SAFETY: NYBC Applauds Governor's Proposed Driver Test Changes.

Filed Under: Advocacy & Policy, Bike Laws, Education & Safety, Uncategorized
Post By: ken
Posted On: January 24, 2017

NYBC applauds the Governor’s proposed legislation to include at least one question on bicycle and pedestrian safety on the NYS driver’s test. Included in the State of the State address (pages 350-1) and the budget legislation (page 107), the Governor has highlighted the need for prospective drivers to be educated on bicycle and pedestrian safety, and by testing them on it, the State has clearly signaled that bicycle and pedestrian safety is now integral to highway safety policy. We encourage the State Legislature to approve this legislation and look forward to providing information and assistance to our colleagues at the Department of Motor Vehicles to implement this critically needed change.

State of the State pp. 350-351, Text:
(Bolded for emphasis.)

Proposal: Reduce Highway Fatalities through a Comprehensive Motorist Safety Effort

New York State is a national leader in highway safety. However, the number of fatal crashes on U.S. roadways rose by nearly 8 percent over the previous year—abruptly ending a decade-long general downward trend in fatalities across the nation. Governor Cuomo proposes a multifaceted approach to address highway safety and to stem this rise in highway deaths:

Changing Roadway Behavior: Data suggests that 94 percent of fatal crashes are the result of driver error. Changing behaviors and providing enforcement tools as they relate to driver error is important in reducing the number of highway fatalities in 2017 and beyond. The Governor will advance legislation addressing the root causes of highway fatalities, including: electronic distraction, impairment, shared use of roadways, and seatbelt use. Some specifics of the legislation include making bicycle and pedestrian safety a focus in licensing; closing a current loophole in the law – that lets impaired drivers escape punishment – by clearly defining the term “drug”; continuing the Governor’s focus on stemming electronic distraction by, closing a loophole that allows drivers to use electronic devices on the roadway if a vehicle is not in motion and by prohibiting the use of electronic devices by drivers under the age of 18; and, lastly, by changing the law to require that all occupants of a passenger vehicle be buckled in.

Legislative Text, FY 2018 Article VII Bill, Transportation Economic Development and Environmental Conservation, page 107:

(Bolded for emphasis. Green text is the new language added to the bill.)

§ 2. Subparagraph (i) of paragraph (a) of subdivision 4 of section 502 of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 97 of the laws of 2016, is amended to read as follows: (i)Upon submission of an application for a driver’s license, the applicant shall be required to take and pass a test, or submit evidence of passage of a test, with respect to the laws relating to traffic, the laws relating to driving while ability is impaired and while intoxicated, under the overpowering influence of “Road Rage”, or “Work Zone Safety” awareness as defined by the commissioner, the law relating to exercising due care to avoid colliding with a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle or hazard vehicle pursuant to section eleven hundred forty-four-a of this chapter, the ability to read and comprehend traffic signs and symbols, bicycle and pedestrian safety and such other matters as the commissioner may prescribe, and to satisfactorily complete a course prescribed by the commissioner of not less than four 26 hours and not more than five hours, consisting of classroom driver training and highway safety instruction or the equivalent thereof. Such test shall include at least seven written questions concerning the effects of consumption of alcohol or drugs on the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle and the legal and financial consequences resulting from violations of section eleven hundred ninety-two of this chapter, prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Such test shall include one or more written questions concerning the devastating effects of “Road Rage” on the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle and the legal and financial consequences resulting from assaulting, threatening or interfering with the lawful conduct of another person legally using the roadway. Such test shall include one or more questions concerning the potential dangers to persons and equipment resulting from the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle in a work zone. Such test may include one or more questions concerning the law for exercising due care to avoid colliding with a parked, stopped or standing vehicle pursuant to section eleven hundred forty-four-a of this chapter. Such test may include one or more questions concerning bicycle and pedestrian safety. 

image credit: Pat Arnow, Source