City Council Transportation Committee To Vote On New Hit-And-Run Alert System

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City Council committee will vote Wednesday on a new alert system to crack down on hit-and-run drivers.

The system would send out notifications to smartphones and billboards, similar to those issued during an AMBER Alert.

Lawmakers hope it will help speed-up the search for suspects.

The vote comes a day after a 34-year-old man was injured in a hit-and-run crash near Union Square. Police are still searching for the driver of a black SUV.

Less than a week ago, a 49-year-old man was struck and killed while crossing the street near the Williamsburg Bridge.

On Oct. 6, 82-year-old Olga Arrocho was hit and killed by the driver of a white cargo van who got out and ran away.

According to members of City Council, there is an average of one fatal hit-and-run each week.

On Wednesday, the Transportation Committee will vote on a bill to help solve these crimes.

“The next logical step is to use the AMBER Alert system that we use to find missing children and apply it to the hit and run situation,” Councilman Vincent Gentile said in February.

Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez helped develop the bill named after La Mega radio host DJ Jinx Paul who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Brooklyn in December 2016. A suspect in that case just surrendered to police last week.

The bill proposes that images of vehicles being sought in hit-and-run investigations would automatically be sent to cellphones in the area.

“It’s unacceptable that 90 percent of the people who commit hit and runs are walking away without being arrested,” Councilman Mark Levine said in February.

“We want to put an end to that we want to be sure more drivers are caught and more convictions are made in these cases,” Rodriguez said in February.

On the verge of passage by the City Council, details about the bill remain few and far between.

An AMBER Alert is loud, and has been described as ‘annoying.’

Rodriguez said he wouldn’t be bothered if he got one for a hit-and-run.

“All New Yorkers will have no issue, they wake up, help save a life or individual,” he said.

With undreds of incidents in each borough, will New Yorkers be getting hundreds of alerts?

“It would be irritating. I’d be upset and I would take the app off my phone if they do that,” Shelly James said.

Los Angeles rejected a similar plan to push alerts to smartphones.

Instead they decided to post information on message signs and social media.

Rodriguez said what triggers an alert and what it sounds or looks like will be worked out eventually.

“This is something that we will negotiate with the administration,” he said.

Bernadette Pietrefesa told CBS2’s Tony Aiello that she supports the bill.

“I was hit in Midtown Manhattan, dragged 50 feet, left for dead while the driver sped away,” she said.

Supporters of the bill are confident it will pass the entire City Council vote because it has already been enacted in other cities including San Francisco.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS New York

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
Get Our Morning Briefs
Bloomberg WCBS Tri-State Business Index

Watch & Listen LIVE