Car used by chair of NYC’s transportation committee sped through school zones 17 times this year

Dan Smith

The private car used by the chairman of the New York City Transportation Commission has been caught speeding in alarming numbers this year, city data shows. Often driven by City Councilman Selvena Brooks-Powers, the ticket is so large that any owner of the car is required by city law to take a driver's safety course or risk having the wheels seized. I got the It's not clear how often Brooks-Powers drives himself. Since the council took office following a special election in March 2021, the car has received 34 tickets. Of those tickets, 29 were for speeding in school zones, including one issued the day before Brooks Powers was announced as chairman of the council's transportation committee in January. The car was also ticketed outside Hudson Yards in October for illegal use of a parking permit, a $65 fine that was later dismissed. The vehicle has been associated with $2,105 in fines and fine payments since Brooks Powers took office, according to city data. A spokesperson for Brooks-Powers said the car is a gray 2019 Nissan that isn't registered to her name but is a family-shared vehicle. The politician uses his car regularly and was seen parked outside City Hall at several other stores. This car has enough speeding tickets to trigger the city's Dangerous Vehicle Reduction Act signed by former Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2020. The law requires the owner of a vehicle with more than 15 speeding camera violations on his vehicle, or 5 or more red light camera violations on his vehicle, to take a moon window safety course. By law, if a vehicle owner does not attend a safety course within 30 days of receiving notice, the vehicle will be seized by the city's sheriff's office. It is unknown whether the car registrant received the notification through the program. City officials said they have not disclosed the identities of those covered by the law. The high rate of speeding tickets issued to Brooks-Powers cars continued even after she told Streetsblog in April to "slow down." Since then, her family's car has been caught speeding in school zones nine times. A spokesperson for Brooks-Powers said she uses the car "only occasionally." In August, Mayor Eric Adams expanded the city's speed camera program to automatically issue tickets 24 hours a day, seven days a week, rather than just 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays. The shift helped discourage reckless driving, according to data from the city's Department of Transportation.The monthly number of speeding violations issued by the camera dropped by 25% from August to November.

Danny Harris, executive director of street safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, said all drivers in the city should slow down. "Whether you think it's okay to speed up, distract yourself, or take your attention off the road, families are forever," said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. The reality is that we are influenced by: “What you do while driving matters.”