In the aftermath of the tragic accident that killed a married couple and their unborn child, several state legislators have called for reforms to New York State hit and run statutes. The New York Post reports that at least three legislators are championing reform that would allow for a presumption, under the law, of driving while intoxicated in cases of leaving the scene of an accident.
Under current New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 600(2)(a), a driver must provide identification to the injured party if the driver knows or has reason to know that he has caused personal injury to another person while operating a motor vehicle. Failing this, the driver must report the accident to a police officer either at the scene or, as soon as physically possible, to the nearest police station. A hit and run accident resulting in death is deemed a Class D felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and possible prison time.
Assuming that the driver was under the influence, as the lawmakers are considering proposing, would add a much stiffer penalty to the hit and run driver responsible for the death of Raizel and Nachman Glauber in Brooklyn this past weekend. Under New York Penal Law section 125.14, the driver could be guilty of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide for his role in the deaths. Aggravated Vehicular Homicide is a Class B felony, as opposed to the Class D described in the paragraph above. In New York, severity of felonies ranges from A (most severe) to E (least severe). A Class B felony would carry a much stiffer penalty than a Class D.
Of course, at this point, legislators are simply discussing these possible changes. How much, if any, traction they will be able to gain with their fellow state senators and assembly-people remains to be seen. It will be an interesting topic to follow in the coming months, as the proposed legislation stems from a tragedy that has gotten intense local and national attention already.
The New York Post covered the statements. A write-up can be found at the link below.