Will Peter Vallone Go Where James Vacca Fears to Tread?

Peter Vallone Jr.

The Village Voice reports that Peter Vallone, chair of the City Council’s public safety committee, is planning a hearing on traffic enforcement.

Responding to the Transportation Alternatives probe into how NYPD handles crash investigations, announced after a year that saw reckless motorists face little to no repercussions for taking lives, Vallone said, “They have some legitimate concerns. Clearly, more has to be done.”

Accepting Vallone’s statement at face value — that his committee will indeed focus on pedestrian and cyclist safety, rather than personal gripes — this is welcome news. Here are a few questions we’d like to see the Vallone committee ask the brass at NYPD:

  • Is the Accident Investigation Squad dispatched to all cases involving death or serious injury? If not, why not?
  • Why must victims’ families resort to the courts to obtain information pertaining to fatal crashes?
  • Why isn’t NYPD making use of new state laws intended to hold dangerous drivers accountable for injuring and killing vulnerable street users?
  • Does NYPD track rates of traffic violations, the same way it tracks other crime? If not, why not? If so, where is the data?

With mainstream media outlets picking up the story of Mathieu Lefevre’s family suing to get information from NYPD, and papers including the Voice questioning how so many deaths and injuries can go unpunished, might the council finally be ready to address the shortcomings of the city’s traffic justice system? We’ll see if Peter Vallone will pick up the slack for his colleague James Vacca.