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DA Candidate Cy Vance Outlines Traffic Safety Platform

11:30 AM EDT on August 25, 2009

Cy Vance has become the second contender for Manhattan district attorney to release a campaign plank on traffic crime.

vancemug.jpgCy Vance, Jr. Photo: Brad Aaron

Vance's proposals, detailed on his campaign web site, are impressively broad in scope. On the legislative front, Vance says he would advocate for graduated penalties for repeat traffic offenders and increased penalties for traffic deaths and assaults where drugs and alcohol are not present.

Regarding the "Rule of Two" -- a precedent that, when adhered to, requires a driver be suspected of two simultaneous offenses in order to be considered negligent, Vance says: "It is indisputable that it does not take two violations to kill
someone. Many violations -- speeding, running a red light, or failing
to stop at a stop sign are more than dangerous enough to take a life." If elected, Vance promises to crack down on violations such as speeding, bringing tougher sanctions against first-time violators to discourage future offenses. As another preventative measure, Vance says he would work with police to reduce crashes at high-risk intersections and other areas.

Good stuff, but for many of these initiatives to come to fruition, law enforcers must begin treating crash sites as potential crime scenes. On that score, based from a beefed-up vehicular crimes unit, Vance says he would equip specialists in his office with thorough training in relevant state law and incident analysis, and that these prosecutors would interact closely with NYPD:

Death by vehicle requires stringent, serious, and methodical on-siteinvestigations by the NYPD and prosecutors. Assistant DistrictAttorneys must work cooperatively with the NYPD and both must be fullytrained in forensic accident reconstruction. My ultimate goal remains disciplined and sophisticatedcase-by-case assessments of vehicular crimes.

Vance joins Richard Aborn in formally committing to major improvements in how the DA's office approaches dangerous driving. (Like Aborn and Vance, Leslie Crocker Snyder has also pledged to take traffic crime seriously, though to our knowledge she has not made the issue a part of her platform.) These steps would represent nothing less than a sea change from the culture established by DA Robert Morgenthau, whose office continues to neglect and harass victims of vehicular violence.

Vance, Aborn and Snyder are all Democrats. With no Republicans in the race, voters will select the next Manhattan district attorney in the September 15 primary.

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