Taxi drivers who kill or seriously injure pedestrians will have their licenses suspended immediately and revoked permanently if they are found to have broken any traffic laws, according to a bill passed on Thursday by the New York City Council.
Called Cooper’s Law for 9-year-old Cooper Stock, who was killed by a taxi while crossing the corner of 97th Street and West End Avenue in January, it is one of several pieces of legislation the council approved that support Mayor de Blasio’s goal of eliminating pedestrian traffic deaths by 2024. Other changes passed on Thursday include increasing the penalty when a car “fails to yield” to a pedestrian who has the right of way, and banning such things as “wheelies” and “invitations to race” on motorcycles.
The mayor has said he intends to adopt the Swedish philosophy and policies known as Vision Zero, which has sharply reduced pedestrian deaths in Sweden since 1997.
Cooper’s Law was proposed by Helen Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side on the council, at the urging of Dana Lerner, Cooper’s mother. The driver who killed Cooper faced a $300 fine and three points on his personal license, but no penalty from the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission, a fact that Lerner calls “unacceptable.” Under the new law, a driver would not be permitted to drive customers until an investigation had cleared him of breaking traffic laws. And unlike current law, under which a driver must have two violations to be charged with a crime, simple “failure to yield” will be enough for a permanent revocation of a hack license.
“That’s a good beginning,” Lerner told Yahoo News after the bill passed by a vote of 46 to 1 with two abstentions. “But it’s just a beginning. So many other changes are needed. This needs to apply to all drivers, not just taxis. Also, somebody has to be the watchdog to make sure that these things are indeed monitored and enforced.”
Koffi Komlani, the man who hit and killed Cooper, has not worked as a driver since the accident, according to the TLC. He was informed by that agency that his license will not be renewed when it expires next week.
Yahoo News Original: 9-year-old's death signals need for traffic law changes