Calif. bill calls for stricter penalties for hit-and-run-offenders

A California lawmaker's bill would automatically suspend a driver's license of a motorist involved in a hit-and-run.

The Los Angeles Police Department reports that 20,000 hit-and-run crashes happen annually in L.A. Four thousand of those crashes lead to injury or death.

Assem. Mike Gatto, D. Los Angeles, says the problem with the current law is that penalties are set based on how badly the victim is injured.

Right now, the penalty for hit and run accidents is based on how bad injuries end up being," Gatto said. "If you hit somebody and take off and that person ends up dying, there will be a different penalty than if you hit somebody and take off and that person just ends up with some scrapes or some broken bones. It shouldn't be like that. We should enforce drivers to stop, to do the right thing, and to make sure that person's OK."

Gatto's bill, AB 1532, would require a six-month suspension of a motorist's license when the driver flees the accident scene. Wednesday, the Assembly Public Safety Committee passed the legislation with a unanimous vote.

The bill must go through the Assembly and Senate to be passed into law.


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