NYPD Pushed to Investigate Car Accidents, Even When Nobody Dies

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Members of the City Council stood on the steps of City Hall Wednesday to denounce what they believe is an egregious failing of the NYPD — a severely understaffed Accident Investigation Squad that hasn't investigated many serious accidents, and has let drivers walk without charges after crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists. The Observer reports that councilmembers David Greenfield, Steve Levin, and Brad Lander, all of Brooklyn, were among the group calling on Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly Wednesday with policy proposals that would boost staffing in the Accident Investigation Squad and change the standard triggering an investigation. Levin wants all serious accidents get attention, not only crashes where a victim dies or is deemed likely to die, which is current custom.

Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield offered this disturbing summary of the way the city currently handles traffic accidents and investigations:

It’s actually a perverse system. In the city of New York, what we’re telling you is you can be a reckless driver, you can be a drunk driver, you can be an unlicensed driver, you can mow people over and nothing is going to happen to you. The reason is, we don’t have the proper people power to handle it. At some times in the night, in the entire city of New York of eight and a half million people, you have one officer on for the entire city who is in charge of doing these kinds of investigations. God forbid you should have two serious accidents.