NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) —The City Council is considering imposing tougher civil penalties for drivers involved in fatal hit-and-run accidents.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, of Queens, said there have been three fatal hit-and-runs in his district in the last 18 months.
He has introduced a bill that would impose a maximum penalty of $5,000 for any driver who hits someone and takes off, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“Right now there is no civil penalty in the city of of New York for someone who leaves the scene of a hit-and-run collision,” Van Bramer said. “That’s an outrage that someone could kill somebody, literally kill somebody, and get away and have no penalties.”
Van Bramer hopes that increasing the penalties would deter drivers, especially those who are under the influence, from leaving the scene of an accident.
“Knowing that they could face harsher penalties for staying at the scene of an accident drivers have a perverse incentive to flee the scene,” Van Bramer said.
Families and friends of hit-and-run victims testified before the City Council’s Transportation Committee on Wednesday.
“It’s something you never get over,” said Maribel Egipciaco, who came to City Hall on behalf of the family of Luis Bravo.
Bravo, 19, was killed in a hit-and-run in Woodside, Queens last September.
“The pain is unbearable, the pain stays,” Egipciaco said, adding that she hopes stiffer penalties could prevent future tragedies.
Toughening criminal penalties will be up to the state legislature, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
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