De Blasio calls on state to pass Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act after death of NYPD officer

Mayor Bill de Blasio at the funeral procession for Officer Anastasios Tsakos on Tuesday.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Hours after attending the funeral of an NYPD officer run down by an alleged drunk driver — and  Transportation Alternatives urging a city to help stem a surge in traffic fatalities, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced his support of a state bill – the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act.

Following NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos’ funeral in Long Island, the mayor said the public should be entitled to timely traffic report data, the city could be granted the right to lower speed limits to 15 at their discretion.

Also through the bill is a clause to lower the blood alcohol concentration limit for driving from .08% to .05% and the abolishment of the requirement for two reckless acts to convict a driver of criminal negligence.

The act would also allow the city to operate speed cameras 24/7, according to the mayor.

“Officer Anastasios Tsakos should be home today with his wife and his two beautiful children. Instead, yet another life has been taken by a reckless driver. This cannot continue. We must pursue fundamental changes. In honor of Officer Tsakos, I’m calling on the State Legislature to immediately pass the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act,” said de Blasio. “For Officer Tsakos and every victim of traffic violence on our streets, let’s deliver on the full power and promise of Vision Zero and keep our streets safe for generations of New Yorkers to come.”

The bill would also require the state Department of Transportation and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles to create a rating system for vehicles in terms of the threat they pose to cyclists and pedestrians, create a legal definition for what constitutes a safe distance for cars to pass cyclists and it would require the DMV create a pre-licensing course for new drivers.

The purpose of this would be to advance mindfulness toward other road users among motorists.

“We have partnered with the de Blasio administration to launch Vision Zero and on our long-running campaign to secure and expand life-saving speed safety cameras. We are very grateful that he is fully supporting the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act this year in Albany,” said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “Our just recovery and the lives of New Yorkers depend on the state legislature passing this package of bills this session, and we will continue to work with our partners in Albany and the de Blasio administration to expand the promise of Vision Zero on our streets.”

Officer Tsakos was laid to rest on Long Island Tuesday after being killed by an alleged drunk driver during a stop on the Long Island Expressway in Queens last week.