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Better driving through intimidation in Schenectady

Better driving through intimidation in Schenectady

Score one for the mayor, sort of

There’s nothing like the threat of having to take one of those boring defensive driver courses to get workers who use a company car to be more careful when they get behind the wheel. Unless it’s the threat of a job demotion or dismissal.

Schenectady city officials aren’t saying just how they threatened workers who racked up such dismal driving records last year — a total of 98 at-fault crashes, 21 of which were with parked cars — that the city’s insurance carrier jacked its deductible up from $0 to $25,000. But whatever they did obviously had some effect, because the number of accidents so far this year is a far-more-respectable 20.

Of course there would likely be even fewer accidents — and lower insurance premiums, among other savings — if the city limited the number of employees given city vehicles to drive to, from and at work. After sounding like they were finally going to address this issue earlier this year — it was a lightning rod in last year’s campaign — the City Council and Mayor Gary McCarthy again punted.

And now that the city’s accident rate has grown more respectable, McCarthy doesn’t seem interested in the savings that might be realized by going back to a low or zero deductible. “It may be cheaper to repair them ourselves,” he said in reference to fixing banged-up vehicles in the city’s controversial body shop. Well, he may be right, but shouldn’t he make some attempt to find out first? And what’s the harm in trying to have it both ways — lower premiums and a low deductible?

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