NEW YORK – City administrators have been trying for some time to make streets safer for everyone using them. Last year, the New York Police Department investigated about 50,000 motor vehicle crashes involving over 130,000 vehicles resulting in nearly 70,000 injuries. The numbers are staggering.
A new report found that roughly 5 percent of all the cars and trucks involved in New York City accidents are actually operated by city agencies and departments. That’s just the “on-the-books” percentage. The number of agency-involved crashes is actually much higher since NYPD is withholding crash details from the city’s database.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer reported NYPD consistently tallies more pedestrian-related personal injury claims than any other city agency. So, if NYPD were included in city data, 10 percent (or more) of the city’s crashes could involve a public vehicle.
New York car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say these statistics can serve as a warning to anyone driving on city streets.
“It’s really a numbers game for drivers in New York,” car accident attorney Erica Tannenbaum said. “What we’re seeing here is the departments that are on the streets are also involved in more accidents.”
According to city data, the Department of Sanitation recorded nearly 2,500 crashes in 2014. The sanitation department not only operates typical cars and trucks; they also own a variety of heavy vehicles such as snowplows and garbage trucks.
“After a large snowfall, it’s not unheard of for a snowplow to sideswipe a buried car,” Tannenbaum said. “These vehicles are also working non-stop shifts in some of the worst weather and on some of the ugliest road conditions.”
In fact, most of the recorded crashes were sideswipe accidents but these rarely resulted in any injuries.
Surprisingly, city records show most of the injuries incurred as a result of a crash that happened on dry, clear days. The city also noted nearly half of all the crashes were preventable by the city driver.
However, that’s not all: 10 percent could still be an understatement. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, for example, is not considered a city department but it is heavily funded by taxpayer dollars.
“Bus accidents happen every day and, as we’ve seen recently, train accidents can be a concern as well and all these accidents can add up,” Tannenbaum said.
The new information is a first-of-its-kind report and the city’s Fleet Management plans to advance the reporting in the future to ensure the city continues its downward trend of vehicle accidents.