Pa. measures to increase penalties for hit-and-run drivers will have to wait
October 16, 2012By Mary Wilson
A crush of proposals are speeding through the Pennsylvania House and Senate this week in the final days of the legislative session.
Two measures to toughen hit-and-run penalties have failed to make it through.
Democratic Senator Larry Farnese of Philadelphia says he doesn't think he'll have to start from scratch to advance his measure next year.
"We have a chairman that sat through a hearing and understands what the needs are not only in the city of Philadelphia but also across the state to enhance these penalties," he said Tuesday
His bill would increase the penalties for drivers who hit a person and then flee the scene. It would be the same penalty now faced by a drunken driver involved in a hit-and-run.
Farnese says it fills a gap created by a similar proposal signed into law by the governor in July.
The recently enacted law increased the maximum prison sentences for hit-and-run drivers, but not the mandatory minimum.
Sen. Mike Stack, D-Philadelphia, says the measure is a response to protests that the punishment for a driver who hits someone and leaves the scene is too low.
"This bill increases from one year to three years the mandatory minimum of hit-and-run accidents resulting in death and it creates a one-year minimum of accidents resulting in bodily injury," he said.
Stack's bill received the approval of a Senate committee -- just not in time to get a final vote from the full Senate.
The bill will die with the end of the legislative session this year. But that's not unusual.
The measure that went to the governor in July to increase hit-and-run penalties was a result of about seven years of legislative toiling.