The New York State Assembly has passed a bill that would increase penalties for leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it to authorities, according to the bill's sponsor, Assemb. Edward Hennessey.
“Just yesterday we read about another tragic hit-and-run incident; it seems like there’s one a week,” Hennessey, D-Medford, said in a statement Thursday. “Current penalties just aren’t strong enough. As DWI penalties increase and prosecutors are more aggressive on vehicular crimes, people are leaving the scene of accidents at epidemic rates.”
Hennessey said that last year in Suffolk County alone, there were over 5,500 hit-and-run accidents resulting in 11 fatalities.
Under this new legislation, the penalties would be increased for a driver found guilty in a hit-and-run accident that seriously injures or kills someone.
These increased penalties would apply in cases where the driver has certain prior driving convictions including leaving the scene of an accident and/or had his/her license suspended or revoked because of refusal to submit to a chemical test, or because of a DWI conviction. The violation would be raised from a Class D to a Class C felony, and the jail-time penalty would be increased from almost two and a half years, with a maximum of seven years, to a possible sentence of five years, with a maximum of 15 years.
“Similar bills have been languishing in Albany for years,” Hennessey said. “This has been one of my top priorities. Hopefully the State Senate will follow my lead so that we can pass a law that toughens penalties on hit-and-run drivers."
Bicyclist Hit by Car in Medford Seriously Hurt, Driver Charged With Fleeing
Cops: East Northport Man Arrested for Fleeing Crash That Seriously Injured Woman
Old-Bethpage Man and his Dog Killed in Hit-and-Run
Woman, 88, Struck and Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver in Hempstead
Cops Catch Driver Who Allegedly Killed Woman, Injured Man in Eastport Hit-and-Run
Melville Man Held in Hit-and-Run