Hit-and-run law needed

Full story: Star-Gazette

I love animals, but I love people more. Reading Jim Pfiffer's column regarding his pain about a dead cat makes me wonder what this world is coming to.
Comments
1 - 4 of 4 Comments Last updated Feb 21, 2013
JOE DUPONT

Towanda, PA

#1 Mar 8, 2009

Assemblyman O'Mara should be praised..
why did PA Assembly woman Tina Pickett and Assemblyman Matt Baker write me and say that
they would not introduce such a law as Assemblyman O'Mara did? Could it be that Tina Pickett was afraid of ruffling the feathers of the father ..of Andrew Zeller.. Gerard Zeller who may run against her.
I have sent this info to Senator Gene Yaw who seems receptive..to the concept.
Others have offered to co sponsor such a bill in the PA Senate and Assembly.
But it is disgusting how Tina hid in a hole on this issue. You can just search Youtube.com
search Steven's Law..
A02180 Summary:
BILL NO A02180
SAME AS No same as
SPONSOR O'Mara
COSPNSR
MLTSPNSR
Amd S600, V & T L
Enacts "Steven's Law"; requires passengers of motor vehicles involved in
personal injury accidents to report such accident when the operator of
such
motor vehicle does not stop or provide information to the injured party.
A02180 Actions:
BILL NO A02180
01/15/2009 referred to transportation
A02180 Votes:
A02180 Memo:
BILL NUMBER: A2180
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in
relation to enacting "Steven's Law" to require the reporting of
personal injury motor vehicle accidents by passengers
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL : To require a passenger of a motor
vehicle involved in a personal injury accident to report the accident
when he or she knows the operator of the motor vehicle did not stop
and provide information to either the injured party and/or to a police
officer.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS : Section 1 amends section 600 of the
vehicle and traffic law to add a new subdivision 3 that provides that
a passenger, knowing or having cause to know that personal injury has
been caused to another person due to an incident involving the motor
vehicle of which they are a passenger, and where the operator of said
vehicle has not stopped an provided information to the injured party
and/or a police officer, the passenger shall report the incident as
soon as physically able to the nearest police station or judicial
officer.
Failure to do so shall constitute a class B misdemeanor and is
punishable by a fine of not less than $250 or more than $500 in
addition to any other penalties provided by law.
Section 2 provides that this act shall take effect on the first of
November after the date on which it shall have become law.
JUSTIFICATION : On March 22, 2007, 17-year old Steven Bacon was the
victim of a hit-and-run accident in the town of Ashland. His body
wasn't discovered until the next day. The driver of the vehicle turned
himself into police the next day but only after the driver of another
vehicle - a friend of the driver - who witnessed the incident,
insisted that he turn himself in. Also in the vehicle that killed
Steven Bacon was a passenger who was also a witness to the incident.
Although no one can know for certain whether Steven Bacon would've
survived his injuries had his body been discovered sooner, there is no
doubt that there were people with knowledge that something horrible
had happened that night whose failure to come forward resulted in
Steven Bacon's body laying in the culvert on the shoulder of the road
for well over 12 hours.
The driver was charged, in addition to manslaughter in the second
degree, with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident in
violation of vehicle and traffic law section 600(2). However, his
passenger was under no legal obligation to report the accident even
though he was fully aware that a body flew over the car in which he
was riding, and also aware that the driver neither stopped nor
reported the incident. This legislation creates that legal obligation
for a passenger of a vehicle to report the incident if the driver does
not.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : 2008: referred to transportation
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None
EFFECTIVE DATE : The first of November after the date on which it
shall have become law.
jess

Gillett, PA

#3 Mar 9, 2009
it was needed long time ago , not just because my brother got killed
R Brown

Spokane, WA

#4 Dec 1, 2009
You mean PA imposes no legal duty on witnesses to immediately report crimes they witness, nor to report seriously injured citizens they happen across?
Surely it is a crime for a Pennsylvanian witness to choose not to report a murder, a beating, a theft. Why is choosing not to report an automobile accident involving a vehicle you happen to be traveling in, and the serious injuries to your fellow citizen laying roadside a special case? And why would Omara propose such a limited-scope crime, and with such a low crime and punishment classification? I am sure Pennsylvanians would accept that any legal duty to report crimes they put upon themselves should apply to all witnesses of all crimes in all situations--save spousal relationships, perhaps. I suspect Pennsylvanians would also accept that the consequences to a witness who does not comply be severe. Why are your representatives so timid? Take a poll of their constituents' feelings on the matter for them, and show them.
The vehicle's passengers who chose to not report the injuries to Steven as soon as possible should have been subject to harsh criminal liability. A Class B Misdemeanor is not going to factor into my decision making process when I, as a witnessing passenger, debate whether to immediately report Steven's injuries when those injuries were caused by the questionable driving of my slightly drunk friend, boss, or family member. Changing the behavior of witnesses at the point in time it matters is the goal, here, correct? My decision not to immediately report Steven's injury could reasonably and foreseeably result in his bleeding to death. That is what we want to prevent. The decision to act must be immediate.
The penalty for my decision to forsake the physical life of Steven (replace "Steven" with the name of one of your loved-ones) in favor of a chance to avoid some undesired consequence to my slightly intoxicated good buddy and boss, the driver, should be commensurate with the reasonably foreseeable consequences of my decision. People die from mild concussions. Being struck by an automobile is clearly a presumably life-threatening event. The decision of a competent witness to not immediately report such things should expose them to maximum penalties that are severe. Let the courts decide how severe, case by case. The liklihood I will report Steven's injuries ASAP grows the greater the penalty for me not doing so becomes.
This applies the more loathsome a character I am, as well. If I will not report Steven's injuries for common, humanitarian reasons, I may still care about risking many years in prison for a driver who only might benefit from my inaction, and silence. With a substantial penalty on the line, I would find no trouble rejecting the driver's argument that we just wait for complete sobriety before reporting the accident. Waiting takes me from a state of utter blamelessness to one of serious jeopardy just like that.
Make Passengers help

Tunkhannock, PA

#5 Feb 21, 2013
12:58pm
Joseph Dupont
Dear Editor,
NY State Senator Thomas O'Mara has recently reintroduced his bill S-3641 to make passengers in HIT and RUN vehicles seek help for the victim if their good for nothing driver won't. PA Rep. Tina Pickett is working on a similar bill . Both Bills were precipitated by the cavalier manner by which 17 year old Steven Bacon was run down and abandoned while two cars were raced down a misty road on the night of March 22, 2007. About 1000 hit and run deaths occur each year. Currently passengers are under no obligation to do anything. Please ask Gov. Cuomo to push for Sen. O'Mara's bill to come to a vote. Your life and those you love are at stake.
STATE OF NEW YORK
__________
3641
2013-2014 Regular Sessions
IN SENATE
February 7, 2013
__________
Introduced by Sens. O'MARA, MARTINS, MAZIARZ, RANZENHOFER -- read twice
and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee
on Transportation
AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to enacting
"Steven's Law" to require the reporting of personal injury motor vehi-
cle accidents by passengers
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Steven's
2 Law".
3 2. Section 600 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding
4 a new subdivision 3 to read as follows:
5 3. Report by passenger. Any passenger of a motor vehicle, knowing or
6 having cause to know that personal injury has been caused to another
7 person due to an incident involving the motor vehicle of which they are
8 a passenger, and where the operator of such vehicle has not stopped and
9 provided information to the injured party and/or to a police officer,
10 shall report such incident as soon as physically able to the nearest
11 police station or judicial officer. A violation of the provisions of
12 this subdivision shall constitute a class B misdemeanor punishable by a
13 fine of not less than two hundred fifty nor more than five hundred
14 dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law.
15 3. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed-
16 ing the date on which it shall have become a law.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[] is old law to be omitted.
LBD08534-01-3
NEW YORK STATE SENATE
INTRODUCER'S MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
submitted in accordance with Senate Rule VI. Sec 1
BILL NUMBER: S3641
SPONSOR: O'MARA
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in
relation to enacting "Steven's Law" to require the reporting of personal
injury motor vehicle accidents by passengers
PURPOSE: To require a passenger of a motor vehicle involved in a
personal injury accident to report the accident when he or she knows the
operator of the motor vehicle did not stop and provide information to
either the injured party and/or to a police officer.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 2 amends section 600 of the vehicle and traffic law to add a new
subdivision 3 that provides that a passenger, knowing or having cause to
know that personal injury has been caused to another person due to an
incident involving the moter vehicle which they are a passenger and
where the operator of said vehicle has not stopped and provided informa-
tion to the injured party and/or a police officer, the passenger shall
report the incident as soon as physically able to the nearest police
station or judicial officer.
Failure to do so shall constitute a class B misdemeanor and is punisha-
ble by a fine of not less than $250 or more then $500 in addition to any
other penalties provided by law.
Section 3 provides that this act shall take effect on the first of
November after the date on which it shall have become law.
JUSTIFICATION: On March 22, 2007, 17-year old Steven Bacon was the
victim of a hit-and-run accident in the town of Ashland.

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