July 16th, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Charles Komanoff, 212 260 5237, firstname.lastname@example.org
Keegan Stephan, 907.244.6426, Keegan@rightofway.org
Right Of Way applauds the NYPD’s appointment of Inspector Michael Ameri to head its Highway Patrol Division, which includes the critically important Collision Investigation Squad.
Under Ameri’s command, the 78th Precinct (Park Slope in Brooklyn) has established itself as the most traffic safety-conscious precinct in the five boroughs. Policies such as cracking down on failure-to-yield turns, supervising and screening neighborhood crossing guards, and moving police cruisers out of the bike lanes have set his command apart from the NYPD’s systemic indifference to pedestrians, hostility to bicycle riders, and apathy about deterring and combating traffic crimes. As the new leader of the city’s Collision Investigation Squad, Inspector Ameri has now gained a singular opportunity to lead the NYPD into a new era of proactive street safety engagement — and in order to bring the city toward a safer future, Ameri’s first step must be to mandate that all CIS collision investigation reports be fully available to the public.
“The Collision Investigation Squad’s meticulous reconstructions of driver actions leading to traffic crashes are a treasure trove of information that can improve traffic safety,” said Right Of Way organizer and statistician Charles Komanoff, author of the 1999 book Killed By Automobile. “Yet none of it ever reaches the public, elected officials, advocates or health professionals.”
Collision investigation reports would inform and improve street engineering, traffic law enforcement, prosecution and adjudication, and public education. “The outcome will be fewer fatalities and grievous injuries, along with street environments that encourage and enable New Yorkers to engage in healthful active transportation,” said Keegan Stephan, another organizer with Right Of Way. “Sharing these investigation will allow the public to better understand the causes of fatal crashes and advocate for the best measures to prevent them.”
Right Of Way calls on Inspector Ameri and the NYPD to establish as policy that all collision investigation reports be henceforth made fully available to the public, to inform and improve street engineering, traffic law enforcement, adjudication, and public education.
Right Of Way also calls on Police Commissioner Bratton to establish as policy that the NYPD will henceforth access and analyze driver telephone and other digital device data in every fatal and serious-injury crash, along with vehicle “black box” (Event Data Recorder) information, and to ensure that these data are made part of every CIS report.
Finally, Right Of Way insists that the NYPD immediately cease the common practice by which precinct-level and other spokesmen declare “no criminality suspected” to media representatives immediately following fatal and serious-injury traffic crashes. Any statements on the presence or absence of criminal behavior in crash causation should be reserved until the CIS report has been completed and made available to the public.
“Having the Collision Investigation Squad headed by an NYPD veteran like Inspector Ameri who ‘gets it’ that dangerous drivers are perpetrators of violence – and that the pedestrians they kill and injure are victims of preventable crimes, not of accidents – is potentially a big step forward in keeping New Yorkers safe,” added Komanoff. “Everyone will benefit if the NYPD can turn the corner from traffic enabler to pedestrian protector.”