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New York City district attorneys prosecute reckless drivers please!!

Families who have lost loved ones to fatal crashes in New York, rallied at City Hall on Sunday to demand that New York City’s district attorneys prosecute reckless drivers.

Grieving families and victims stepped gathered in a heart wrenching union, up to the microphone one-by-one clutching photos of their loved ones.  Families  and victims held up signs declaring “No Charges Filed.”

Four young boys stood at the front of the crowd, holding a map displaying the traffic deaths in NYC from 2005 to 2013—a total of 2,566.

Hit-and-run victims remembered

Vision Zero activists rally at City Hall to demand DAs prosecute criminal drivers.

Amy Cohen, a founding member of Families for Safe Streets, was the first to address the rally. “In 2013, 294 New Yorkers were killed in traffic. My son, 12-year-old Sammy, just shy of 13, was one of those 294.” Cohen’s voice wavered as she continued. “It is an incomprehensible loss. Each of those killed has a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, or a spouse. A family member who’s life will never be the same.”

According to data tracked by Streetsblog there have been 400 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in three years, only two cases led to a DA filing any homicide charges against drivers—motorists are rarely criminally charged if they fatally strike or injure someone and there’s not one or more aggravating factors involved (such as a hit-and-run, intentional hit, or intoxication.)

“It is not an accident when drivers make turns at full speed without even looking. It is not an accident when drivers speed through intersections and kill people,” Cohen said.

 hit-and-run, intentional hit, intoxication

Four young boys held a map displaying NYC traffic deaths from 2005 – 2013, totaling of 2,566.

The Victims

  • Sammy Cohen-Eckstein was struck by a van after he chased a soccer ball onto the road in Park Slope was hit on Prospect Park West.
  • Allison Liao crossing with her grandmother on Main Street in Flushing, was fatally struck by a car that was turning right on the green.
  • The driver failed to yield when making a left turn fataly striking Cooper Stock and shooting his father across West End Avenue.
  • A hit-and-run driver in a red  mini van, struck and  killed 14-year-old Mohammad Naiem Uddin, as he crossed E. Seventh St. at Caton Ave. in Kensington.
  • Friends of Ella Bandes, 23-years-old fataly struck by a bus on the intersection of Myrtle-Wyckoff on the border of Bushwick and Ridgewood. No charges were ever against the bus driver.
  • Lindsay Motlin, 28, from Manhattan, was struck by a speeding van at night in December 2013 on Grand Street in Brooklyn while standing on a street corner. It was a hit-and-run.  The driver was never found.  She had injured her shoulder, pelvis and leg.
  • Jeffrey Heller, 59, Manhattan resident, was cycling in Brooklyn when he was struck by an SUV in October 2014. He had suffered a broken Leg.
Hayley and Diego’s Law:

New law would make it easier to punish dangerous drivers; cops could issue penalties without witnessing accidents Safety advocates have long decried the loopholes in some of New York State’s existing traffic laws, especially in those intended to punish drivers who injure cyclists or pedestrians.

The law was passed after two young children, Hayley Ng, 4, and Diego Martinez, 3, were killed in 2009 in Chinatown when a delivery van that was left in reverse jumped the curb and hit them.

The law (VTL 1146) went into effect in 2010, and imposes the following penalties on drivers whose failure to exercise due care results in the injury or death of pedestrians or bicyclists:

– For the first offense, a fine of $750 or 15 days of jail time, participation in a driving training course, suspension or revocation of the driver’s license or registration, or any combination of these penalties.

– For the second offense, any of the above penalties, plus a misdemeanor charge. Current police policy, however, dictates that an officer cannot issue a violation unless the officer witnesses the crash, which limits the number of incidents in which police departments in New York City and elsewhere will charge a VTL 1146 violation.

The new bill (S3644), would amend Hayley and Diego’s Law and make the authority to enforce the law explicit, even if the officer was not present at the time of the crash, as long as the officer has reasonable cause to believe the violation was committed by the driver.

In March, a resolution was passed in support of the legislation giving law enforcement additional, vital tools to effectively crack down on careless driving – and send a strong message that a driver’s license is not a license for carelessness.

The legislation will make New Yorkers safer by enabling law enforcement to hold careless and distracted drivers accountable when they injure or kill pedestrians or cyclists.

The legislation will go a long way toward holding drivers accountable for careless behavior – carelessness that took the lives of Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez in the Chinatown neighborhood where the children were killed. – See more

Paul Ajlouny, New York car accident lawyer, offers his thoughts on prosecuting reckless drivers, “You never know what solution is going to be effective.  My theory is there should be a range of  laws that should be set in place to address an ever growing problem. Suspending an offending drivers license is at the top of the list.

Getting bad drivers off the road is the first step in my opinion.” says Mr. Ajlouny. “Of course I have high hopes that the recent initiative lowering the speed limit to 25 MPH, will make drivers more aware of pedestrians.”  concluded Mr. Ajlouny.

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