NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (AP)

Last week’s horrific story about a Satmar couple, who were killed in a hit-and-run incident while en route to the hospital to deliver their son (who died the following day after being delivered), has helped spawn some changes to long-standing practices in New York traffic investigation procedure. While the new procedures have not been publicly announced, here’s some of what the changes will entail:

In the past, investigators from a specialized unit, the Accident Investigation Squad, were sent only when at least one victim had died or was deemed by first responders to be “likely to die.”

The new policy was outlined in a letter sent last week from the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, to the City Council. Under it, the department’s crash investigators will be summoned “when there has been a critical injury or when a Police Department duty captain believes the extent of the injuries and/or unique circumstances of a collision warrant such action,” Mr. Kelly wrote.

The NYPD will also stop using the term “accident” to describe car crashes and replace it with the term “collision,” a symbolic change that less absolves drivers of blame. Accordingly, the Accident Investigation Squad will be renamed the Collision Investigation Squad.

After Criticism, Police Change Policy and Begin Investigating More Traffic Crashes [NYT]