The Manhattan District Attorney said New Yorkers’ chances of dying in car accidents are the same as being murdered by a knife or gun. He called the current prevalence of fatal car accidents an epidemic. The proposed law intends to hold anyone whose actions cause a fatal car accident — or one that causes severe injuries — criminally accountable. Current laws make it difficult to prosecute, or even charge drivers who are reckless and harmful.
The state senators sponsoring the new proposal say it would crack down on negligent drivers. Currently, reckless drivers avoid charges simply by remaining at the crash scene and being sober. However, the proposed bill will give law enforcement and prosecutors new offenses with which to charge dangerous drivers.
These offenses include potential misdemeanor charges for serious physical injury by vehicle, and death by vehicle. Furthermore, drivers with recent driving convictions, or those who caused an accident while exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph or more, could also face Class E felony charges. Convictions on such charges could include prison time of up to four years.
While the proposed law might make the streets in Manhattan and the rest of the state safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, sending a negligent driver to jail will not provide financial relief for the injured crash victims or the surviving family members of a deceased victim of a fatal car accident. Fortunately, an attorney with experience in dealing with personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits can help with the navigation of a civil lawsuit. Successfully presented claims can yield monetary judgments to cover documented financial losses.