It came very close but in the end it failed.

As part of Vision Zero, we gained the “right of way” law which assigns criminal penalties to drivers that fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists and injures or kill them, a major progress that makes it possible for NYPD to investigate even if they have not personally observed the violation. . Read a full explanation by Steve Vaccaro Here. 

In 2014 8 MTA bus drivers were arrested under this law, although many fewer were eventually condemned. TWU Local 100 who represents MTA bus drivers decided that their  drivers did not deserve the same treatment as the general population even if they killed pedestrians. Their campaign caused NYC Council members to introduce a bill to exempt bus drivers from criminal penalties when they kill or injure pedestrians with the right of way , and the NYS senate to introduce a bill to exempt bus drivers from an arrest , although they would still be accountable.

To our stupefaction, 25 Council members have signed on the NYC bill, and the Senate passed the NYS bill in Albany. Fortunately , thanks to the efforts of Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe streets it does not appear that either bill will go any further.  Ydanis Rodriguez ( Chair of NYC Transportation Committee) , Attorney General Cy Vance,  Mr Gantt, chair of the NYS Assembly Transportation Committee expressed their opposition in no uncertain terms .  “The right of way law is here to stay” .

In fact the law seems to work well: to date in 2015, there were no fatalities caused by MTA bus drivers . See here CHEKPEDS letter to elected officials in opposition to the weakening the Right of Way law.


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