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Bill Increasing Penalties For Leaving Accident Scene Advances

David Sledge
State lawmakers say current law encourages drivers to leave the scene of a crash when drunk.

On Tuesday, members of the state House advanced a measure to increase penalties for leaving the scene of a car accident that involves serious injuries. And lawmakers say current law actually encourages drives to leave the scene.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a nonprofit advocacy group, one in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime. And state legislators say drivers have an incentive to leave an accident when they’re drunk because if they do so, there’s no way to prove they were driving under the influence at the time of a crash.

The bill [pdf] increases the penalty to a class 4 felony. It’s currently a class 5, and drivers in such cases can also be charged with a traffic infraction. The stricter penalty would increase fines and prison sentences. The bill faces one more vote at the Capitol.

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