Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lander Leading On Street Safety

On the heels of yesterday's Times article on changes at NYPD comes this statement from Councilmember Brad Lander.  I'm glad that we've got one of the good ones who understands street safety issues and cares enough to fight for them.
As you might have read in the New York Times yesterday, the NYPD is changing its policies to expand investigations of traffic crashes that result in serious injuries.

If these policies had been in effect, the crashes that claimed the lives of fellow New Yorkers Clara Heyworth and Stefanos Tsigrimanis would likely have gotten a serious inquiry.

These changes follow a City Council hearing last year and, as the lead sponsor of the proposed Crash Investigation Reform Act, I believe they are a step in the right direction – towards ensuring that tragedy is not compounded with the injustice and indignity of family members demanding a fair investigation for months following their loved one's death.

My thanks go to Speaker Christine Quinn and my colleagues Council Members James Vacca and Peter Vallone, Jr, Transportation Alternatives, and the many brave family members of those who have been killed (especially Jake Deter, Jacob Stevens, and Erika Lefevre) for helping to push for these changes.

In a city where traffic crashes kill as many people each year as are murdered by guns, reducing traffic fatalities and injuries must be a top priority. The NYPD has an important role to play here through investigations and enforcement – since it is often reckless, illegal driving that causes fatalities. Over 40% of the time, when a New Yorker is killed in a traffic crash, the driver doesn’t even get a speeding ticket. And they almost never face criminal charges.

I am looking forward to working with the Police Department, my colleagues in the Council, street safety advocates, and you, to make sure this new policy is implemented successfully, and to find additional ways to prevent crashes through proactive enforcement and education.
As the man said, it's a step in the right direction.  There is a lot more work to be done.  I tip my hat to Transportation Alternatives and the phenomenal volunteer committees in Brooklyn (paco!) and Queens who are tireless in the pursuit of safer streets and justice for those made victim by dangerous drivers and years of policy failures.

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