A first-of-its-kind report from New York City’s CRASH database – launched to track collisions involving government agency vehicles — reveals some surprising as well as expected findings. And experts say the figures are astonishing.
Government vehicles involved in accidents across all city agencies, except the New York Police Department, totaled 5,605 in 2014, the most recent complete year of figures collected. This equates to 5% of all vehicle-related accidents in New York City and the surrounding boroughs.
If NYPD vehicle crashes were included, that figure is expected to double taking the total to 10% of all crashes. According to City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the NYPD consistently tops the agency charts for pedestrian-related personal injury claims, though this data is currently an estimate only as the NYPD has yet to report figures, withholding their numbers from the CRASH database.
Some experts say that 10% is still a significant underestimation if Metropolitan Transportation Authority collisions were to be included. While not considered a city government agency, it is heavily tax-dollar funded.
“Our personal experience in handling hundreds of vehicular and pedestrian crash cases over the years, Jay W. Dankner, senior partner at Dankner Milstein , a top Madison Avenue law firm, said, “reveals that the MTA and the NYCTA are involved in an unusually high percentage of non-private vehicular accidents. We were also surprised to see that such municipal agencies as the NYPD, NYFD and DOS are often more highly proportionately involved in such incidents than private individuals.
“Perhaps,” he added, “more frequent safety training and penalties within the agencies are necessary to change these statistics.”
NYPD and MTA aside, which agency’s drivers crashed the most?
The Department of Sanitation (DSNY), with a staggering 51% of all agency collisions at just shy of 2,500 crashes.
This may not be surprising as the DSNY owns and operates a variety of heavy-equipment vehicles including garbage trucks and snow ploughs. It is also not surprising that overall combined agency collisions involved same-direction sideswipes (2,789), with rear ending coming in second (1,040). Head-on collisions ranked third at 531. The good news is that sideswipes rarely resulted in personal injury or fatality.
But assume that road conditions and weather play a major role in government vehicle collisions – and you’d be wrong.
Only 26 accidents occurred on slushy streets, 735 on snow-covered and iced roadway surface conditions, and 748 on slick, wet road. Shockingly, 5 times more crashes occurred when surfaces were dry.
Weather wise, you may be similarly surprised. Compared to 397 collisions in snow and 509 in the rain, and incredible 4,030 collisions occurred in clear weather.
Bad agency vehicle drivers? You make the call.
Despite the large numbers of agency vehicle collisions, those resulting in injuries and fatalities can be interpreted as comparatively low. Of the total 5,605 city government vehicle crashes, 378 resulted in personal injuries, and there were only seven deaths.
The CRASH database started collecting data from October 2013, pulling information from the standard DMV crash report form – including crash location, date and time, vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists involved, and resulting injuries and deaths. In continuing government efforts to make New York City streets safer for drivers and pedestrians, the City’s Fleet Management plans to continue enhancing data collection and future reporting to keep vehicle accidents trending down.
If you think you have been the victim of motor vehicle driver negligence, you should contact one of our Midtown Manhattan lawyers at Dankner Milstein for a free consultation at 212-751-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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