Police Say Mayor's Drivers Sometimes Break Traffic Laws to Maintain Safety
QUEENS — The NYPD said that the mayor's motorcade sometimes violates traffic laws, including speeding and running stop signs, to maintain security.
The statement came in response to a CBS 2 report that Mayor Bill de Blasio's caravan violated several traffic laws just days after he debuted his "Vision Zero" plan for cracking down on reckless drivers to reduce traffic fatalities.
The mayor's two-vehicle caravan reportedly was caught speeding, blowing through stop signs and changing lanes without signaling after leaving a Thursday press event in Maspeth about repairing potholes.
De Blasio is driven by specially trained police officers.
"At certain times, under certain conditions, this training may include the use of techniques such as maintaining speed with the general flow of traffic, and may sometimes include tactics to safely keep two or more police vehicles together in formation when crossing intersections," police said in a statement.
"The handling of police vehicles transporting any protectee is determined solely by police personnel based on their specialized training in executive protection and professional judgment."
De Blasio got in the front passenger seat of the lead SUV after the media event, according to CBS.
Both vehicles were then reportedly seen rolling through a Queens stop sign a short time later.
The vehicles then drove 40 to 45 mph in a 30 mph zone, according to the news station.
The 63-point Vision Zero plan calls for reducing the city speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph, increasing the number of highway patrol officers and a "black box" that would reduce a taxi's fare when a cab is speeding.
The mayor's office said they "believe public safety is everyone’s responsibility," but added that his security detail is responsible for making security decisions around driving de Blasio.
“We also recognize NYPD’s training and protocols, and refer questions related to security and transportation to them," press secretary Phil Walzak said in a statement.
"With that in mind, Mayor de Blasio is firmly committed to the traffic safety policies outlined this week.”