AAA Guy: Don’t Bother Drivers With What, or Whom, They Run Over

charity.jpgKaitlyn Charity. Photo via The Lamron

In what seems like a potential victory for common sense, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would require New York motorists to stop and see what they hit after they collide with something.

According to The Journal News, the bill, sponsored by Rep. Dale Volker (R-Depew), was spurred by the 2007 death of Kaitlyn Charity, a 20-year-old college student who was killed as she walked along a highway in the upstate town of Groveland. Charity was hit by a trucker and two other drivers, none of whom stopped.

Though it’s hard to believe it isn’t already illegal to blithely carry on driving after striking an unknown object, AAA New York rep John Corlett says that prohibiting drivers from doing so is not only unnecessary, but dangerous.

"If drivers start stopping every time they think they hit something and
pull off to the side of the road, it would cause more accidents," he

As Streetsbloggers have pointed out, this makes little sense in more ways than one — especially considering that Corlett reportedly believes "most drivers are responsible enough" to stop after a collision. So which is it, responsible or dangerous? Also, Volker’s bill is not limited to highways.

To get a sense of the cruelly absurd repercussions of current law, the truck driver who hit Charity was eventually convicted of perjury for changing his story about the crash, but faced no charges for leaving the scene because — since he didn’t stop — he didn’t know he had struck a human being.

  • I \v/ NY

    This is why an alternative to AAA has emerged called the Better World Club… same auto coverage minus the insane 1940s style highway lobbying.

  • zgori

    Actually, pulling over and getting out of your car on a busy highway is incredibly dangerous, particularly on some of our urban highways with small or nonexistent emergency lanes. If everyone did it every time they drive over an already-dead possum or a piece of a tire, you would probably see more pedestrian fatalities.

  • I agree with zgori. AAA might be right in this situation when referring to limited access highways or other otherwise dangerous roads. But on a quite country road or suburban street this is not usually the case.

  • I \v/ NY

    typically its good to check if something is under your car, hell it could even catch the car on fire if not checked out. if youre concerned about safety pull way over in the shoulder until your on the grass, get out on the safe side of the car and quickly and carefully look under.

  • zgori–

    I don’t think it would make sense for someone to pull over right away under those circumstances either (though that does suggest that the design of those roads need to be rethought–car crashes do happen, after all). But it would be fairly easy to write that kind of safety exception into the law.

    Even without an exception, I would be extremely surprised to see a driver get prosecuted for failing to stop after running over a traffic cone on the GW bridge, for example. Especially given that they are not currently prosecuted for killing people.

    (Also, in the case cited, several of the drivers did pull over, but only to inspect the damage done to their vehicles, not to help the dying young woman.)

  • zgori

    True enough, rufustfyr. It would be just another law that nobody follows and very few people ever get cited for violating. Kind of like speed limits and stopping at red lights…

  • To I \v/ NY, there’s no need to keep living in the 1940s! Get the real truth about AAA’s advocacy efforts with up-to-date information at Yes, I work for AAA.


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