Some residents joined advocates at a rally held outside One Police Plaza last Wednesday, November 30, with more than 2,650 letters to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly demanding that the NYPD enforce the traffic laws and hold dangerous drivers accountable.
“We are here on behalf of the hundreds killed and thousands injured by traffic violence every year to demand that Ray Kelly institute a zero tolerance policy for this carnage,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “It’s the NYPD’s job to keep dangerous driving in check by holding reckless drivers accountable, but they are simply not taking that job seriously.
“We are going to hold the NYPD to task on behalf of the victims of dangerous drivers by launching a comprehensive investigation of the department’s practices,” he added.
The rally comes after a recent accident in which a flatbed truck driver killed Williamsburg resident Mathieu Lefevre at the intersection of Morgan Avenue and Meserole Street.
The driver left the scene of the crime, parked the vehicle a few blocks away and wasn’t identified until several days later. A week later, the NYPD announced they would not file any charges against the driver.
According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles drivers breaking traffic laws cause the majority of fatal traffic crashes.
Between 2001 and 2010, 1,745 pedestrians and bicyclists have been killed in New York City traffic and 142,485 have been injured.
According to Transportation Alternatives, from 2000 to 2009, more people were killed in traffic than murdered by guns in New York City. And TA is asking the NYPD to take the accidents as serious as other preventable deaths and devote the necessary resources to save lives.
The group's investigation will closely review and evaluate the NYPD’s reports on scores of recent crashes that resulted in serious injuries or deaths. By focusing on the actions and conduct of the NYPD officers involved in the investigation, TA hopes its probe will uncover whether police investigators followed proper procedures.
Among those present at the rally was Erika Lefevre, the mother of Matheiu Lefevre.
“We appreciate that NYPD has a difficult job in trying to investigate this crash and determine what happened,” she said. “We want the NYPD to take the time it needs to conduct an unbiased, thorough, professional investigation, but the NYPD has caused us great pain with their mishandling and withholding of information, and their rush to clear the driver of any wrongdoing.”
And one accident victim, who was struck by a hit-and-run driver in November on Northern Boulevard in Queens, says she feels as if the NYPD is not doing its part to help track down the driver who hit her.
The NYPD did not issue a comment as of press time.