Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz Announces New SCOFFLAW Act to Counter Efforts to Undermine Traffic Safety Measures

The bill would allow NYC Department of Transportation to impose a $50 surcharge on any driver crossing into New York City with license plates from a state that refuses to cooperate with speed camera and red-light camera enforcement

Albany, NY – States hoping to enable scofflaw drivers to run a red light or speed through the streets of New York City may want to reconsider. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has introduced new legislation to counter legislative efforts in other states to prohibit their version of the Department of Motor Vehicles from sharing license plate and vehicle registration records for the purposes of red-light camera and speed camera enforcement.

The new bill was primarily motivated by a New Jersey bill that passed the State Senate earlier this year (Senate Bill Number 460), which would “prohibit State from disclosing New Jersey driver’s license holders’ personal information to other states seeking to issue speed camera or red-light camera citations.” However, the new legislation from Assemblyman Dinowitz would apply to any state that seeks to implement a similar measure.

The Dinowitz bill, known as the “Stop Careless Outsiders From Flaunting Local Authority Wantonly” or SCOFFLAW Act (A10686), would grant authority to the New York City Commissioner of Transportation to “impose a fee of fifty dollars on any vehicle entering the city of New York which displays a license plate from a state which does not provide or exchange reasonably necessary information … for the purpose of permitting the imposition of fines or penalties for traffic infractions.” The SCOFFLAW Act specifies that such traffic infractions include those issued through traffic control signal monitoring systems (commonly known as red light cameras), speed control devices (commonly known as speed cameras), or other photo-monitoring systems that may be authorized for use.

Red light cameras have been in use in New York City since 1994, resulting in a decline of over 84% for average daily violations issued at each camera location. Speed cameras have been in use in New York City since 2013, resulting in a similar 60% reduction of violations at each camera location.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “It is absolutely ludicrous, and frankly a dereliction of the power of public officials, to attempt to create a system whereby drivers from one particular state would be able to recklessly ignore our traffic safety solutions. I hope the New Jersey General Assembly rejects the bill irresponsibly passed by their State Senate. These solutions are not new. They work. And drivers from every state should be held to the same standard. If a state wants to stop cooperating with our traffic enforcement methods in New York, then our City will be forced to expend more money to maintain similar levels of safety. This proposal simply offers a mechanism to pay for the increased enforcement officers or other tools that would be required by uncooperative neighbors.”