Liu: Increase NYPD Crash Investigation Staff Six-Fold

Buried in Comptroller John Liu’s “People’s Budget” proposal released last week (way below the part about bridge tolls that New Yorkers don’t have to pay) is an interesting proposal about NYPD’s crash investigation staffing.

Photo: ##http://comptroller.nyc.gov/comptroller/bio.shtm##NYC Comptroller##

With additional revenue, largely from income taxes and the bridge tolls for non-residents, Liu proposes increasing the staff level of the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad to 177, part of a broader plan to hire 5,000 more officers by 2017. From the proposal:

The lack of personnel to investigate traffic crashes is limiting the City’s ability to identify the causes of crashes and mitigate unsafe conditions, as well as defend itself from lawsuits. In FY 2011 there were 243 killed and 3,138 seriously injured in traffic crashes, but only 304 crashes were investigated by the NYPD. Traffic related claims against the City resulted in $105 million in liability payments and judgments by the City.

Last year, what was then known as the Accident Investigation Squad had a staff of 19. Commissioner Ray Kelly has increased the size of the squad by 50 percent, but the staffing is still far out of proportion to the number of serious crashes that occur each year.

While the comptroller has absolutely no power over NYPD staffing levels, Liu’s proposal puts the idea out there that the department can increase crash investigation resources to the point that all serious traffic injuries will be looked into by trained personnel.

“The fact that this Comptroller proposed increased funding for street safety — particularly in the area of crash investigations — should make it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that more needs to be done to protect New Yorkers from dangerous drivers,” said Transportation Alternatives in a statement.

Through a spokesperson, Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr., chair of the public safety committee, also expressed strong support for Liu’s proposal to increase the size of NYPD’s collision investigation staff.

  • Anonymous

    So he wants to keep the roads engineered to have them run people over and then throw them in jail?

    Streetsblog advocates for properly investigating crashes, punishing driver irresponsibility, AND making the roads safer (the last bit being a critical component).

  • Anonymous

    If John Liu fully supported complete streets initiatives, increased crash investigation staffing would be moot. You have to give the patient medicine before you call in the coroner!

  • This would be great if John Liu was to be taken seriously.

  • Anonymous

    I’d go with “were to be”: at this point the idea of taking Liu seriously represents a counterfactual extreme enough to warrant the subjunctive.

  • Joe R.

    A better phrase to describe his attitude would be “cut them in half with a machine gun and then give them a bandaid”. (from the movie Apocalypse Now). Preventing crashes in the first place makes more sense then everything else we do (or don’t do) after the fact.

  • Anonymous

    Come on ! Take the good wherever it comes from…. Liu is using his vantage point as comptroller to suggest reducing annual cost of $ 100 millions a year.

    This last number is a great gift to our goal. A hard number that is much more resonant with the administration and politicos than the suffering and soft $$$ we rely upon for our arguments.
    And yes it starts with investigation in order to figure what remedies should be applied: speed bump or split phase ?

    There is an existing law 11 that requires the DOT to investigate each fatal crash and provide a report to elected officials as to the recommended remedies within six months of the crash. I encourage all of you to contact your elected and ask for those reports related to fatalities .

  • VukanDeathGrip

    I’ll take it. It’s insane that NYPD doesn’t investigate all crashes already. It’s a good sign for Complete Streets that Liu is at least bringing these issues up. Maybe the other candidates will get on board too.

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