AMBER Alert highway sign alerting motorists to a suspected child abduction in Northern California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Proposed by Assemblyman Mike Gatto earlier this month, Assembly Bill 47 calls for a ‘yellow alert’ system modeled after Amber Alerts. The hope is that when the public is promptly given descriptions of the vehicles involved in hit-and-run accidents, they can help authorities catch the drivers before they’re able to flee and hide evidence. This is not Gatto’s first attempt to alleviate the problem. A bill he introduced last fall that would extend the statute of limitations for hit-and-run offenses from three to six years will take effect this July.
In recent years, the incidence of hit-and-run accidents has been on the rise in California and throughout the nation despite an overall decline in motor vehicle collision fatalities, reported USA Today. The number of hit-and-run crashes resulting in deaths increased from 1,274 in 2009, to 1,393 in 2010, to 1,449 in 2011—13.7 percent over the three-year period. During that same time, traffic deaths fell 4.5 percent from 33,883 in 2009 to 32,367 in 2011.
Hit-and-run collisions have proven especially problematic in car-centric Los Angeles, where hit-and-run was a factor in 48 percent of accidents, compared to with 11 percent nationally, reported the LA Weekly in 2009. California Office of Traffic Safety crash data indicate that hit-and-run was a factor in 5,893 of the fatal and injury accidents that occurred in Los Angeles County in 2011. The agency ranked the county the 2nd worst in the state for hit-and-run.
Hopefully, Assembly Bill 47 will pass and, with more eyes on the lookout, hit-and-run drivers will find it increasingly challenging to avoid law enforcement.
What do you think? Could the yellow-alert system help alleviate the hit-and-run accident problem?
For more information on hit-and-run accidents and on the rights of victims of these types of collisions, feel free to call 888-752-7474 or contact us online.