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Carmen De La Rosa

Rodriguez’s Push for Hit-and-Run Alerts Picks Up Support in Albany

2:01 PM EST on February 1, 2017

The parents of hit-and-run victim DJ Jinx Paul joined elected officials outside City Hall this morning. Photo: David Meyer

City Council transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez wants to create an Amber Alert-type system for nabbing hit-and-run drivers, and a growing number of state legislators and City Council members agree.

Dozens of New Yorkers are killed every year by hit-and-run drivers, including nine victims this January alone. But only 10 percent of drivers who flee crashes involving physical injury or death are ever caught.

Intro 1463, which Rodriguez teased last month, would establish an alert system "to provide rapid notification to the public when a hit-and-run involving serious injury or death occurs" via email, text messages, phone calls, and TV and radio broadcasts. The bill has picked up 12 co-sponsors in the City Council.

Meanwhile, State Senator Marisol Alcantara and Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa will introduce legislation in Albany for a similar program statewide.

The three legislators announced their bills at a press conference this morning alongside the family of Jean Paul Guerrero, the Mega 97.9 DJ who was killed by a hit-and-run driver at the end of 2016.

"We want to be sure more drivers are caught and more convictions are made in these cases," Rodriguez said.

A major incentive for drunk drivers to flee the scene of crashes is embedded in state law, since the penalties for hit-and-runs can be less severe than for drunk driving. That's on Governor Cuomo and legislators in Albany to fix.

Alcantara and De La Rosa left before taking questions from reporters, but Rodriguez said they were committed to legislation sponsored by Staten Island Assembly Member Michael Cusick and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan that would elevate penalties for leaving the scene of crashes involving serious injury or fatalities.

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