Former NYPD Chief: It's Time to Take On Traffic Crashes

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 05:03 PM

Bill Bratton, speaking at an NYU/Transportation Alternatives panel (Kate Hinds)

A contender for New York's top police job says traffic fatalities can be decreased the same way homicides were.

Former Rudy Giuliani police commissioner William Bratton is credited with bringing the "broken windows" theory of policing to the city, which promoted aggressive policing of lower level crimes.

When he took office twenty years ago, there were nearly 2,000 homicides in New York City each year. Through September, the city had 242 homicides. Over that same period, traffic crashes killed 203 people. Bratton thinks the city can comparably reduce the number of traffic deaths because, he said, they're "more easily addressed than crime."

"It’s a matter of just directing resources onto this issue," he said. 

Speaking Tuesday at an NYU Rudin Center/Transportation Alternatives panel, provocatively entitled "Closing the Enforcement Gap to Save Lives on NYC Streets," Bratton said "the time for this issue has come."

He said the number of traffic crash fatalities is close to intersecting with homicide victims. "As traditional crime victims have declined," he said, "victims of traffic crime -- while also declining –- are now on par to equal almost the victims of violent crime."

His recipe for traffic death reduction: street redesign, interagency cooperation, technology, and political will. Not to mention transparency: Bratton said "there’s really no reason that TrafficStat" -- the legislation mandating a traffic safety reporting  -- "couldn’t be a meeting like can open it up to the public and move it around the city."

Bratton's remarks come on the heels of several high-profile pedestrian deaths -- and a growing call for a 20 mile-per-hour speed limit in New York City's residential neighborhoods.


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Comments [2]

Al Cinamon from Yonkers

It will take "street redesign, interagency cooperation, technology, and political will." I don't see anything about holding drivers responsible. Or is that part of the political will. Would politicians (who need votes) want to charge their constituents with murder for killing with a car or will that still be legal?

Jan. 03 2014 09:22 AM

Install cameras at intersections and give traffic police authority to ticket drivers, pedestrians and bikers who ignore them and/or traffic lights; some drivers ignore thee traffic police knowing they won't be ticketed. If I walk 10-15 blocks in Manhattan I can usually count as many cars that run lights and there are too many pedestrians ignoring the lights to count.

Nov. 20 2013 08:27 AM

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