Few New York City Drivers Who Hit People Must Pay Penalties


Reckless drivers who hit people rarely face penalties in New York City, says the New York Times. The state recorded about 3,000 serious nonfatal accidents last year in the city. The Police Department's Accident Investigation Squad investigated only 63, or 2 percent. Squad members chalk crosswalks, measure tire tracks, and analyze video.

They investigate only when a victim is “considered likely to die.” State law remains a problem; it is difficult to charge reckless drivers criminally. As the StreetsBlogs.org site notes, “under New York State code 'I didn't see her' is a credible defense.” The City Council has examined this closely. There are proposals to double the size of the traffic investigation squad and to ensure that each precinct has officers expert in such matters. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly claims to see no problem. His department is state of the art; the streets get safer all the time; pedestrian fatalities have dropped 30 percent in the past decade.

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