Cutting the speed limit

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

February 18, 2014 1:49:48 PM PST
So I have a confession. Won't shock anyone when I say I can be a nudnik in the back seat of a New York taxi cab. When that speedometer creeps to 40 miles an hour, I usually ask the cabbie to slow down. Or, and here comes the confession, I sometimes will say, "be careful, cops are giving tickets to speeding cabs. I was in a taxi that got one the other day right on this street."

Total fabrication.

But it always works because the one thing that hacks fear the most isn't getting into an accident or getting robbed or getting cancer. It's getting a ticket. It's expensive and it takes points off their license.

For the record, I hate lying, and I'm not proud that I am making things up from the back seat of a cab. But I rationalize it with an end-justifies-the-means internal argument: I want to stay alive to raise my children and grow old with them and my wife, and a cabbie hurtling down Broadway stands in the way of doing that. At least from my perch.

Why this is relevant tonight is because New York Mayor de Blasio, as part of his "vision zero" plan to cut down on fatal crashes and pedestrian deaths, is pushing cutting the City's speed limit from 30 to 25 miles an hour. Obviously, the slower the speed the more likely one is to survive an accident. It was one of Mayor Bloomberg's big pushes - to obey the 30 miles an hour limit.

But now de Blasio wants to slow things even further, and except for cabbies who want to speed up so they can get their faster and more quickly pick up their next fare, this makes so much sense. And it goes with de Blasio's crackdown on jaywalking, with tickets issued in the City up something like 800 percent this year. Just one rub - he needs state approval for the speed limit cut. He's also, you'll recall, trying to get state approval for a tax hike on wealthier New Yorkers to fund universal pre-K. Turns out the Mayor of the nation's biggest city has a lot of power, but not the power to raise taxes or cut the speed limit.

Tonight at 11, we're sending our Jim Dolan out to find out how feasible cutting the speed limit will be, and get reaction.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg on what could be a couple days of melt down in this winter that just won't end, and Rob Powers is in Tampa for the Yankees spring training - with Laura Behnke in studio with the rest of the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

And if you tire of the slippery slopes - why wait for your news? @abc7ny has your news at 11 p.m. with @billritter7 and @sadeabc


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