V&W client Martha Puruncajas’ tragic loss of her 19 year old son Luis Bravo to a hit-and-run driver helped focus attention on the need for stiffer penalties.
Hit-and-run drivers will be slapped with city fines of up to $10,000 under a bill passed by the City Council on Tuesday.
The Council voted 49 to 0 to approve the legislation, which sets up fines starting at $500 for a driver who flees a minor crash that results in property damage only, to up to $10,000 for a hit-and-run driver in a collision that results in death or serious injury.
“The city is watching. We will track you down,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens), who introduced the bill as part of the city’s “Vision Zero” initiative to eliminate roadway deaths. Mayor de Blasio is expected to sign the bill.
It is already illegal under state law for a driver to leave the scene of an accident, but the burden of proof is higher by the state standard. Many incidents aren’t prosecuted, and in most cases the offense is a misdemeanor.
Cops would be able to issue the new fines, and it would be up to the motorist to challenge them.
Martha Puruncajas, whose 19-year-old son, Luis Bravo, was killed a year ago by a hit-and-run driver in Queens, said through tears that she hoped the law would help prevent similar tragedies.
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