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Assembly Passes Bill That Would Increase Penalties for Hit-and-Run Drivers

This hit-and-run crash in Greenlawn left a woman seriously injured last year.  Credit: Steve Silverman
This hit-and-run crash in Greenlawn left a woman seriously injured last year. Credit: Steve Silverman

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." 

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Tony Patrick June 20, 2014 at 08:56 AM
hit and run are not taken seriously enough. i got hit in the LIE stopped and noticed he was not stopping. i went after him and got his plate number. police gave me his info and i reported it to insurance. basically insurance said we are both to blame because i said he hit me and he said i hit him. he left the scene of a accident, if that does not prove guilt i do not know what does. basically if i was injured they would have taken it further. but because of this moron my insurance rates went up. i just hope he got a fine and points on his licence.
CAPICU June 20, 2014 at 09:43 AM
"Hennessey said that last year in Suffolk County alone, there were over 5,500 hit-and-run accidents resulting in 11 fatalities."..........First, I’m not sure why he describes a hit-and-run as an accident. Maybe it ought to be rephrased as "hit-and- run felonies"....Second, how many of these 5500 hundred felons are ever caught?
Frank Esposito June 22, 2014 at 09:36 AM
Actually Eddie, the way the previous laws were written, there was incentive to run. Be careful with that "police state" talk and save it were needed. Here were do not have issue if you look at it correctly. P.S., if you are wearing a tinfoil hat, please do not reply. Thanks!
Richard June 26, 2014 at 04:21 PM
hit and run should be taken serious and these people should be arrested and maybe lose there licenses for a certain period.
Robert Fishman July 10, 2014 at 09:19 AM
Have a couple wines with your dinner, get in a car, get bagged by a rogue DWI cop a mile from your home looking for eight hours OT in processing you. Your world is destroyed, misdemeanor record, 5000k in fines, insurance upped 100%, mandatory courses, NYS surcharges in the 1000s and not to mention 5000k on a criminal attorney. Hit and run.....driving without a license.....we here it all the time....license suspended 22 times??? Welcome to NY land of the libs and corrupt.

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