11 thoughts on “Despite NYC’s Vision Zero Progress, Most Hit-and-Run Drivers Avoid Arrest

  1. Thanks for this thoughtful, thorough, and well-researched story.

    Operating a motor vehicle – driving – is formally licensed and regulated. Informally, it’s regarded – by drivers, the mayor, the police, legislators, the governor, and district attorneys – as a right. When anything goes wrong, it’s never the driver’s responsibility; it’s always an “accident”.

    Do “accidents” happen? Sure, but the burden of proving a crash resulting in injury or death wasn’t the fault of the driver should be on the driver. If you don’t want that burden, don’t operate a motor vehicle. Operating a motor vehicle is a responsibility, not a right.

    What’s required: legislation eliminating any ambiguity that operating a motor vehicle safely is the responsibility of the driver. And safety is no accident.

    • I have a right to travel, move about, and if any distance is involved then the accepted viable means to travel is a motor vehicle. As long as any one has that right than I claim it for myself as well.

      Before dismissing “accidents” maybe we should do some research on some causes. Some real intense forensic research. Which is the causation of safety: lower speed, day time driving lights, less distraction, “better road design”? Have you ever wondered how much suicide is involved in road deaths. I knew someone who threw himself in front of a car. I also knew someone who was thrown in front of a car. Of course motor cyclists are really crazy. How do you count them?

      Are you aware that when it is noted that alcohol is involved in a pedestrian road fatality it is much more likely the pedestrian was “drunk”, not under the influence but “blind drunk”, and the driver was “stone cold sober”? I’ve never seen a pedestrian death on the road reported that way.

      Here in NYC the mantra of biking advocates would always be that when more people cycled the biker fatalities would naturally go down. Higher visibility. But in 2017 some 23 cyclist died in road collisions. In 2016 it was only 12. The purported number of active cyclist has grown some 85% in the last decade. I’ve only heard only one advocate claim this relationship was still true. I guess he was the one who hasn’t gotten the word. It does suggest a return to common sense rules of the road for even seasoned bikers is the real “low-hanging fruit” here. I myself take the safe driving refresher course every three years.

      When the number of road deaths drop, as it has consistently for many years, I think to myself that it must be drivers who have gotten the message and are putting into practice daily. Of course that me and I’m biased. But I’ve gotten myself a dash board camera to record just how many errant cyclists I let live by being cautious at intersections when they ignore the traffic controls and speed in front of my car. Mothers with strollers and talking on cell phones coming ignorantly off the curb into moving traffic(it is illegal) is another pet peeve but I’ve said enough to continue the discussion in a more informed way.

      • Are you aware that in the study about drunk pedestrians, the BAC level they used was 0.04%, not the same 0.08% that is considered drunk for drivers under the law?

        This is without even going to go into the argument of how irrational it is to make a moral comparison between a person walking after a few drinks to someone driving after a few drinks…

        CDC studies estimate that there are 112,000,000 incidents of drunk driving in the US each year.

        P.S. 0.08% is a LOT of booze. Which means it’s not illegal to drive drunk, it’s only illegal to drive VERY drunk.

  2. Last year while cycling I was intentionally hit by a speeding driver who chased me the wrong way up a one way street and accelerated at speed into the back of me. The cops had 5 witnesses at the scene who said it was intentional, and I was later told by an officer that the guy admitted to them that it was road rage, and that he “lost his mind.” Despite this, I found out recently that the DA is not pressing charges against him. So there you have it. The problem isn’t just with hit and runs. Even if you stay on the scene and admit everything, even if it was an act of intentional aggression (in my case, attempted murder), even if there were witnesses who were willing to give statements to the effect that it was an intentional act, they will still find a way to absolve the driver of any blame and let them get off scot free. Oh and I’ve been calling the DA’s office to ask for an explanation and they refuse to call me back. This guy probably has one of the NYPD’s “get out of jail free” cards handed to him by a relative. The system stinks to high heaven and has no place in this city, particularly in 2018.

  3. @redbike, as a biker, driver and pedestrian, I see merit in all three perspectives on this issue. All three groups include responsible and irresponsible individuals. While I understand and share your frustration, it’s senseless and unfair to override the “innocent until proven guilty” principle. Better enforcement of fair laws is the answer, and it’ll cost big bucks. You’re right that driving is a privilege, not a right. And since bikers, runners and walkers rarely if ever do something that injures a driver, it’s reasonable to make drivers pay higher registration fees to cover the cost of effective enforcement. And all taxpayers should pay a little more to fund the hiring of more police and traffic enforcement officers. We all lose when any one faction bears a burden we all should share.

  4. Thanks for this. I wonder how many hit-and-run incidents don’t make it into NYPD data. The SUV that hit me a few years ago sped off, but I caught the vanity plate. I wasn’t hurt badly, but the NYPD refused to file a report or follow up, even though I gave them the license plate, color, and make of the vehicle, minutes after the incident.

  5. They should make hit and runs a part of compstat and evaluate precincts on their ability to reduce their occurrence and catch perpetrators. Until they do this, NYPD will not view hit and runs as a crime.

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