Winter 2001, p.11

Sober Drivers Killing - NY Post Gets It Right

Mourning another victim of a sober killer driver.Late last year, NYC media outlets touted a "staggering" increase in drunk driving deaths in NYC. Mayor Giuliani responded by vowing to crack down on drunk drivers, and Governor Pataki promised to tighten DUI penalties. A closer look at the numbers revealed that all of the hoopla was about an increase of 4 deaths, from 23 in 1999 to 27 in 2000. While it is always tragic when people are killed, these numbers pale in comparison to the 183 pedestrians and 35 bicyclists killed by automobile in NYC in 1999.

Transportation Alternatives responded to the media misfire by pointing out that only 7% of traffic fatalities in NYC are alcohol-related. Sober drivers mow hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclists down each year and almost all of these drivers walk away with nothing worse than a fine. Fortunately, the New York Post picked up on what T.A. has been saying for years.

In an incisive article and editorial, the Post detailed the New York 'who cares?' attitude towards murderous motorists. The editorial called on the state to reverse the 1956 "Rule of Two" court ruling. This rule, which says that prosecutors have to show at least two traffic violations to prove a motorist's reckless intent, makes it extremely difficult to prosecute murderous motorists. T.A. will continue to fight for aggressive and appropriate prosecutions for motorists who kill, and to ensure that concern over drunken driving does not obscure the greater problem of weak laws and permissive public attitudes to killer drivers.