Brush Up on Driving Rules

Licensed drivers shouldn’t take it personally if the East End for Opportunity’s philosophy on driver’s education is this practical and straightforward:   “Call us if you need us, but it’s better if you don’t — we don’t want to see you,” Zachary Cohen, a spokesman for the group, said this week only half-jokingly. 

“There are people who are licensed drivers, but they really need more education: What are common stumbling blocks? What is preventable? What happens in court? We don’t want you to get that far, and you don’t want to get that far. But you should know about it, just in case you do.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Cohen will be the moderator for the East End for Opportunity’s forum Driving in East Hampton: What You Need to Know, which will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. at the East Hampton Library.

Carl Irace, an East Hampton attorney, East Hampton Village Police Chief Mike Tracey, and Mark Butler, president of East End for Opportunity, are the scheduled speakers.

The forum is intended to help everyone — teenage drivers who are just starting out, undocumented residents who risk driving without a license, and experienced drivers who are unacquainted with current laws or details such as how some ticket violations can trigger more severe penalties such as fines, arrests, even the impounding of one’s car in the case of multiple offenses.

Among the other topics the panelists intend to discuss are how to drive safely and legally, what the police look for in the field, and recent changes in the law that drivers commonly get snagged on. “Sometimes it’s something as simple as, if you don’t want to get pulled over, don’t drive with a broken taillight, or don’t change lanes three times in a row without signaling,” Mr. Cohen said.

About 10 to 15 minutes of the program are also likely to be devoted to New York State’s proposed Driver’s License Access and Privacy Bill, which is often colloquially called Greenlight NY or the Driver’s Licenses for All act. If passed, it would allow New York residents to obtain a license in one of three categories, the most limited being a “standard” license for noncitizens that would convey driving privileges but could not be used as a valid ID to fly on airlines or enter federal buildings. Twelve other states have passed similar measures.

East End for Opportunity’s stated mission is to provide affordable legal guidance for people of limited financial means in the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton, regardless of their race, creed, color, or national origin. Mr. Cohen says the idea to stage a broadly designed driver’s safety forum arose because the group keeps encountering drivers who aren’t operating with enough working knowledge to know how they could anticipate — and avoid — problems.

“We have an applicant [for help] right now who, if they knew more under the circumstances they were driving, wouldn’t be in court right now,” Mr. Cohen said. “We’ve had enough similar cases in the past to realize we wouldn’t have needed to ever get a phone call if the people had just been more educated about what they shouldn’t do. Even just some little things.”