In a recent blog post, we discussed the significant number of hit-and-run traffic accidents that occur annually in New York City. We also discussed how the vast majority of these accidents are never even investigated, leaving victims with little hope of ever bringing the drivers who left them to suffer to justice.
Yesterday, members of the City Council passed a law that increased the amount of fines that, if found, hit-and-run drivers will be forced to pay. The newly enforced fines range from $250 up to $15,000 in cases where a driver's actions result in the death of a pedestrian. City officials are hopeful that the increased fines will reduce the number of drivers who flee accident scenes.
In just the last two months, "more than a dozen pedestrians have died," after being hit by motorists. Some of these fatalities stemmed from hit-and-run accidents, the most recent of which occurred just last week and resulted in the death of a 17-year-old boy. Police are still investigating this fatal hit-and-run accident and have released images that were captured via a traffic camera that show a man who was a passenger in the vehicle that killed the teen.
In response to learning about the New York Police Department's shameful investigation rate of hit-and-run accidents, the newly passed piece of legislation also calls upon law enforcement officers to "compile more data on hit-and-run crashes." City Council members hope that this new requirement will lead to more hit-and-run cases being solved. If this is the case, more accident victims and their families will be able to take legal action against these negligent drivers.
Source: CBS New York, "City Council Approves Legislation Increasing Penalties In Hit-And-Run Crashes," Ovidio Jaramillo, Dec. 17, 2015
CBS New York, "City Council Transportation Committee To Vote On Stricter Hit-And-Run Penalties," Ilana Gold, Dec. 15, 2015