New York Mayor Bill de Blasio faces flap over video showing official vehicles breaking laws

By Jonathan Lemire

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Feb. 21 2014 12:31 p.m. MST

In this Feb. 12, 2014 file photo, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers the budget address at City Hall in New York. De Blasio's official vehicles were spotted breaking several traffic laws on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, just two days after he laid out a sweeping traffic safety plan that included harsh restrictions on reckless drivers.

Craig Ruttle, Pool, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio faced more questions Friday about why his official vehicles were videotaped breaking traffic laws only two days after he rolled out a sweeping traffic safety plan.

De Blasio deferred to the New York Police Department when met by reporters Friday morning on his way to the gym. The mayor's cars are typically driven by members of his security detail, made up of NYPD detectives.

"The NYPD provides security protocol for the drivers. Talk to them about that," he said.

Referring to his traffic safety plan, the mayor added: "We're very serious about 'Vision Zero.' ... We're going to keep moving forward with it."

After his weekly meeting with the mayor on Friday, Police Commissioner William Bratton downplayed the video, saying that the drivers have special training to make decisions based on security needs and won't face any questioning.

"I'm not overly concerned by what I saw," Bratton said.

Asked if the mayor can tell his drivers to slow down, the commissioner responded, "He could raise it, but the security concerns would override any of his concerns."

De Blasio was expected to address the issue again at a news conference later Friday.

The mayor was in the front passenger seat of the lead SUV of a two-vehicle caravan on Thursday that was captured on video speeding, running through a pair of stop signs and not signaling when changing lanes. The footage, which aired on WCBS-TV, was taken as de Blasio returned to City Hall after a news conference in Queens.

The video emerged two days after de Blasio released the "Vision Zero" plan, which aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities. The plan proposed reducing the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph, installing more red light and speed enforcement cameras, detailing more NYPD officers to enforce speeding violations and toughening penalties for speeding.

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