State Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset) announced the passage of his bill, S.741, that increases the penalties for drivers who flee the scene of an accident which resulted in injury or death.
Although leaving the scene of an accident is already a crime, there is an inconsistency in the law that actually encouraged drivers to run from the accident. "Current law actually rewards a drunk driver who leaves the scene of an accident. If they stay they face a class D felony, but if they leave and sober up, they face only the lesser charge of a class E felony," said Senator Marcellino. This legislation, passed for the seventh consecutive year, rectifies this incongruity by increasing the penalties for leaving the scene to be more in line with those for vehicular assault and vehicular manslaughter.
A first violation for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury will now be a class A misdemeanor and any subsequent violations will be a class E felony. More importantly, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious personal injury or death will become a class D felony, punishable with a fine between $2,500 and $5,000, and up to 7 years in jail.
"In the past, the Speaker’s attention to this problem has amounted to nothing more than a toothless photo-op proposal. The opportunity to fix this problem has been before the Assembly for years. People are getting hurt and killed while we wait for the Assembly to figure out that we need a penalty that fits the crime. How many more people need to die before this bill is brought up before the Assembly? I call on the Assembly to pass my bill immediately," concluded Senator Marcellino.