Monday, July 11, 2011

Northridge West Neighborhood Council endorses Life Before License Campaign

Good news for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists who will one day become victims of hit and run crimes... A grass roots push has begun towards stiffening the consequences for committing a hit and run, one of the more common person on person crimes on our streets. In a unanimous vote Tuesday June 14th, the Northridge West Neighborhood Council voted to endorse the Life Before License Campaign. I introduced the motion to support this campaign because I have been frustrated by the lack of accountability that hit and run perpetrators have faced in the rare times that they are prosecuted and punished. Indeed, the punishment for hit and run crimes is typically far less than that of DUI and thus the reason that nearly 1/3 of traffic collisions are hit and run crimes.

Campaign author, Dr. Alex Thompson states: " In LA, 32% of ALL collisions are hit and run [2008 SWITRS data, California Highway Patrol.] In other words, Los Angelinos involved in a collision have a nearly 1 in 3 chance of being left to fend for themselves.  Worse, in those cases where a hit and run perpetrator is caught and convicted, judges rarely take away the convicts driving privileges.  Life Before License, a campaign started by the cycling advocacy organization Bikeside, will seek mandatory loss of driving privileges for convicted hit and run perpetrators."

The language of the campaign seeks to suspend the license of a driver who commits a hit and run. Many would be surprised to know that the DMV does not suspend the driver's license of hit and run perpetrators. In other words, a person can leave a victim to die on the streets, and drive the days before and the days after the person is convicted of the crime. 



LIFE BEFORE LICENSE CAMPAIGN:

WHEREAS 32% of all collisions in Los Angeles are hit and run, AND
WHEREAS leaving the scene of a collision is a failure to take responsibility for one’s actions and the safety of others, and therefore demonstrates a tendency to drive unsafely, AND
WHEREAS currently there is not a mandated loss of driving privileges for those convicted of hit and run, AND
WHEREAS judges sentencing convicted hit and runners rarely take away the perpetrator’s driving privileges,
Safe Streets Northridge hereby endorses the Life Before License campaign to change California law so that once convicted of a hit and run, perpetrators will automatically lose all driving privileges, and that the duration of the loss will correspond to the severity of the impact of the hit and run as follows:
  1. A hit and run which results in fatality will result in the loss of driving privileges for 10 years.
  2. A hit and run which results in permanent disability, or causes a life threatening injury will result in the loss of driving privileges for 5 years.
  3. A hit and run which results in injury, but which does not lead to permanent disability or a life threatening injury, will result in the loss of driving privileges for 2 years.
  4. A hit and run which results in the damage of property only will result in the loss of driving privileges for 1 year.



 

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