New York City Mayor drives into controversy

Friday 21 February 2014 20.19
Mayor de Blasio launching his traffic safety plan at a press conference on Wednesday
Mayor de Blasio launching his traffic safety plan at a press conference on Wednesday

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has driven head first into accusations of hypocrisy after his SUV repeatedly violated traffic rules two days after he ordered a crackdown on dangerous driving.


The recently elected mayor, who promised to curb social inequality, was accused of presiding over the injustice of one set of traffic rules for himself and another for ordinary people.


New York's local CBS news channel on Thursday filmed his official vehicle as it drove through two stop signs, changed lanes without indicating and travelled over the speed limit.


Questioned by journalists on Friday, Mr de Blasio directed them to the police, who are responsible for his security.


The police department said the mayor's drivers have "specialized training" based on "security as well as safety". 


"At certain times, under certain conditions, this training may sometimes include tactics to safely keep two or more police vehicles together in formation when crossing intersections," it said in a statement.


Just two days earlier an enthusiastic Mr de Blasio had ordered a crackdown on dangerous driving designed to slash traffic deaths.
Not everyone was impressed.


"If Mr de Blasio were still the righteous public advocate, he would be calling this mayor out for endangering citizens and treating himself above the law," wrote New York Times editorialist Lawrence Downes.


"The rules haven't changed now that Mr. de Blasio has a bigger job," he added.

Twenty pedestrians have been killed in traffic accidents in New York since the start of the year.