AMBER Alert highway sign alerting motorists to a suspected child abduction in Northern California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hit-and-run accidents are a major problem in California and nationwide, and oftentimes tips from the public help authorities apprehend the drivers who cause them. Now one lawmaker representing Los Angeles-a city notorious for hit-and-run crashes-is proposing to use the statewide Emergency Alert System to keep the public informed about when and where these accidents occur and the vehicles involved in them.
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.