Thank you to our newest co-sponsor, Assemblymember Adam Gray.
Currently, the Vehicle Code does not do enough to deter individuals from leaving the scene of an accident in which their vehicle was involved. This bill would increase the penalties for those hit-and-runs in which a person suffers great bodily injury or death, bringing the penalties for a hit-and-run more in line with the penalties for vehicular manslaughter.
AB 582 is named after Gavin Gladding, a beloved Clovis Unified School District Vice Principal who was tragically killed in a hit-and-run incident in 2018.
Currently, the penalty for an individual who leaves the scene of a vehicle accident that results in permanent, serious injury or death is a maximum of four years and/or a fine of $1,000-$10,000.
The potential sentence for leaving the scene of an accident is not enough to deter drivers, especially those who may be under the influence, from leaving the scene. When these drivers leave the scene, not only are they failing to render aid to any injured victim, but they are also removing evidence
from the scene of a crime. Law enforcement officials are not able to conduct field sobriety tests of the driver, document his/her statement, or collect any other pertinent information and evidence, therefore hamstringing the entire investigation.
To deter drivers from leaving the scene of an accident, AB 582 will increase the possible penalty for hit-and-runs resulting in great bodily injury or death. For incidents which result in great bodily injury, the penalty will be imprisonment for 4-6 years, and a fine of $1,000-$10,000. For those accidents resulting in death, the possible penalty shall be changed to 6-8 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000-$10,000.
By bringing this code more into line with the penalties assessed for vehicular manslaughter and making them greater than a DUI sentence, AB 582 will encourage drivers to stay at the scene of a crime, even if they may be under the influence, as opposed to fleeing the scene. This will help ensure that justice is served in a timely and appropriate manner.