Enacts "Elle's Law"; relates to the suspension of driving privileges.
Ayes (61): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Aubertine, Bonacic, Breslin, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Duane, Espada, Farley, Flanagan, Foley, Fuschillo, Golden, Griffo, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Johnson C, Johnson O, Klein, Krueger, Kruger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Leibell, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Maziarz, McDonald, Montgomery, Nozzolio, Onorato, Oppenheimer, Padavan, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Schneiderman, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stachowski, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousins, Thompson, Valesky, Volker, Winner, Young
Excused (1): Morahan
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law law, in relation to suspension of driving privileges
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To establish new criminal sanctions in order to adequately deter and punish motorists who seriously injure pedestrians as a result of dangerous and unlawful driving.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill provides that the act shall be known as "Elle's Law". Section 2 of the bill would amend the Subparagraph (xiv) of paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 510 of the vehicle and traffic law, as added by chapter 571 of the laws of 2006 to provide that any driver who does not exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicyclist or pedestrian upon any roadway (1146 of V&T Law) and causes serious physical injury to another person will have their license suspended for a period of 6 months. If that driver is guilty of this violation a second time within 5 years, that driver will have their license suspended for a period of one year. Section 3 of the bill provides for an immediate effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: In 2009, 3-year-old Elle Vandenberghe was crossing the street in New York City when a motorist who had passed by an open parking spot, backed up the wrong way on a one-way street through an intersection and struck Elle while she was in the crosswalk. Injuries sustained from the impact have left Elle with permanent brain damage and limited use of the right side of her body. Doctors say that Elle may never walk again. Although the motorist displayed a blatant disregard for pedestrian safety and consequently left Elle permanently disabled, he was issued only a minor traffic infraction, paid a small fine and was free to get back behind the wheel, subject to no further penalty.
Current law fails to adequately address the significant problem of drivers who flagrantly violate and blatantly disregard the VTL's "rules of the road" by speeding, refusing to obey traffic signals, or by committing other "moving" violations, even when such driving results in the tragedy of a serious pedestrian injury. Prosecutors are unable to charge drivers who seriously injure innocent pedestrians under the existing vehicle and traffic laws, even when the serious injury was the direct result of the driver's VTL violation, unless it can be proven the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This unfortunate reality leaves our pedestrians vulnerable, offends the public conscience and invalidates the underlying objective of licensing drivers, and should be addressed.
In 2008 there were over 15,000 pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents in the State Of New York alone. More than half of those accidents were the
direct fault of the motorist and left nearly 5,000 New Yorkers injured. 2% of the total pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents in 2008 were alcohol or drug related and carried criminal charges under current law, leaving thousands of New Yorkers and families of individuals who had been seriously injured with no legal recourse while allowing thousands of motorists who injured a pedestrian last year due to driver error to pay a minor traffic violation and get back behind the wheel.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Act to take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7485--A IN SENATE April 14, 2010 ___________Introduced by Sens. DILAN, FUSCHILLO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation -- reported favorably from said committee and committed to the Committee on Codes -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law law, in relation to suspen- sion of driving privileges THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Elle's Law". S 2. Subparagraph (xiv) of paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 510 of the vehicle and traffic law, as added by chapter 571 of the laws of 2006, is amended to read as follows: (xiv) for a period of forty-five days where the holder is convicted of a traffic infraction for a first violation of article twenty-six of this chapter and the commission of such violation caused serious physical injury to another person, EXCEPT: (A) WHERE THE HOLDER IS CONVICTED OF A TRAFFIC INFRACTION FOR A FIRST VIOLATION OF SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED FORTY-SIX OF THIS CHAPTER AND THE COMMISSION OF SUCH VIOLATION CAUSED SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY TO ANOTHER PERSON, THE SUSPENSION SHALL BE FOR A PERIOD OF SIX MONTHS; AND (B) WHERE THE HOLDER IS CONVICTED OF A TRAFFIC INFRACTION FOR A SECOND VIOLATION OF SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED FORTY-SIX OF THIS CHAPTER AND THE COMMISSION OF SUCH VIOLATION CAUSED SERIOUS PHYS- ICAL INJURY TO ANOTHER PERSON, AND SUCH PERSON HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN CONVICTED OF A TRAFFIC INFRACTION FOR A VIOLATION OF SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED FORTY-SIX OF THIS CHAPTER AND THE COMMISSION OF SUCH VIOLATION CAUSED SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY TO ANOTHER PERSON WITHIN FIVE YEARS, THE SUSPENSION SHALL BE FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD16811-05-0