NEW YORK—Members of the NYPD brass were called to a New York City Council Public Safety hearing on Wednesday to answer for what advocates feel is major lack of enforcement of traffic rules relating to cars, bikes, and trucks.
Councilors argued that unless someone is hit and killed by a car, the police do not send out an Accident Investigation Team (AIT), which is the only unit trained to correctly investigate such cases.
Without a death on scene, patrol officers are sent to work the cases, often only charging drivers with minor traffic violations—and that’s only if the officer witnessed the violation. If the victim later dies, the council claimed there was no follow up to hold the driver accountable.
The NYPD said its AIT unit consists of only 19 officers to cover the entire city.
Hayley and Diego’s Law and Elle’s Law were passed in 2010 to crack down on penalties for drivers injuring pedestrians and cyclists, but with only 19 officers to enforce the new laws only 46 summonses were issued in 2011, with most being dismissed because the violation was not observed by an officer.
Paul White, executive director Transportation Alternatives suggested a task force be formed to review the laws and budget to make the roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists.