New York City tows 46 for fines, violations


It might be tough to find ice cream in NYC this summer. The city is seizing 46 ice cream trucks after operators of the trucks violated traffic laws.

The New York City government began towing 46 ice cream trucks Wednesday, leaving parts of the city in a ice cream drought as it heads into the summer.

In an effort dubbed “Operation Meltdown,” the city accused ice cream truck operators of breaking traffic safety laws and evading nearly $4.5 million in fines for more than a decade. 

Between 2009 and 2017, the operators collected 22,000 summonses for violations, including running red lights, parking near fire hydrants, and blocking pedestrian crosswalks, according to a news release sent out by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

“No New Yorker is above the law – especially those who try to ignore public safety laws and create dangerous situations for pedestrians, bikers and drivers,” De Blasio said in the news release. 

The city filed a lawsuit with the worst offenders, who owe more than $10,000 in judgments or unpaid fines. Thirty-four of the 46 trucks were towed on Wednesday morning and the other 12 are being sought, according to city officials.

To get away with the evasion of fines, the operators created dozens of “shell” companies, re-registering trucks under the names of different corporations, the release said.

When the city’s finance department would try to collect on a debt, there would be no trace of the offending company.

“We all know from common experience that ice cream trucks are magnets for children,” said city Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter. “In order to protect this particularly vulnerable category of pedestrians, our traffic laws must be strictly enforced.”

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Follow Elinor Aspegren on Twitter: @elinoraspegren


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