3 bills aim to increase pedestrian safety after deadly week in New York City

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A New York lawmaker is proposing a new package of bills designed to make New York City streets safer, after yet another tragic week for pedestrians and following a deadly year in 2019.

Following the deaths of six pedestrians in five days, including two schoolchildren in Brooklyn, state Senator Andrew Gounardes introduced the following three bills:

--The Dangerous Driver Act to clarify vehicle and traffic law to make it easier for dangerous drivers to be charged by district attorneys. The bill clarifies that dangerous driving that causes an injury to another person does not need to require that the individual was aware of the harm they would cause or a minimum number of violations. Previously, the law had been interpreted otherwise, causing the vast majority of reckless drivers to avoid charges.

--S7875, to expand pedestrian rights by deeming every intersection, marked or unmarked, to be a crosswalk.

--S7876, to create a pedestrian safety rating of all vehicles based on how likely these vehicles are to cause injury or death to others on the road.

Gounardes also urged the passage of previously introduced bills:

--S3470, to prevent drugged driving
--S5226A, to require a written exam upon license renewal

--S5228A, to include understanding of pedestrian and cyclist safety as part of the pre-licensing course for drivers

"In 2019, New Yorkers of every age and from every walk of life were devastated by traffic violence in 2019," he said. "Their families were forever torn apart because of our city's inability to keep its people safe in our streets."

Traffic deaths rose to 219 in New York City in 2019, the first rise in years.

Earlier this week, 26-year-old Jose Contla, 10-year-old Patience Albert, and 7-year-old Payson Lott were all killed.

"In memory of those we lost, we must do everything in our power to make our streets safe for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike," Gounardes said. "It's time to say goodbye to the days when drivers, no matter how reckless and careless, could injure and kill our neighbors with impunity. It's time for every single person to feel safe walking down the street."

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