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Halloween terror attack: Bill pushes truck rental ID verification

The bill's introduction coincided with the anniversary of the truck terror attack that killed eight people on the Hudson River Greenway.

On Halloween last year, eight people were killed

On Halloween last year, eight people were killed and a dozen injured when a truck drove onto a bike path in lower Manhattan. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt

Truck rental companies would be required to verify drivers’ identities before handing over the keys under a new bill introduced in the City Council Wednesday. The bill's introduction coincided with the anniversary of the Manhattan terror attack that killed eight on the Hudson River Greenway.

Queens City Councilman Donovan Richards sponsored the bill as a way to add a layer of security to safeguard against vehicle-based terror attacks. It would end the practice of allowing truck renters to pick up the keys to the vehicle through a mobile app or kiosk.

“Sometimes there are loopholes in the age of technology that allow people to navigate around checks and balances,” said Richards. “We thought it was fitting, working with the NYPD, to come up with a plan that, while not perfect, at least provides another step to ensure we honor the lives of those who are lost and add safeguards to make sure we never see another incident like this again.”

Richards’ bill would require anyone in the city renting a van or SUV that weighs 6,000 pounds or can hold at least 10 passengers to present a driver’s license to a company employee and prove their signature matches the one on the ID. Out-of-city truck renters would not be subject to such protocol. Richards said he hopes lawmakers elsewhere bring forward similar legislation. 

The suspect in the 2017 van attack, Sayfullo Saipov, allegedly rented a pickup truck from a New Jersey Home Depot, which doesn’t offer kiosk or mobile rentals.

Police Commissioner James O’Neill spoke in favor of the bill Tuesday as a way for companies to keep closer tabs on truck renters.

“I think that gives the people renting the truck the opportunity to see who’s renting those vehicles,” O’Neill said. “And if there is anything suspicious, they can contact the NYPD and we can [do] an investigation.”

Saipov, 30, of Paterson, New Jersey, a lawful permanent resident who came to the United States from Uzbekistan in 2010, allegedly used his truck to barrel into cyclists and pedestrians on a portion of the Hudson River Greenway in lower Manhattan, wounding more than a dozen in addition to the deaths.

He faces the death penalty if convicted of the attack.

With Alison Fox

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