Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein are pleased to announce the passage of legislation that excludes Saturdays from being considered a business day for purposes of responding to violations for defective motor vehicle equipment. Bill number A5470A/S5730 increases the amount of time a motorist can repair a defective vehicle without facing a costly fine.
The current law encourages timely repairs by offering a full waiver of the fine if repairs to defective equipment are made within approximately one business day. The inequity in the law, which excludes only Sundays and Federal Holidays, was originally reported to the elected officials by Councilman Lewis Fidler, whose constituent had received a ticket late in the day on Friday and, being Sabbath observant, was unable to make any repairs until first thing Sunday morning. The Department of Motor Vehicles refused to dismiss the ticket.
“This legislation is about levelling the playing field for those who would otherwise be unable to take advantage of the existing grace period,” said Senator Felder, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “With the passage of this bill, a great injustice has been redressed, enabling all New Yorkers to benefit equally.”
“Year in and year out, hundreds of motorists have been disenfranchised when not given adequate time to take advantage of this incentive to repair their vehicle because of their religious obligation to keep Shabbos,” said Assemblywoman Weinstein. “By acknowledging that countless motorists are unable to make repairs on Saturday, we are helping them avoid the costly fines associated with the violation without compromising safety in the process.”
"Sometimes we need to fix the letter of the law so that it meets the intended spirit of the law,” said Councilman Fidler. “Grace periods encourage people to make timely repairs to their vehicles, and reward them for doing so. The law already rightly makes accommodations for Sundays and other holidays, but not everyone’s holy days are the same. The Sabbath observant, and those of other sincere religious beliefs, should be treated just as fairly and recognized for making timely repairs.
The bill has been sent to the Governor.