Closing hit-and-run loophole will be ‘high priority,’ pols say
Brooklyn politicians are making a renewed push to pass a bill that would close a legal loophole and punish hit-and-run drivers more severely following an incident that left a 70-year-old woman dead on Friday in Canarsie.
Under current law, there is a more serious penalty for drunk driving than for leaving the scene of a crash. This uneven punishment incentivizes motorists who are under the influence to flee in order to risk lesser punishment, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
“People are making a calculated decision that it’s in their best interest to flee, and we have to close that loophole,” said Gonzalez at a press conference on Monday.
The Hit-and-Run Prevention Act, first introduced in 2017 by Assemblymember Joe Lentol, has stalled for several years. The bill would raise the punishment for leaving the scene to be equal to vehicular manslaughter. In other words, if a motorist kills someone while under the influence, the punishment would be the equivalent of that given to someone who kills a person and flees the scene.