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Friday
Feb172012

Whoops-a-Daisy

Whoops-a-Daisy is an expression heard more often in the UK than in America, where like most of the English language, it has been abbreviated to “Whoops” or even further to “Oops.

Recently when Republican Presidential Candidate, Rick Perry couldn’t remember the third government agency he would abolish if he were president, he offered up “Oops” instead.

The saying apparently dates all the way back to the early 1700s and it is thought the original saying was Ups-a-Daisy, exclaimed as you picked up a child who had fallen down. The whole purpose was to let the child know that it was no big deal; it was okay, the child was safe. Even today oops means, “Sorry I screwed up, no big deal.”

This morning I read an article on Gothamist titled: “Here’s why drivers get away with murder in NYC.” It was a report on a meeting the New York City Council had with the NYPD. It appears that more New Yorkers are killed by motor vehicles than are murdered by guns.

It struck me that when it comes to deaths on our streets and highways there is a Whoops-a-Daisy attitude; sorry someone made a mistake and someone died, oops, no big deal.

Thank God that the NYC Council is at least addressing the issue. Councilmember James Vacca, kicked off the hearing by declaring,

"We don't accept gun violence as a way to die, and we shouldn't accept traffic deaths either."

Can we have a loud Amen to that?

If someone is murdered by gun or any other means; the person responsible is hunted down, prosecuted, and in most cases goes to prison for life.

Last year in NYC 241 pedestrians or cyclists were killed by drivers. Only 17 of the drivers responsible faced criminal charges. That means that the other 224 deaths were given a “Whoops-a-Daisy.”

When asked how many criminal charges were filed against drivers in non-fatal accidents, the NYPD reps said they were not aware of any.

It appears only fatal “Accidents” are investigated in NYC; if you end up spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair, you didn’t die, so no investigation or consequences for the driver responsible.

Back in 2009, an unoccupied delivery van left idling on East Broadway in Chinatown jumped a curb and killed two preschoolers as their class was coming back from a field trip. 17 people were injured in the incident, which was deemed an accident. The driver was not charged or even issued a ticket, sparking enormous outrage and rallies demanding a new law that would criminalize such carelessness.

Called Hayley and Diego's Law, it's named after 4-year-old Hayley Ng (Picture right.) and her 3-year-old classmate Diego Martinez.

Sponsored by Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and Senator Daniel Squadron, the law was intended to close a loophole in that allowed a driver who had caused injury or death to avoid punishment.

Under the amendment, "drivers who act in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger a pedestrian or cyclist thereby causing physical injury or death shall be guilty of a traffic infraction.

That was back in 2009, and the deaths of these two children is now a distant memory, and the outrage of the time has died down. So what happened to this law that was supposed to protect vulnerable road users like the 224 deaths last year that were not prosecuted?

The NYPD says judges have repeatedly thrown out these charges on the grounds that an officer has to personally witness the accident in order to file the charge. And because traffic court judges have been throwing out "careless driving" tickets, the NYPD says they've instructed patrolmen not to issue them.

What a crazy fucked up world we are living in. Even when people try to do the right thing and pass laws to protect people, someone screws up and the law is rendered useless.

Sorry Hayley and Diego; Whoops-a-Daisy.

 

                         

Reader Comments (5)

Here in Iowa you are lucky if the driver even stops to say whoops a daisy.

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriowa

Hi Dave, The only way I see a change in NY or any other place is when it happens to a "Judge's" family member or any other Big Wig. Unfortunately this is how it works. Here in Los Angeles I know for a fact that someone must die in order to have a "Stop Sign" installed at an intersection. So It takes a death of a "Close Family Member" or "Friend" of the "Important Ones" in order for an action to happen. Our Mayor suffered a broken arm from a Taxi driver who pulled a "Right Hook" on him in a bike lane. Now we have a few more bike lanes.
It just goes to show you it's all about "Who" you know. It's all a bunch of BULLSHIT !!!!!!!

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Seeing the face of that beautiful girl lost and senselessness of her death just pisses me off. Sorry my first comment to your blog isn't more erudite...

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid in Maine

The NYPD says judges have repeatedly thrown out these charges on the grounds that an officer has to personally witness the accident in order to file the charge.

Interesting. I wonder if this is also true for a motorist who plows into another vehicle causing the vehicle hit to have to be towed where a policeman didn't personally witness the accident? Or, if a motorist creams a lamp pole/lane divider/ guardrail so hard the motorist's car has to be towed. Would all of those be tossed out of court as well if not witnessed by an officer? Seems like there are all manner of inanimate objects a motorist could hit for which they'd be cited. Why do I have the feeling that if a couple of automobile insurance companies are involved, the outcome might be somewhat different. Or, am I missing something?

February 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbystander

bang on. Here as well as getting away with murder the council tax payers have to fund the fire fighters etc. to clear up the mess; this should be picked up by the insurance companies. Perhaps the same happens over there? So much happens that does not make the news because it's the norm. At the same time as having share price updates, could we not have daily automobile-related deaths updates? I have had a car crash through into my front room while I was there and have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous driving every day on my bicycle, been doored once. I have a balanced outlook, a chip on each shoulder. (I also drive a car).

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpeter

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