Families for Safe Streets Calls on NYC’s District Attorneys to
Prosecute in Fatal Crashes

Families for Safe Streets
Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 2pm
City Hall steps

New York City’s district attorneys must prosecute drivers when their
reckless behavior causes death or serious injury, say members of
Families for Safe Streets, a group of New Yorkers who have lost loved
ones in traffic crashes. In a rally on the steps of City Hall Sunday
afternoon, the group will call on the City’s five district attorneys
to become partners in the Vision Zero effort to eliminate traffic
fatalities and serious injuries.

“Why is it that if you kill someone while driving drunk, the district
attorney will press charges, but not if you kill or maim someone
through reckless behavior on the road,” asks Families for Safe Streets
founding member Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son Sammy Cohen Eckstein
was struck and killed by a driver in 2013. “Crashes caused by aggressive driving
are not accidents. When drivers make turns at full speed without even
looking, or speed through intersections and kill people, D.A.s never
press charges. We need to change the culture on our streets and make
it unacceptable to drive recklessly. We will never get to zero
fatalities and serious injuries unless we hold dangerous drivers
accountable for their actions.”

“Most New Yorkers don’t understand the reality that a driver can kill
or maim your loved one, and then get back in their car and drive off,
with no consequences,” says FSS founding member Dana Lerner, whose
9-year-old son Cooper Stock was killed last January when a cab driver
hit him in a crosswalk. “How can reckless drivers who kill innocent
people go free? D.A.s need to change the attitude that ‘accidents
happen’ and start bringing charges in connection with these crashes,
to keep dangerous drivers from destroying more lives.”

“District attorneys are the people’s prosecutors, and they must
champion public safety,” says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of
Transportation Alternatives. “The public needs more information about
how D.A.s determine whether to prosecute after serious crashes, and
how often they bring charges. We need City Council oversight hearings
on the role of D.A.s in the effort to reach Vision Zero, and we need
legislation similar to the NYPD TrafficStat law, which requires
regular public reporting from district attorneys about their cases.
The D.A.s in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island are seeking
re-election next year, and T.A. will press the issue of driver
accountability with all the candidates.”

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