If the average citizen in New York runs into a cyclist who has the right of way or a pedestrian, that citizen can be arrested by the officers who respond to the scene. This is based on the Right of Way Law, which says that people can be charged with misdemeanors if they hurt or kill bikers and pedestrians.
However, a new bill just went through the Senate in New York, and it says that many commercial drivers — bus drivers, taxi drivers and the like — would not be subjected to this law. The officers would not be allowed to arrest them in the same way they could arrest normal citizens.
Of course, it doesn’t mean no arrests would ever be made. If a bus driver was high, drunk or unwilling to cooperate with police, he or she could be arrested. If the driver ran from the scene, the same thing would be true. The law would just let bus drivers continue on if they were cooperative and hadn’t committed additional crimes. They could then have to report later regarding the incident, but they wouldn’t be arrested on the spot.
The bill was highly liked by the Senate, with only six people opposing it and 54 approving it. However, the mayor is against it, making it less likely that the bill is going to become a law. Also against it are Families For Safe Streets and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Citizens of New York definitely want to keep an eye on this bill as it moves forward to see if it does become the law.
Source: Streetsblog NYC, “Senate Passes Bill to Prevent Arrests of Bus and Taxi Drivers Who Kill,” Stephen Miller, June 23, 2015