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Harsher Punishments For Hit-and-run Drivers

Harsher Punishments For Hit-and-run Drivers

The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act was signed into law, bringing comfort to those who have lost a loved one in hit and run accident. Now those who “Leave the Scene of an Accident” (LSA) will have  real consequences. The law now requires:

  • A minimum mandatory sentence of 4 years for LSA/ death
  • Increase the existing minimum mandatory sentence from 2 to 4 years for LSA/death with DUI
  • Defines “Vulnerable Road User” (VRU) and creates a VRU enhancer in the criminal punishment code.
  • Requires a 3-year revocation of the offender’s driver’s license and prior to reinstatement, a driver’s ed course on the rights of VRUs.

The act is in memory of a Miami cyclist who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2012. Michele Traverso struck Aaron Cohen and drove home to wait 18 hours until he turned himself into the police. Traverso served less than two years in jail, followed by two years of community control.

The proposal makes the following changes to remove the incentive to flee:

  • A minimum mandatory sentence of 4 years for LSA/ death
  • Increase the existing minimum mandatory sentence from 2 to 4 years for LSA/death with DUI
  • Defines “Vulnerable Road User” (VRU) and creates a VRU enhancer in the criminal punishment code.
  • Requires a 3-year revocation of the offender’s driver’s license and prior to reinstatement, a driver’s ed course on the rights of VRUs.

Cohen’s wife has been quoted about the act saying, “We are hoping to save lives in addition to ultimately reduce the number of accidents.”

“It almost uprights the injustice of the criminal case. It’s a reminder of the things people can do when they get together and I think that’s a wonderful lesson for the children,” she said. “Our goal for the rest of our lives is to keep adding positive things and this is a major positive thing.”

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