Local governments in New York will have the power to reduce their speed limits to 25 mph under a law meant to cut down on car crashes and fatalities signed Friday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The measure was coupled with a separate provision also approved Friday by Hochul that hikes fines for leaving the scene of a crash without reporting it.
"Every New Yorker deserves to feel safe when traveling on our streets, whether they are driving, cycling, or walking," Hochul said. "These new laws will help prevent senseless tragedies and injuries by cracking down on erratic and irresponsible driving. Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to keeping New Yorkers safe and using every resource available to save lives."
The speed limit measure changes the current law the sets the default maximum speed limit in a city, town or village to 30 mph. Supporters of the new law say it will help cut down on fatal crashes involving cars.
"As a cyclist, I know how worrying it can be to use streets where speed limits are sometimes too high," said state Sen. Rachel May. "I'm proud we could pass a critical tool needed to give local governments more flexibility to lower speed limits to help reduce traffic fatalities in New York State. Making streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and others is especially important as more people are looking for walkable places to live and work."
Fines for leaving the scene of a crash without reporting it will be increased $750 to $1,000 for a first-time offense. A repeat violation could lead to a fine as high as $3,000.