Dec. 3, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
After proposing new penalties for hit and run drivers that were passed last year, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has introduced a new bill aimed at drivers who repeatedly flee the scene of crashes.
The legislation is intended as an additional deterrent against hit and run drivers, who frequently skirt arrest.
Speaking at the City Council’s Transportation Committee, Inspector Dennis Fulton of the NYPD Transportation Bureau said there have been 4,000 cases of drivers fleeing after striking someone this year, 31 resulting in death. In total there have only been 28 arrests year-to-date.
Van Bramer’s “Justice for Hit-and-Run Victims Act,” passed by the City Council last fall, instituted civil penalties for drivers who flee the scene of a collision. Drivers who take off after a collision are subject to fines of $1,000 to $2,000 if someone is injured, $2,000 to $10,000 for serious injuries, and $5,000 to $10,000 if death results.
In December, the Councilman introduced a bill that would tack on repeat offender penalties to the Justice for Victims Act.
Repeat hit-and-run drivers would be subject to pay $2,000 to $5,000 if a person is injured, $5,000 to $10,000 for serious injuries, and $10,000 if death results.
“This legislation is not meant to measure the value of the lives lost, but to act as a forceful deterrent to our city’s most dangerous drivers,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “We are sending a message directly to hit-and-run drivers: if you hit someone and leave the scene of the crash, we will find you and punish you to the fullest extent of the law.”
The Councilman has also introduced a bill aimed at improving the way the City records hit-and-run data.
The bill would require that information about hit and run civil penalties be included in an existing hit-and-run report that the NYPD provides to the City Council. According to Van Bramer’s office, this requirement would essentially act as a mechanism to include more specific hit-and-run information in the report, such as time of day and precise location.
In a release from the Councilman’s office, the NYPD issued its support of the increased penalties, but not the proposed addition to the hit and run report.
So what is vehicular manslaughter?
I am sorry, but as the victim of a hit and run accident, this is ridiculous. These fines should be 10 times what they are and should be accompanied with a mandatory jail term. When I was struck and left laying in the road injured next to a cyclist who was also hit and injured, the police told me everyone runs. They said that the penalties are so small that it is better to run. In fact, they said, if you ever want to kill someone, hit them with your car. Nothing will happen.