New York City is looking to make the roads safer for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists by improving the New York Police Department’s crash investigation procedures and traffic enforcement.
The Crash Investigation Reform Act was submitted by council members and presented to the public at a recent press conference. The proposal would require officials to assess traffic safety and motor vehicle accident investigation protocols. The assessment would then be used to help the City Council and the NYPD design and implement improvements.
Current NYPD crash procedures
Currently, there are only 19 police officers that investigate car crashes for the entire city of New York. These officers only investigate the accident if there is a death or if a victim is likely to die from his or her injuries.
Traffic safety advocates say that all crashes that result in serious injures should be investigated, but the current NYPD protocol does not call for investigations of these accidents. As a result, important evidence is often never collected, making it difficult for prosecutors to press charges after a serious accident.
According to a local traffic-safety group called Transportation Alternatives, there were 237 people killed in traffic accidents in New York City in 2011. Thousands more were injured in traffic accidents that went uninvestigated. Furthermore, while there were 21 bicyclists killed in New York City traffic accidents in 2011, only two drivers were ever arrested in connection with these fatalities. Some precincts have been slow to issue speeding tickets as well.
The Crash Investigation Reform Act will protect all on the road
Individuals who cause crashes that injure and kill others need to be held accountable for their actions, especially when the accidents result from negligent behaviors like distracted driving or speeding. If passed, the Act will help to enhance enforcement of traffic laws and hold drivers responsible for injuries and deaths caused in crashes.
Council members supporting the legislation bemoaned the lack of adequate enforcement in New York City car accidents. They said many serious and fatal accidents do not even result in traffic tickets. Families and friends of those injured have also come forward to talk about how the police did not perform adequate investigations and caused extra problems for victims and their families.
There were other bills introduced with the Crash Investigation Reform Act. They seek to have more officers investigating accidents, to make sure the NYPD complies with state law when investigating accidents and to require police officers to publish safety plans and data about traffic violations.
For now, New Yorkers injured on the road still have an uphill battle to fight if the police did not adequately investigate their accident. A personal injury attorney in New York City can help accident victims investigate the crash and seek recovery in a civil lawsuit.