As the weather warms up and kids begin summer vacation, we’ll be seeing more bicyclists and pedestrians on the road. A New York organization, Families for Safe Streets, is calling on state legislators to pass the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act before the end of the current session.
The group includes parents whose kids were killed by at-fault drivers while biking or walking. The parents of a young man who was fatally struck in a New York City crosswalk by an off-duty police officer say the only penalty the officer faced was a 90-day driver’s license suspension. They’ve filed a suit against him.
These crashes don’t just happen on the treacherous streets of New York City. They occur throughout the state.
What’s in the proposed legislation?
The act includes eight separate pieces of legislation. They aim to protect cyclists and pedestrians and help victims and their surviving family members in these crashes get justice. For example, the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act would:
- Require that drivers stay at least 3 feet away from cyclists while passing them
- Lower the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from .08% to .05%
- Change “reckless driving” to “dangerous driving” and increase penalties
- Allow victim impact statements at the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) and other administrative hearings
- Decrease speed limits in parts of New York City
The father of a teen who was killed in Irondequoit on his way to school says lower speed limits aren’t enough. He says, “I want to see enforcement. There are speed limits in place that are not enforced.”
If you’ve been injured or a loved one has been killed by a reckless or negligent driver, it’s essential to be sure you have access to all of the evidence and witnesses. While it’s important for drivers to be held criminally liable when they’ve broken the law, you also have a right to seek justice and compensation through the civil courts regardless of any other penalties the driver faces.