De Blasio says close to ‘Zero’ after vehicle caught violating traffic laws


| ctumola@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre
THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Mayor de Blasio said very little at a press conference Friday in response to a report that said his two-car caravan was speeding and violating other traffic laws.

After a vehicle carrying Mayor Bill de Blasio was caught breaking multiple traffic laws just days following his announcement of a plan to address dangerous driving, he responded to the report, saying he was still committed to traffic safety.

“I have great respect for NYPD security training and protocols. I am committed obviously to traffic safety and safe streets in NYC,” de Blasio said at an unrelated press conference Friday.

“That’s why we put forward Vision Zero,” he continued, referring to the plan.

The mayor was heading back to City Hall from a press conference in Maspeth on fixing potholes Thursday when the violations occurred, according to CBS New York, which captured the incident on video.

Its news crews saw de Blasio’s two-vehicle caravan break numerous laws, including exceeding the speed limit, going through a stop sign at a Queens intersection and changing lanes without signaling.

De Blasio refused to answer questions on the violations Friday. He said he was “very comfortable” with what was said by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton earlier in day and to refer to those comments.

Bratton defended the mayor’s security and said they did “what they’re trained to do,” CBS New York reported.

In a statement the NYPD, which provides security and transportation for the mayor, said its personnel assigned to his security detail receives special training in driving for security and safety reasons.

“At certain times, under certain conditions, this training may include the use of techniques such as maintaining speed with the general flow of traffic, and may sometimes include tactics to safely keep two or more police vehicles together in formation when crossing intersections,” the statement said. “The handling of police vehicles transporting any protectee is determined solely by police personnel based on their specialized training in executive protection and professional judgment.”

The violations come on the heels of the mayor’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

On Tuesday, de Blasio announced a set of initiatives as part of that plan. They include increasing enforcement against speeding, reducing the citywide “default” speed limit from 30 to 25 mph, and expanding the use of speed and red light enforcement cameras.

According to CBS 2, his cars were observed going 40 to 45 mph in a 30 mph zone, and up to 60 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Earlier Friday, the mayor was caught violating another street safety law, according to the New York Post, which witnessed him jaywalking across 11th Street on 6th Avenue in Park Slope, near his home.  De Blasio’s transgression follows a recent NYPD crackdown on jaywalking that he supported.

 

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