BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Last week, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens), with the support of state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), unveiled a proposed legislation that will provide an automobile insurance premium discount for non-commercial vehicles that have an operating dashboard camera installed.
“Currently, insurance companies apply discounts for drivers who have airbags, they apply discounts for drivers who take defensive driving courses, and they also apply discounts for drivers who have safety seatbelts, so why not apply similar discounts for drivers who install dash cams at their cost,” said Peralta. “We must ensure that we use 21st century technologies that are available today, to promote road safety for tomorrow.”
According to Peralta, the use of dash cams is increasing in the U.S. and the cameras are very popular across the world, with sales in the UK already up 900 percent.
Although the legislation aims to promote motor vehicle and road safety, Peralta said that more people will purchase dash cams if they understood how the devices can help and if people had an incentive like a five percent discount.
“Dash cams can also be used for criminal prosecutions,” Peralta said. “For fatal hit-and-run incidents, footage captured by these devices can help solve crimes like cash-for-crash or staged crash professionals. If people are being taped by dash cams, maybe they will think twice about engaging in reckless road activity or leaving the scene of an accident.”
Just last week, there was a fatal hit-and-run accident in Corona, which resulted in the death of a 21-year-old woman and left several people injured.
“If vehicles within the vicinity of this accident had a dashcam installed, we would have footage of exactly what happened, which would in turn further the investigation,” Peralta said. “This plague has to end. Enough is enough. Hit-and-run accidents are taking the lives of too many New Yorkers, and we must ensure we put all the necessary tools in place to combat this epidemic.”
Not only will this proposal act as a witness to vehicular accidents, but Hyndman said that as a parent, this is something she’d want in her own child’s car.
“I have a teenage daughter who will be passing her [driver’s] exam very soon and as a parent, I would like to have the dash cam installed, not just for the insurance discount but to see how she’s driving,” Hyndman said.
The proposal’s provisions are as follows: An insurer is required to review dashboard camera footage following the submission of a claim, the insurer may request records related to the installation of dashboard cameras in a vehicle from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, a certified inspector can determine whether a dashboard camera is installed during a safety inspection, and DMV is allowed to promote rules and regulations such as the size and location of the device in the vehicle.
The sound of the traffic along Queens Boulevard was far louder than Stavisky as she began to explain why she supports the legislation and she didn’t hesitate to address it.
“You can just hear the cars zooming down Queens Boulevard,” Stavisky said. “Vision Zero means that there will be zero accidents. I have been to so many press conferences where we call for traffic safety and pedestrian safety particularly in this part of Queens and particularly in Downtown Flushing.”
Hit-and-run accidents have been a widespread problem in New York for years. During an eight-day period this month, there were four fatal hit-and-runs in the city.
Stavisky said that several years ago, there was an accident that took place on Main Street and Maple Avenue, where a child was crossing the street holding her grandmother’s hand when a taxi hit the child and killer her.
“But there was a car in the same vicinity who had a traffic cam and as a result, the driver’s claim that he had the right-of-way, was disproved,” Stavisky said. “The evidence was there because there was a traffic cam.”
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