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Home Government Zahm Ready for "Fact Based" Convo on Traffic Law Enforcement

Zahm Ready for “Fact Based” Convo on Traffic Law Enforcement

Today Ridgewood Drive resident Bob Zahm, member of the Rye Board of Education, co-chair of Rye’s Trailways and Traffic Safety – School subcommittee and an outspoken advocate on pedestrian safety issues, tells MyRye.com readers that he is ready for a "fact based" discussion on traffic enforcement.

The City has finalized their enforcement data for 2009.  The data can be found buried amongst the “Weekly Council Packets” in the Jan. 29, 2010 package on page 4. [Based on this data, here are the updated Rye City traffic enforcement stats through 2009.]

No material change has occurred since the partial data was previously reported; e.g., issued citations have declined 40+% since 2006.

> Red light -12%
> Stop sign -55%
> Speeding -50%
> Disobeying sign/device -28%
> Seat Belt -52%
> Cell Phone -53% (but almost double 2008)

So, now that the data is “final” for last year, a fact-based discussion can be had about why enforcement appears to be down, what the implications are – if any – for public safety, and what changes are – again, if any – appropriate.

I am not advocating for increased enforcement purely for its own sake. I am advocating for enforcing the City’s laws or amending them to reflect our community standards.  Unenforced laws send the message that you can pick and choose which laws you obey – and that’s a very dangerous slope down which to slide.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I am a mother of 3 children. One goes to Osborn, one middle school, and one high school. Ysterday when I dropped off my middle school and high school children (yes, I drive them)a woman dropping off her children made a u-turn right on Parsons after letting her children out not by the crossing guard. When I rolled down my window and told her she was crazy she told me to mind my own business. If you have a police officer giving her a ticket it would have created yet another backlog. I am not a lover of this town’s “entitlement” factor. This woman was allowed to turn just because she is who she was. Just like the moms that want to cross at Sonn Drive (an insane idea). The Rye Police Department does have more important things to do then to give each person who goes 35 a ticket when then should be going 30. I applaud you wanting safety but you (nor I) have no idea what the police department does all the time. If you think that the Commissioner just drinks coffee and dougnuts you are sadly mistaken. We are not the City Counsel or the City Manager. They are the only ones that can demand a change. The police department shouldn’t have to answer to ciizens that just want to make noise because they don’t have anything better to do. Would I have liked the woman making a crazy u-turn to have gotten a ticket YES. I can’t imagine the stink she would have make though.

  2. Bob, when I say that is sounds like you have preconceived thoughts about this, I truly do not mean disrespect. My point is just looking at numbers will only get us in trouble (with almost any subject). Again, I’m not saying there is not an issue, but we need to get behind the numbers. Anybody (and I’m not saying you) who looks only at these numbers and says the RPD is not enforcing the law is off-base.

    Certain violations we would expect to go down over the years. For example, almost everybody wears a seatbelt, so I would almost expect those numbers to decline. Then again, almost everybody talks on their cell phone, so I would expect those numbers to (at least) remain static.

    Also, what can we expect enforcement to do? Absent an extended crackdown (zero tolerance?) of say, cell phone use, do we really think that issuing summonses will cut their use drastically? One blogger here wrote about going down Forrest (I believe) and always knowing there is a good chance RPD had Radar in a particular spot. To this day he always slows down at that spot. But how many others do that? How much manpower will it take to embed this into resident’s minds (forget non-residents)? I’m not trying to put a price on safety, but to dedicate one officer exclusively to traffic enforcement is probably too expensive (budgetarily). Remember – the fines from these summonses go to NYS, not Rye. [As an aside, there are only three RMP’s on each shift. Tim – please correct me if those numbers have changed.]

    One last issue (due to being long-winded, not substance!) – has anyone looked at surrounding jurisdictions to see what their summons activity is? Are our neighboring towns numbers all increasing, or does Rye fall somewhere in the Bell Curve? Looking at Rye exclusively will not allow us to properly analyze this.

    “The Devil is in the Details…”

  3. Honest Citizen,

    I can honestly tell you I have better things to do, as I’m sure Bob Zahm does and the residents that take time from their family life to show up at Council Meetings, BOE Meetings, & Joint Meetings.
    What makes you think otherwise?

    I have noticed a huge change lately in the behavior of the drivers on Midland Ave., especially in the School Zone.

    What the RPD is doing is working, I am grateful for it and we are all safer for it!!!

    No one ever asked the RPD or expects the RPD to issue a summons for doing 35 in a 30. If your doing 35 in a School Zone you sure as hell deserve a summons.
    We only ask that they enforce the laws, if they choose to do that by issuing summons for doing 5mph over the speed limit then maybe you should take that up with them!

    Come sit on Midland from 6am to 8am and tell me the RPD should ignore what you will witness….all the white collar workers speeding to catch a damn train, and I’m not talking about 35 or 40mph, it’s downright disgusting!
    Just because Midland School is not in yet doesn’t mean the street is not being used by residents exercising, walking their dogs, and the RHS kids walking to school!

    And if the woman who made that insane maneuver got a ticket for it and complained afterwards, TOUGH! I would like to see her take that attitude to the judge!

    All we ask is for a safer Rye and we have every right to expect that. You seem to forget how officers get paid for what they do. We have every right to know what they are doing if we fell they are not upholding the oath that they are sworn in on!

    “This woman was allowed to turn just because she is who she was”.

    Really, so who is she? I would be more than happy to turn her in!!!
    Feel free to send me an anonymous letter!!!

    If a RPD Officer witnessed such a hanus act and did nothing about it then our enforcement issues are just what we think they are and maybe worse if they ignore that!

  4. Avg.Citizen,

    We already have a “dedicated enforcement (radar) officer”.

    We have a dedicated radar car and if I’m not mistaken it’s almost always assigned to that Officer when he is on duty.

    I, like anyone else, do not want to see anyones Credit and Insurance ruined but there really is no other way to handle repeat offenders!

    Excuse me for not knowing this or realizing it, what is a RMP?

  5. Average Citizen:

    I believe your statement about traffic violation fines is incorrect. While there are New York State surcharges on traffic tickets, the majority (in the neighborhood of 75% to 80%) of the ticket revenue goes to the municipality and not to New York State.

    Steve Feeney

  6. Steve, it’s my understanding that the local municipality has the right to enact a law that imposes a surcharge on specific moving violations (e.g., speeding). Rye would only get the surcharge, with the fine going to NYS, who then redristributes these funds (don’t hold your breath!).

    It is possible that this has changed recently, so if you have a cite, please let me know.

    Jim, RMP = Radio Motor Patrol. a/k/a marked police car.

    I doubt that Rye has an officer whose sole responsibiility is traffic enforcement. Personally, in today’s shortage of funds, I’m not even sure that you would want a 100% dedicated officer for this. I think that you can only make a small dent in changing driving habits with enforcement, and when the beancounters get involved, they don’t see it as a good “return on investment.” [Note I said “beancounters” and not myself.]

  7. Avg.Citizen,
    Thanks for the clarification of “RMP”.

    I confirmed my statement, when the Officer is on Duty, other than going on a call when needed, his sole job description is “traffic enforcement”!

  8. “All we ask is for a safer Rye and we have every right to expect that. You seem to forget how officers get paid for what they do. We have every right to know what they are doing if we fell they are not upholding the oath that they are sworn in on!”

    Jim,

    It’s hard to believe you were only talking about Rye Police management when you handed a copy of the police oath to each council member when you write stuff like this. Stop bashing the cops.

  9. Real Deal,
    Sorry you read that as “bashing”.
    My intent was not to be insulting or to bash!

    I don’t consider what I wrote harsh, bashing, or anything relevant to those words!

    Given the manner in which I use to bash the cops, what I wrote is a far cry from that!

    Again, what I handed the council had every bit to do with Management!
    My only intention in handing that out for everyone to read was to remind them and the Commissioner along with his Lieutenants what they promise us “in their words” and what we were receiving didn’t reflect that!

    Please take the time to read it before you criticize me!

    I am very pleased (excluding my arrest) with the direction my relationship with the RPD has taken, I am not looking to reverse that progress.
    Although I don’t agree my arrest was legally warranted it did have a positive effect and I’m happy with the line of communication it has opened!

    The Officers are doing an awesome job on Midland Ave. and I have told them so, I’m sure this will continue on Midland and other troubled drag strips in Rye, we are all safer for it!

  10. “So, now that the data is “final” for last year, a fact-based discussion can be had about why enforcement appears to be down, what the implications are – if any – for public safety, and what changes are – again, if any – appropriate.”

    To have a fact based discussion the first thing that needs to be determined is whether the decrease in citations is due to less enforcement or better driving. I notice you just jump to conclusions. Already an obvious flaw in your thinking. I find it hard to believe your for level headed discussion when you already made a major mistake in analyzing the data. INO, you already have drawn conclusions and the outcome of this “fact-based discussion”. Can you actually look in the mirror and say “I don’t have an agenda.”?

  11. Let’s try this again.

    “So, now that the data is “final” for last year, a fact-based discussion can be had about why enforcement appears to be down, what the implications are – if any – for public safety, and what changes are – again, if any – appropriate.”

    To have a fact based discussion the first thing that needs to be determined is whether the decrease in citations is due to less enforcement or better driving. I notice you just jump to conclusions. Already an obvious flaw in your thinking. I find it hard to believe you advocate level headed discussion when your bias already caused a major mistake in analyzing the data. IMO, you already have drawn conclusions and the outcome of this “fact-based discussion” is predetermined. Can you actually look yourself in the mirror and say “I don’t have an agenda.”?

    Ignore my last post.

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