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PA passes Kevin’s Law, increases penalty for hit and run

State legislators passed a bill yesterday to strengthen Pennsylvania’s hit-and-run law. Kevin’s Law was named in honor of Kevin Miller from Dallas, PA, a 5-year-old boy killed by a hit and run driver as he crossed the street with his family in Wilkes-Barre four days before Christmas in 2012. Kevin Miller’s family, along with more than 60 local residents, traveled to the state capital yesterday to show support for passage of the law.

The original law carried only a mandatory minimum one-year in jail. Under the law change, the penalty for those who flee fatal crashes will be increased to a mandatory minimum of three years in prison. Kevin’s Law, amended into Senate Bill 1312, makes the penalty for fleeing the scene of a vehicular homicide the same as homicide by vehicle when drunk.

Alcohol is often a factor in these crashes, and pedestrians are often the victims, according to a news report by USA Today. A study was done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that about one in five of all pedestrian fatalities are hit-and-runs, and 60% of hit-and-run fatalities have pedestrians as victims. Many states, like Pennsylvania, are working to toughen the laws to address this troubling problem.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) 2012 Fatality Analysis Reporting System data, fatalities among pedestrians increased for the third consecutive year (6.4% increase over 2011). The data showed the large majority of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, at non-intersections, at night and involving alcohol. 4,743 pedestrians were killed in accidents in 2012 and 76,000 were injured.

In Florida, state police reported there were 70,000 hit-and-run crashes in 2012 and three out of every five road fatalities were pedestrians struck by hit-and-run drivers. In Los Angeles, hit-and-run accidents have reached epidemic proportions, four times higher than the national average.

According to a report by the Times leader newspaper, there were 6 people killed in hit -and-run accidents in Luzerne County in 2012. The 23-year-old driver who hit Kevin Miller failed to stop and sped away, according to police.

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, there are some important steps you should take:

  • Immediately call the police.
  • Try to record the license plate number of the car that hit you, and get a description of the car, including make, model, color and approximate year. Also, the direction in which the vehicle was traveling.
  • Record as much information as you can about when and where the accident occurred.
  • Record the names of any witnesses.

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can fight for you and your family. Call us today for a free consultation 855-866-5529

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