NYC – Drivers who assault traffic enforcement agents will face felony charges because of a change in state law that went into effect on Tuesday, putting the agents in the same category as police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers.
The change in the penal law, signed by Gov. David A. Paterson in April, makes an attack on a traffic agent second-degree assault, a Class D felony, which calls for a maximum sentence of seven years.
Before the law took effect, assaults on traffic agents were misdemeanors for which the maximum sentence was one year in jail, unless the agent was seriously injured, which made the attack a felony.
About 2,800 agents issue summonses, direct traffic, operate tow trucks and enforce traffic rules at construction sites as uniformed Police Department employees.
There have been about 50 attacks on traffic agents so far this year, compared with 60 in all of 2007.
(Source: NY Times)