New York City Could Use Cameras to Curb Reckless Driving

NEW YORK (AP) -

New York City is considering using traffic-camera violations to curb reckless driving by requiring frequent violators to attend a safety course.

The City Council will vote this week on legislation that would require drivers with five red-light camera tickets or 15 speed-camera tickets in a year to complete the safety course or risk having their vehicle impounded, The New York Times reported Monday.

“The folks that this program will target are the worst offenders, they are the people that continue to continue to speed, speed, speed, violate, violate, violate,” said Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker and a proponent of the bill.

The city has red-light cameras at 150 intersections along with more than 600 speed cameras, and plans to add 2,000 speed cameras by 2021, according to the publication.

The legislation was written after a driver ran a red light and hit Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Miles, who was expecting at the time. Her 5-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old boy were killed; Miles lost the baby two months later.

The city’s Department of Transportation and the University of Chicago conducted a preliminary study between 2012 and 2019 and found that drivers with more than five violations were twice as likely as a driver with no violations to be involved in a crash.

An advocacy group, however, says traffic cameras are unconstitutional.

“We should be allowed to face our accusers in court even for a traffic ticket,” said Shelia Dunn, a spokeswoman for the National Motorists Association.

Seven states have imposed bans on speed or red-light cameras.