Left to right: DA candidates Darcel Clark and Robert Siano, from the Bronx, Michael McMahon and Joan Illuzzi, from Staten Island, and Queens DA Richard Brown. Only Siano and McMahon responded to TA’s traffic safety questionnaire.
New York City district attorneys are integral to street safety. Ideally, in addition to ensuring that victims see justice, district attorneys can deter dangerous driving by holding people accountable for committing acts of traffic violence.
But even after the advent of Vision Zero, traffic crime and its victims are not a priority for city DAs. Unless a motorist is impaired, fleeing police, or leaves the scene of a crash, odds are he won’t be prosecuted for harming someone. Families for Safe Streets has succeeded in forging relationships with some DA offices, but prosecutions of sober drivers who injure and kill people remain relatively rare.
City DAs don’t leave office very often, but this year there are races for open seats in two boroughs: the Bronx and Staten Island. Transportation Alternatives sent questionnaires to DA candidates, on topics including the role of district attorneys in reducing traffic violence, participation in the city’s Vision Zero Task Force, state legislative reforms, traffic law enforcement, and candidate philosophies on the prosecution and prevention of vehicular crime.
“In the era of Vision Zero, the City’s public prosecutors have a bigger role than ever to play in keeping New Yorkers safe on our streets,” said Paul Steely White, TA executive director, in a press release. “We need every elected official at the table if we’re going to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries, and that means we need every voter to be informed about the street safety issues that are of critical importance across the five boroughs.”
TA questionnaires went to Democrat Darcel Clark and Republican Robert Siano in the Bronx, Democrat Michael McMahon and Republican Joan Illuzzi in Staten Island, and Queens incumbent Richard Brown, who is running unopposed. Siano and McMahon provided answers to the TA questionnaire. Clark, Illuzzi, and Brown did not.
Read Siano’s and McMahon’s responses here. Election Day is next Tuesday, November 3.