In our last post, we began looking at Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero program and the intentional focus the program has put on reckless and negligent drivers. As we noted last time, the high vision of the program and the financial backing behind it puts pressure on law enforcement take an aggressive approach to the problem of traffic accidents.
A little bit of that approach can be seen in a recent article covering the topic, which highlights the concern officers have with even the smallest traffic infractions. Particular areas of focus for officers are things like cell phone use, especially texting while driving, improper turns, seat belt violations, and failure to yield to pedestrians.
From a defense perspective, the concern is not that authorities are trying to make the roads safer, but that law enforcement, which has the power to enforce traffic rules, doesn’t always fairly handle and accurately report traffic incidents because of the pressure to get tough on the problem. Again, it is to be expected that officers would put a special focus on motorists in reducing traffic deaths, since drivers present a greater risk to others when they act negligently. And it is true that motorists are bound to follow the rules of the road for their own safety and the safety of others. But motorists do have the right to be treated fairly, and to have a fair hearing in court on traffic charges.
Whatever the circumstances of the case, motorists who have been charged with traffic violations—whether speeding tickets, cell phone use and texting tickets, license violations, or failure to yield—should always work with experienced legal counsel to build the strongest possible case to put themselves in the best possible position for a favorable outcome. This is especially important in cases where a pedestrian or cyclist has been harmed or killed, as these cases are more likely to be aggressively prosecuted, and in cases where the driver has previous convictions.