New York bills would clear roadways

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, January 25, 2013

New York state lawmakers could soon review two bills that are intended to help keep roadways clear for commuters and commerce.

The first bill would allow police to order vehicles removed from streets and highways without fear of liability if damaged. Liability protection would not be available if it is determined that removal was carried out in a “reckless or grossly negligent manner.”

Sen. Martin Dilan, D-Brooklyn, wrote in a memo attached to the bill that studies show that delays in clearing highways of wrecked or damaged vehicles often leads to secondary accidents.

In an effort to help prevent traffic congestion he notes that many police departments have adopted “quick clearance” procedures to open highways as quickly as possible.

“These procedures often require the removal of vehicles in a manner that results in unavoidable damage to such vehicles and their cargo,” Dilan wrote.

The bill – S393 – is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Another Dilan bill in the Senate Transportation Committee is intended to reduce wrecks by 20 percent.

S394 would require drivers involved in minor wrecks to move their vehicles from the roadway, “if safe and possible.”

The bill clarifies that moving vehicles to a nearby location does not imply fault or lack of injuries.

“This proposal would maintain a safe roadway for the traveling public and lessen the negative economic impacts of traffic incidents to motorists and shippers not directly involved in an incident,” Dilan wrote.

He also notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 20 percent of wrecks are secondary wrecks that occur because of drivers reacting to an existing accident scene or because of a backup situation.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New York, click here.

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