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Drive in NYC? Now they can take your car w/o DUI (archive)

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Posted by Rachel on January 14, 2000 at 16:33:55:

NY Post, Jan 14, see link below

NOW HE'LL TAKE RECKLESS
DRIVERS' CARS, TOO
By KIRSTEN DANIS

Road hogs
who speed, dodge and weave
through traffic better let up on the
lead foot -- or risk losing their
cars, Mayor Giuliani said
yesterday.
Starting next week, cops will
seize the vehicles of anyone
charged with misdemeanor
reckless driving, expanding a
controversial program that until
now targeted only drunken
drivers, Giuliani announced in his
State of the City address.
"We're going to use what works
so well with drunk driving, with
aggressive driving. We're going to
take your automobile from you,"
the mayor said. "It'll remind you
that this is important. This kills
people."
The city has confiscated 1,504
vehicles from drunken drivers
since the program began in
February.
The number of people killed in
accidents rose 10 percent overall
last year -- even though
drunken-driving fatalities fell 14
percent.
Cops will now come down hard
on anyone caught going twice the
speed limit or committing three or
more "hazardous violations in one
incident," Police Commissioner
Howard Safir said later.
The New York Civil Liberties
Union, which sued the city over
the drunken-driving confiscations,
may take up the cause again,
executive director Norman Siegel
said.
"You don't seize someone's
property prior to their day in
court. It violates due process," he
said.
The policy -- based on a highly
criticized law that allows seizure
of property used in drug deals --
has been upheld by two courts.
The Court of Appeals is deciding
whether to hear the NYCLU's
argument against the
drunken-driving seizures.
Only cars that belong to the
driver -- not to relatives and
friends, leasing agencies or rental
companies -- can be seized.
Only 141 people were charged
with misdemeanor reckless
driving last year -- mostly
because cops rarely apply the
vaguely written law, which
forbids drivers to "unreasonably
interfere or endanger" public
roads.
That number could go up now
that cops have been told to
"strictly enforce" the law.



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