With a seemingly uncontrolled rash of auto accident incidents in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles City Council has voted to stand behind tougher penalties for drivers who flee the scene after a collision.
Related to this, the council has additionally directed the Los Angeles Police Department to improve the manner in which it tracks hit-and-run crashes. The vote, known as AB 184, which the council passed, extends the statute of limitations on hit-and-run crashes that result in fatalities or severe injuries.
The council members took additional steps to support state legislation which would allow a hit-and-run conviction to be regarded with the same legal implication as a drunk driving conviction once the penalty phase is handed down. A commander with the Los Angeles Police Department stated that some drunk drivers flee the scene of an accident simply because the penalties for a hit-and-run are less severe than they are for drunk driving.
LAPD statistics show that the city of Los Angeles this year has recorded more than 14,000 hit-and-run incidents, which is up 3 percent from last year.
LAPD went on to state that between 2008 and 2012, 83 percent of hit-and-run accidents involved damage to property, with less than 8 percent of those crashes resulting in injuries. Even so, hit-and-run incidents led to more fatalities and serious injuries than drunk driving crashes.
In the vote, the council instructed the LAPD to track the amount of crash investigations it completes, and turn those findings over to the City Attorney's or District Attorney's office.
Even with higher fines, stronger penalties or and longer jail time, this still does not protect someone from the possibility that he or she may be involved in a hit-and-run incident. Protect yourself with the proper legal representation if you or a loved one are the victim of a hit-and-run.
89.3 KPCC, "L.A. City Council supports tougher penalties for hit-and-run drivers" Alice Walton, Sep. 17, 2013