Almost 40,000 drivers fled traffic crashes in New York City this year: Police officials

An NYPD patrol car is seen in this undated photo.
An NYPD patrol car is seen in this undated photo. Photo Credit: Chris Gierlich

There have been almost 40,000 hit-and-runs this year citywide, police officials said Wednesday during a City Council hearing.

About 4,000 people were hurt in the crashes, while the rest damaged property and did not cause injuries. The Collision Investigation Squad investigated 48 of the cases, those involving a death or a critical injury, according to Inspector Dennis Fulton.

The data came from his testimony in a hearing on new legislation introduced by Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, which would increase civil penalties for repeat hit-and-run drivers, who have fled from several crashes.

The councilman described one truck driver who took off from three collisions and killed two people.

“While most hit-and-run drivers are not repeat offenders, some are,” said Van Bramer.

Safe streets advocates who testified during the hearing following the NYPD were angered that the squad, which has specialized training and tools to probe crashes, did not take on more cases this year.

“4,000 of the crashes resulted in injury or death,” said Paul Steely White, who heads the group Transportation Alternatives, in a statement. “Only 1% of those 4,000 incidents have been investigated by the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad.”

Steve Vaccaro, a lawyer who represents crash victims, testified during the hearing that it can be difficult for victims to have the police investigate when drivers take off.

“Until this problem is rectified, it will not matter what penalties are on the books for hit-and-run drivers,” he said.

The DOT also said during the hearing on a different traffic safety bill that it would not back the creation of a bicycle safety task force, and said it would divert its resources from safety and public education campaigns.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who supports the proposed task force, said her office receives daily complaints from seniors about reckless cyclists.