Will More Traffic Cops Make Philly’s Roads Safer?

May 6, 2019

Anyone driving in downtown Philly knows that traffic and congestion is horrendous.  Not only is there more gridlock, but we’re seeing more crashes. Last year, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia reported 103 traffic fatalities —including eight children. Despite these problems, a count of police citations shows that enforcement of traffic law has been declining in recent years.

Solving traffic issues is not easy, but there may be help for Philly’s roads if the City Council votes to pass a package proposed by Council President Darrell Clarke. He suggests amending the City Charter to establish a new class of employee within the civil service system: Public Safety Enforcement Officers (PSEOs) to enforce traffic laws. If Clarke can get two-thirds of council members to support his proposals, voters will decide whether to amend the Home Rule Charter and establish PSEOs in the May 2019 primary election.

Car crashes in Philadelphia and other areas of Pennsylvania cause major damage to life and property. According to AAA, the average cost of an injury crash in the United States in 2009 was more than $125,000, while the average cost of a fatal accident was closer to $6 million.  Add to this the devastating effect on people’s lives from serious injuries that can maim, disfigure, and cause pain and suffering that may last a lifetime, and it is no wonder that victims of car crashes seek compensation. If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s important to seek guidance from a skilled Philadelphia car accident attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash in Pennsylvania, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  If another party’s negligence was involved, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, pain and suffering, and loss of life’s enjoyment. However, your case must be handled correctly, or you may never collect the compensation you deserve.

The skilled and experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Wapner Newman are committed to giving your crash case individual attention. Our personal injury lawyers can provide you with dependable guidance, a listening ear, and strong legal strategies. We have helped hundreds of clients through the years secure the compensation they are entitled to through our thorough and creative investigative legal solutions.

Please contact Wapner Newman today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers to see how we can help.

What the Proposal Would Do

PSEOs would be a new class of employees who provide assistance to the city’s regular police force. They would patrol Philly streets, looking for Vision Zero infractions and traffic issues, help out with special events and enforce non-criminal code violations, such as littering, graffiti, and vandalism. They would not carry firearms or have the authority to arrest anyone, but they would help free the regular police force to handle serious crime.

Pros and Cons

The proposal has support from the Mayor’s Office, the Police Department, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the Center City District.

Those in favor argue that …

  • PSEOs increase enforcement without diverting police resources away from serious crime.
  • Costs would be cheaper than hiring more police officers, according to Clarke, who estimates that 100 officers would be needed.

However, the union representing Philly’s regular police force, FOP Lodge 5, opposes the measure, claiming it conflicts with a Pennsylvania statute reserving traffic enforcement powers for state and local police. Harrisburg might need to get involved to allow Philadelphia to create the new force.

Another worry is that no specific training program has been laid out and that there would have to be racial-bias training to ensure minority residents aren’t disproportionately targeted.

In addition, so far there is no estimate of what costs would be to taxpayers.

Drivers Must be Responsible

A car accident in Philly due to traffic and congestion can cause major damages to your property and your life. Everyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is required to drive responsibly and practice safe driving habits. When drivers devote their attention to anything other than the road, they must be held responsible for any injuries they cause.

If you or a loved one was involved in a vehicle crash that was caused by someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to seek damages in a lawsuit that will hold the responsible party accountable for both economic and no-economic damages.

It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible as Pennsylvania car crash laws are complicated, evidence can disappear quickly and insurance companies will attempt to get you to accept the lowest settlement possible. In addition, Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations of two years after the accident for filing a personal injury or property damage lawsuit.

Contact Us for Help and Guidance

The seasoned and compassionate Pennsylvania personal attorneys at Wapner Newman offer a free consultation to examine the facts of any vehicle crash that caused damages. Our unique legal approach helps ensure that no stone is left unturned as we investigate and document every detail relating to your claim and do everything possible to get you the settlement you deserve.

Contact us online or call our offices today for your free consultation.