California on Track to Implement Yellow Alerts for Hit-and-Runs
An effort is underway in Sacramento to stem the rising incidents of hit-and-runs in the state and the dwindling chance for justice. As it stands, if you shoot or stab someone to death in California, your chances of being brought to justice are in the neighborhood of 60 percent. On the opposite side of that – if you run over them with your car and take off, the chance that justice will catch up with you drop to 20 percent. And, the situation can be further compounded should the victim lack adequate health insurance.
Those numbers were completely unacceptable for one state lawmaker, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Democrat from Glendale. That’s why he sponsored AB 8 (Assembly Bill 8). The Hit-and-Run “Yellow Alert” bill, which just passed through the state Assembly, would give CHP officers and other law enforcement agencies an extra set of eyes to count on when they need to solve situations like these.
It would take advantage of the state’s existing highway network of electronic message boards and display a “yellow alert” with the details of a hit-and-run in a narrow area to try to catch a suspect that’s killed or caused great bodily injury to someone and just left them to die in the middle or side of the road. According to Assemblyman Gatto, the act itself is not only callous, but shows a fundamental disrespect for human life.
Furthermore, because the information would just be in the narrow area where the accident occurred, it wouldn’t go statewide nor send cell phones buzzing. The plan would be to trigger the alert only if a complete license plate number of the suspect vehicle, a partial plate and a car make, or the identity of the suspect is available.
Ironically, while the bill is designed to help the CHP solve incidents like the recent hit-and-run death of a man on Marconi Avenue, the California Highway Patrol’s the only registered agency opposed to it — with Commissioner Joseph Farrow signing off on a letter sent to Gatto’s office.
Farrow cites several concerns, including overwhelming the sign system already being used for AMBER and Silver alerts. He also believes the move could desensitize the public to the message boards and suggests that the “yellow alert” may not be necessary since it’s anticipated that such crashes will decrease since so many of California’s undocumented and formerly unlicensed drivers can now drive legally through AB 60.
Gatto responded by saying the only priority should be to do whatever it takes to punish reckless behavior on the roads and went on to cite his own numbers, using the city of Denver, Colorado as proof of its effectiveness. The city tried something similar to Gatto’s bill and the apprehension rate went up from 20 percent to 76 percent in just one year.
Now out of the house, AB 8 should make it to the senate public safety committee by July.
It’s dangerous out there, whether you’re riding in a car or walking across the street. Think safety first and don’t take chances – especially when it comes to your health insurance in California. Make sure you have the right coverage at the best possible rates. Why not get a free California health insurance quote today?
Are you in favor of the “yellow alert” to help curb the high number of hit-and-runs in the state? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.