Denver (February 2, 2012)— State Representatives Kathleen Conti (R) and Rhonda Fields (D) and State Senators Cheri Jahn (D) and Steve King (R) collectively announced the introduction of the Stop Hit and Run Act (HB 12-1084) in the Colorado Legislature. This act will increase the penalty for a hit-and-run crash causing serious bodily injury from a Class 5 felony to a more serious Class 4. The bill will remove a dangerous loophole in Colorado law by giving a hit and run offense the same penalty as drunk driving.
Bill co-sponsor Representative Conti stated, “The goal of this bill is to remove the incentive for drunk drivers to leave the scene of a crash in order to sober up before getting caught or turning themselves in to authorities.”
"This is fantastic news for Colorado cyclists. All too often we see riders hit by a car and the car flees the scene. I hope these stiffer penalties make that driver think twice about driving away, with the end result being more care given to injured cyclists and pedestrians at the scene of an accident."
--Megan Hottman, TheCyclist-Lawyer.com
Drivers over the legal alcohol limit were involved in 32% of all Colorado traffic fatalities in 2008. “This law will give authorities a better tool to help reduce drunk driving deaths,” says bill co-sponsor Representative Fields.
Dan Grunig, Executive Director of Bicycle Colorado, the statewide group promoting safety, has been working on the development of this critical legislation and declared the organization’s statewide support for the bill. “Hit-and-run crashes disproportionally affect people who walk and ride bicycles. Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities are four times more likely to be the result of a hit and run than other roadway crashes. The difference between life and death may be the immediate help that is offered at the time of the crash.”
“The message this act sends is that anyone involved in a crash must stop and get help for anyone who is injured,” says Grunig.