red light at a park slope intersection.

An investigation later determined Bruns had accumulated five red light camera violations the year before.

“We could have known that this reckless driver was out driving her car around like a weapon aimed at her neighbors and at our children,” Lander said outside City Hall.

Officials say the Reckless Driver Accountability Act takes measures to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Drivers with five or more camera violations would have their vehicles booted or impounded until their owners complete a reckless driver accountability course.

The legislation resonates with safe driving advocates, including Rachel Jones, whose wife was struck by a delivery truck driver near Prospect Park in 2009.

The incident left her with permanent brain damage.

“[The driver] got two tickets when he hit my wife and pleaded not guilty and they were tossed out,” a tearful Jones recalled. “That’s all that ever happened to him and if this program had been in place that wouldn’t have happened.”

Despite its overwhelming support in the City Council, critics took note of one of the bill’s cosponsors - Council member Jumaane Williams.
Williams, who is running for Public Advocate, reportedly has racked up 27 school zone camera violations since 2013. Lander confirmed Tuesday that his colleague has taken the program.

“What he said to me is that it really has had a substantial impact on his driving,” Lander said.

The bill is expected to be voted on in the coming weeks.

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