In recent years, New York City has seen a steady and alarming increase in traffic-related fatalities. In 2021, the city saw over 50,000 traffic-related injuries and 273 traffic fatalities, marking a record high in fatalities since the Vision Zero NYC legislation was launched in 2014. Traditional legal system responses to driving-related incidents such as fines or incarceration not only fail to address the root problems but also frequently result in increased socioeconomic and racial disparities.
Circles for Safe Streets, a pilot project of the Center for Court Innovation in partnership with Families for Safe Streets, provides a restorative justice response to vehicular crimes resulting in serious injury or death. The program builds on the Center’s work in both Driver Accountability and Restorative Justice, offering an avenue to support both victims and drivers.
The Driver Accountability Program is available to individuals who are charged with driving related offenses in criminal court. It serves as an alternative to fines or jail, or as a pre-condition of dismissal or reduction in charges for vehicular offenses such as reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license, and failure to yield to a pedestrian.