At Wednesday’s New York City Council Stated Meeting, Councilmember Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn) introduced a package of bills to address the NYPD’s policies and procedures for accident investigations and traffic safety notification. During an oversight hearing on February 15, 2012, the Council heard testimony from the NYPD, as well as advocates and family members of victims of fatal and non-fatal traffic accidents, regarding the current policies of the NYPD in investigating traffic accidents.
It was revealed that only accidents that resulted in death were investigated and that investigations were done by a 19-member, citywide Accident Investigation Squad (AIS). Councilmember Levin’s bills aim to change the scope and the manner in which these investigations are conducted, as well as aim to provide other commonsense notifications to the public about the circumstances surrounding these tragic and often times preventable accidents.
“Today, far too many crashes that cause either serious injury or death are not being investigated and reckless drivers are not being held accountable for their actions,” said Councilmember Levin. “It is clear that something is terribly wrong when, time after time, I hear the same story from victims who will never get to see justice. This package of legislation will ensure that every crash is fully investigated and give the public access to important data.”
The five bills include:
* Resolution 1434 – A resolution calling on the Police Department to ensure that there are five officers assigned to each precinct who can investigate fatal and serious physical injury crashes. There are currently only 19 NYPD officers assigned these duties.
* Resolution 1435 – A resolution calling on the Police Department to follow State Law and investigate not just crashes that cause death, but those causing serious physical injury.
* Intro. 904 – A bill requiring the police to report whether a principle in a traffic crash was issued a violation for causing the crash, if a sobriety test was administered and whether it was investigated by AIS. The police would be required to maintain crash data reports for five years.
* Intro. 903 – A bill by requiring the police to publish their traffic safety plan and the contact information for the precinct’s traffic safety officer on each precinct’s website.
* Resolution 1436 – A resolution calling on the NYPD to revise the Department’s patrol guide to require officers to complete a crash report for all accidents involving motor vehicles regardless of whether there was vehicle contact.