A California state assemblyman, Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), has introduced a bill that would allow police to post an Amber Alert for hit-and-run drivers. The bill would allow the police to display information on freeway signs near the scene of a hit-and-run accident.
This is the second time that the bill is being introduced. It was last introduced in September. At that time, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it, concerned that more additions to the Amber Alert system could overwhelm the system. The system was recently expanded to include information about missing elderly people who are developmentally disabled.
According to Gatto, the amber alert for hit-and-run drivers would only be activated if someone was killed or severely injured in an accident. Some information about the hit-and-run driver would also be required: a full license plate or a partial license plate and vehicle description or the identity of the driver.
Surge in Number of Hit-and-Run Accidents in Los Angeles County
The number of hit-and-run accidents involving bicyclists in Los Angeles County has surged in the last ten years by 42%.
Police say that hit-and-run accidents are some of the most difficult crimes to solve because there is usually little or no evidence at the crash scene. If the hit-and-run driver is not caught within two days, there is little chance he or she will be apprehended. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, between 2008 and 2012, only 20% of hit-and-run cases were resolved.
Gatto's bill is modeled after an Amber Alert system in Colorado, where 76% of cases resulted in arrests where alerts were activated.