Brooklyn Lawmaker Proposes New Vehicle Rating System To Protect Pedestrians

Marla Diamond
February 28, 2020 - 2:03 pm
Boy fatally struck in Brooklyn

Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A Brooklyn lawmaker wants the state to create a DMV database that rates cars on how safe they are — not for passengers but for pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers.

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes unveiled the bill at a press conference Friday with the group Transportation Alternatives. 

"We have made tremendous strides to making all cars kind of like mini-tanks from the inside at the expense of making them more dangerous to people on the outside," Gounardes said.

He wants to grade vehicles on a five-star system based on their frequency of collisions and said the data could be used to get insurers to charge more for policies on dangerous cars.

"The reality is that humans are staying the same size, and cars and trucks are getting bigger. This is unsustainable especially as drivers face infinite distraction with their phones," said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. 

The city has seen six pedestrians killed since Sunday that began with the hit-and-run death of 26-year-old Jose Contla. His grieving sister, Arlene Soto, says enough is enough,

"Not only do we demand justice for my brother Jose, but demand an end to these senseless deaths. Our mission is to end this epidemic," Soto said.

Two children were also struck and killed by vehicles this week in East New York.

On Tuesday, a 10-year-old girl was crossing a street near Crescent Street and Wortman Avenue when she was fatally struck by school bus as it was making a right turn.

Two days later and just two miles away, 7-year-old Payson Lott was walking with his 39-year-old mother when they were hit by an SUV operated by an unlicensed driver near Pennsylvania and Blake avenues — just steps from where the boy attended school. Lott was killed and his mother suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The NYPD's transportation chief issued a plea on Facebook asking drivers to be alert and use good judgment.