BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A landmark bill that just passed legislature and is on its way to the governor’s desk seeks to curb the epidemic of unsolved hit-and-runs in California.
AB47 will create a ‘Yellow Alert,’ system to find offenders of hit-and-run collisions.
The system is limited to hit-and-runs that result in death and serious bodily injuries.
The alert will only be issued when there is enough information on the offending vehicle and when authorities believe it would lead to an arrest.
After 21-year-old Anthony Saldana was hit and killed by a vehicle in 2013, his mother Alice Miller spent the following ten months looking for answers.
“It was torture. I had to know because I couldn’t rest. It was constantly on my mind,” she said.
The suspect was eventually found and is now behind bars. Loved ones continue to mourn and they say the new yellow alert system aimed at catching hit-and-run offenders will help other grieving families.
“More eyes on the look out will catch them a lot sooner instead of having to wait months for justice,” she said.
AB 47 also known as the Yellow Alert Bill passed the assembly by a vote 74 to 2. Assemblyman Mike Gatto out of Los Angeles who wrote the bill says in a statement: “Hit-and-run victims and their families deserve to know that cowards who drive recklessly and avoid responsibility, will be caught, and will no longer be allowed to drive the streets.”
The Yellow Alert operates much like an Amber Alert. Law enforcement agencies would use the state’s existing network of changeable message signs to post info on a vehicle suspected of being involved in a hit-and-run collision.
“It should have been done along time ago, having people out there that kill people and run, put so much heart ache on parents, loved ones, friends and that’s nothing no one should ever have to go through,” said Mariah Zamora, friend of Anthony Saldana.
The measure comes just as the California Highway Patrol conducts its maximum enforcement now through the Labor Day weekend.
“The more that we’re out there, the more people see us, the more they are going to put down their cell phones, the more they are going to make sure their seat belts are on, the more they are going to make sure they are going 65 in a 65,” said Johnny Fisher, public information officer for the California Highway Patrol Central Division.
In addition to the Yellow Alert System, the State Assembly recently passed a bill requiring a mandatory six-month license suspension for anyone convicted of a hit-and-run involving another person.
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