Getting Away With Murder: NY Drivers Do It All the Time

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You know how there are always cops around when a car is parked in front of a fire hydrant for two minutes?

Wouldn’t it be great if they were also there when people are killed by unlicensed and intoxicated drivers?

Yeah, it pretty much would.

The New York Observer reports that, “[e]ach year, there are upwards of 3,500 serious injuries resulting from traffic accidents. The NYPD has ten times as many officers, yet it only assigns 19 of them to look into such incidents and investigates less than 1 in 10 as a result. Even then, investigations take place only when those involved are dead or believed to be dying. Sometimes they die without an investigation because on the scene, officers believe the injured will make it.”

Several City Council members have proposed legislation to change these statistics and make sure that drivers who operate their vehicles recklessly and illegally will face the full weight of a police investigation. As it stands now, many drivers—even those whose actions result in fatalities—walk away without so much as a moving violation ticket.

Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield says, ““It’s actually a perverse system. In the city of New York, what we’re telling you is you can be a reckless driver, you can be a drunk driver, you can be an unlicensed driver, you can mow people over and nothing is going to happen to you.”

Gothamist reports that the following proposals have been brought up by Councilmembers:

“A resolution calling on the NYPD to “ensure that any time a motor vehicle causes a cyclist to be injured, regardless of whether or not there was contact between the vehicle and bicycle, all of the motor vehicle’s identifying and insurance information is provided to the responding officer.”

“A resolution calling on the AIS to thoroughly investigate all accidents involving serious injury, even if the victim is not likely to die. This is already the law in New York State, but the NYPD patrol guide only requires investigations when the victim is deemed likely to die.

“A resolution calling on the NYPD to train at least five officers in each precinct to conduct thorough investigations of accidents resulting in serious injuries.

” A requirement that the NYPD post detailed traffic-related data online, breaking it down by borough and precinct, and even enabling users to search by intersection. The City Council wants the NYPD to post details about the number of moving violations issued, broken down by type of summons; the number of traffic crashes (updated monthly); the number of motorists and injured passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians involved; and details about how often AIS investigators appear at a crash site, and whether summons were issued.”