78th Precinct Targets Drivers Who Fail to Yield to Pedestrians

Last week, Police Commissioner Bratton said the 78th Precinct and its commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, made him “proud of PD” by clearing snow from the Bergen Street bike lane. Here’s something even better: The 78th has amped up enforcement against drivers committing one of the city’s deadliest traffic violations — failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Since last Thursday, according to Council Member Brad Lander, the precinct has issued 16 summonses in an operation involving a plainclothes officer in a crosswalk and a uniformed officer issuing tickets to drivers who fail to yield. It’s an effort the precinct says it’s looking to continue in the future.

“Drivers should know that the next pedestrian you fail to yield to may be an undercover cop,” Lander said in the release.

Failure to yield is an all-too-common violation at intersections across the city. In fact, 44 percent of injured New York pedestrians were in the crosswalk with the signal when they were struck, according to a study of Bellevue trauma patients by NYU Langone Medical Center. A citywide study in 2010 found that more pedestrians were struck while crossing with the traffic signal than against it, and that failure to yield was a cause of 27 percent of crashes that injured or killed pedestrians.

The 78th Precinct’s crosswalk enforcement seems to be a better model than how the 24th Precinct recently handled pedestrian safety. The 24th issued 10 jaywalking tickets at the intersection of 96th Street and Broadway after a rash of pedestrian fatalities in the area. This week, the 84-year-old man who was bloodied by NYPD officers after they stopped him for jaywalking has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the city.

Activist group Right of Way has launched a campaign encouraging New Yorkers to write to Commissioner Bratton, asking him have police ease up on jaywalking tickets and instead enforce the most dangerous violations, such as failure to yield.