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California Adopts New System to Combat Hit-and-Run Accidents

On January 1, 2016, the State of California launched a new system intended to track down hit-and-run drivers. As San Diego injury attorneys, we are hopeful that the new system will help car accident victims obtain the justice they deserve.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) crash data, the number of fatal hit-and-run crashes is on the rise, increasing 13 percent from 2009 to 2011. There were 1,449 hit-and-run deaths in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics were available. The statistics are particularly concerning given that traffic fatalities are generally trending downward.

Fleeing the scene is particularly common after a pedestrian accident. According to the AAA Foundation for Public Safety, 20 percent of all pedestrian fatalities are hit-and-runs. In many cases, the driver is impaired and continues to put others at risk after the crash.

To help identify drivers who leave the scene of a California accident, the state recently launched a “Yellow Alert” notification system for hit-and-run incidents resulting in death or serious injury. As with AMBER and Silver Alerts, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will work with requesting law enforcement agencies to determine whether the hit-and-run meets the specified criteria for a Yellow Alert, which include the availability of information about the hit-and-run suspect or the suspect’s vehicle, and whether disseminating the information will be helpful.

Supporters of the new law (AB-8) are hopeful that the new system will deter drivers from leaving the scene of a serious crash and help police officers arrest those who do. In Los Angeles alone, there were 20,000 hit-and-run accidents in 2014, killing 27 people and seriously injuring 144. Police were only able to track down the driver in 20 percent of the cases.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California car accident caused by a hit-and-run driver, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. Relying on more than 30 years of legal experience, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of California injury victims.