NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Every two hours in New York City, someone is killed or seriously injured when hit by a car or truck.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported exclusively Friday, the city is trying to educate municipal drivers using a video with stories of pedestrians mowed down in crosswalks, hit-and-run accidents, and a bicyclist killed by a truck. It amounts to a “Scared Straight” program for motorists.
The video had a profound impact on city cab drivers who watched it Friday.
In the film is heart-rending to hear Amy Liao talk about the day her 3-year-old daughter, Allison, was fatally struck in a crosswalk in Flushing, Queens.
“They were pumping her blood for half an hour, but it wouldn’t start, and they gave her blood, but it wouldn’t start,” Liao said. “I remember holding her arms, and I said, ‘Take my blood,’ but they said it wouldn’t work.”
Amy and Psi-Pei Liao were among five families sharing the anguish of losing a loved one for a new training video for city drivers, titled, “Drive Like Your Family Lives Here.”
The film will be shown to more than 200,000 people who drive for a living – including Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus drivers, city cab drivers, employees of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and members of the NYPD and FDNY.
Mary Beth Tully’s husband, Carl Henry Nacht, was hit and killed by an NYPD tow truck while riding a bicycle along the West Side Greenway. He had the green light at the time.
“It threw him into another tow truck that was parked there,” Tully said. “And I threw my bike to the ground. I ran over to him. And he was trying to get up, but couldn’t.”
CBS2’s Kramer watched the film with a group of cabbies, who said it will change how they drive.
“As I was watching this film, I was reflecting on my past experiences driving. I got a lot of pressure from passengers wanting me to do a lot of speeding,” said cab driver Gowan Tulloth of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. “I do have the right to refuse.”
“I can’t imagine losing a loved one like that,” said cabbie Jesse Delacruz of Corona, Queens. “You know, hopefully, everybody that goes behind the wheel drives safely.”
The Taxi and Limousine Commission developed the emotionally powerful film. Commissioner Meera Joshi said it is a movie with a message.
“It will make them think twice about the responsibilities of their job,” Joshi said. “It’s not just getting from one place to another, but it’s getting there safely.”
And those who appear in the video had a harrowing reminder of what happens when safety is not considered.
“Losing a child that suddenly as Allison left us – it’s like always something missing,” Liao said.
City officials hope the film helps reduce the very grim statistics – more than 4,000 New Yorkers injured, over 250 killed each year in traffic accidents.
Transportation advocates hope to get the state Department of Motor Vehicles to integrate the film into driver training courses.