Amid a weeklong stretch of near-daily traffic fatalities, Queens City Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers wants the city to start offering a $1,000 award for providing information on a hit-and-run driver who leaves the scene of a serious injury or death.
A new bill she introduced to the council last week, co-sponsored by Democrats and Republicans, would allow the mayor to offer the money to anyone who helps apprehend, prosecute, or convict these dangerous drivers.
“We need to explore all available options to reduce traffic deaths,” Brooks-Powers said in a statement. “In particular, we need to focus on discouraging hit-and-runs, which allow perpetrators to avoid the consequences of their actions, and make all New Yorkers feel unsafe on their streets. A reward will encourage people to pay attention and speak up, alongside other deterrence and enforcement measures.”
The Queens councilwoman and her co-sponsors — Council members Mercedes Narcisse, Farah Louis, Inna Vernikov, and Rita Joseph — all saw traffic fatalities in their districts, according to Brooks-Powers.
The move comes amid a string of fatal collisions, including at least eight between Tuesday and Friday of last week, the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives said Friday afternoon. By Friday night, a 38-year-old was fatally struck in Astoria a block from her home, according to police.
On Saturday night, a 76-year-old man was killed in a collision while driving through a Bronx parking lot on his mobility scooter, police said. On Sunday morning, they reported a woman was hit by a truck in South Jamaica and taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition.
Traffic fatalities through March were at their highest level since 2014, according to a Transportation Alternatives report. The first three months of the year saw 59 people killed in crashes, a 44% increase compared to 2021. In an effort to combat the surge, the city launched an ad campaing last week to discourage speeding and dangerous driving.