Despite NYC’s Vision Zero Progress, Most Hit-and-Run Drivers Avoid Arrest Or Being Caught

NEW YORK          NYC Crash Victims Say Too Many Hit-and-Run Drivers Get Away With It. Over 36,000 hit and runs in 2017 and Mayor de Blasio administration is not putting any focus on catching and prosecuting hit and run drivers.

Last month, New York City officials announced that 2017 saw the fewest pedestrian deaths since record-keeping started in 1910.

According to a statement released by the mayor’s office, pedestrian fatalities have dropped by 45 percent since 2013, the year before Vision Zero launched.

Projects like fixing Queens’ infamous ‘Boulevard of Death’ have contributed to their steep decline.

“Vision Zero is working,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The lower speed limit, increased enforcement and safer street designs are all building on each other to keep New Yorkers safe.”

But what the mayor’s numbers don’t show is that New York City has suffered from a hit-and-run epidemic for years, and the NYPD is struggling to keep up.

In the past five years, the number of hit-and-runs in New York City has increased 26 percent, from roughly 36,000 incidents in 2013 to 46,000 in 2017, according to NYPD data.

Most of those crashes involve damage to property, not people. But in 2017, more than 5,000 hit-and-runs resulted in injury, a 14 percent increase since 2013. At least one person was killed in a hit-and-run crash each week in 2017, according to figures cited by the New York City Council.

But even more surprising is how few of these crashes result in arrest.

Overall, police are only making arrests in about 1 percent of all hit-and-run crashes each year, a rate that has not budged since 2013. Summonses are issued in some of the cases involving only property damage, but still only in about 1 percent of such cases.

Last year, only 9 percent of hit-and-run drivers who injured someone in New York City were arrested, according to NYPD data.

Even in the most serious cases, the majority of hit-and-run drivers see no consequences. In 2017, only 24 of the 62 hit-and-runs that resulted in critical injury or death led to arrest.

The City Council took note last year by introducing an alert system that notifies residents of hit-and-runs via phone, radio, and television broadcasts. The system’s goal is to facilitate police arrests by immediately involving the community in a search.

But the problem runs much deeper than just catching drivers on the run.

Advocates say that, over the years, insufficient investigative resources, a toxic culture of victim-blaming, and a loophole in state traffic law have allowed hit-and-run drivers to slip through the cracks.

Treading water

The problem begins with the Collision Investigation Squad (CIS), a unit of the NYPD’s Highway Division that specializes in crash investigations.

In 2013, the NYPD revamped the CIS, boosting it with ten additional detectives and high-tech tools. The reform came after City Councilmembers criticized the unit’s handling of two deadly crashes in Brooklyn in 2011, one of which was a hit-and-run.

Read more of this scathing report:

In 2014 Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was approached after a Vision Zero meeting and asked about his thoughts on the hit and runs plaguing NYC. it is clear the Eric Adams cares about the safety of all New Yorkers and frustrated that nothing was getting done on the legislative side to toughen up laws on drivers that flee the scene of a collision.

In January of 2018 a pedestrian was crossing the street in Boro Park and was hit and nearly killed by a hit and run driver. The license plate was clear as day and the NYPD has not made an arrest in the case. Read more:

I have covered hundreds of hit and runs over the years and there is no serious push for stronger legislation or to catch and prosecute hit and run drivers. There is no incentive for drivers to stay on scene. The majority of drivers that leave the scene of a collision is due to DUI, no license, outstanding warrant etc.    Just like solving and preventing school shootings, the politicians are all talk but no action. New Yorkers are sick and tired of hit and run drivers. What will it take for something to change? Only time will tell.


  1. The Post says the semi truck driver hit a woman and killed her dog in the crosswalk at West 57th Street and Ninth Ave? I could nitpick all day whether that’s UWS, Hell’s Kitchen or Midtown but not UES, surely. Hope the bloodshed by an innocent pet compels NYPD and DOT to do an even better job than they do when it’s everyday pedestrians and cyclists I notice NYPD didn’t even mention whether the dog was wearing a helmet.


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