Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Traffic penalties to increase under new law

New York City’s Mayor has embarked on an ambitious journey to eliminate pedestrian deaths over the next several years. While this is positive in many regards, it may result in greater concerns for motorists who face traffic violations in the city. Already, drivers can be forced to pay high fines, insurance surcharges and deal with points being added to their driving records. If penalties increase, these things could become even harsher. Laws in Sweden have been some of the motivation for the mayor’s actions.

One example of this is a new law that the City Council recently passed. In remembrance of a nine-year old boy named Cooper who was hit as a pedestrian by a taxi cab, Cooper’s Law will now strengthen the consequences for any cab drivers that are involved in pedestrian accidents. Currently, taxi drivers can pay up to $300 in fines and sustain three points on their records when involved in pedestrian accidents. Cooper’s Law also outlaws racing or wheelies by motorcyclists.

For cab-pedestrian accidents that result in either a serious injury or death, drivers will be prevented from transporting people until investigations have been completed. Additionally, license suspensions or permanent revocations may be applied further hampering drivers’ abilities to work. Taxi cab drivers who are cited for failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian will also receive harsher penalties under the new law.

Keeping New York City’s streets safe for pedestrians is important. However, fair treatment for all motorists is also important. Any driver who is involved in a traffic violation or accident involving a pedestrian may wish to talk to an attorney for help.

Source: Yahoo News, “New York City Council passes Cooper’s Law in push to eliminate traffic deaths,” Lisa Belkin, May 30, 2014

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