Posted on Apr 13, 2013

People who choose to flee the scene of an accident resulting in injury in Texas are going to get the book thrown at them even harder with a new bill that has just passed in the Texas Senate. Right now, leaving the scene of an accident that causes an injury is a third-degree felony. However, if this bill makes it through the House, it will be considered a second-degree felony.

Many people would leave the scene of an accident to avoid tougher punishments, so leaving the scene of an accident that causes an injury will be on par with intoxication manslaughter (hitting someone while driving under the influence) in the law's eyes. A case involving ex-Capitol staff member Gabrielle Nestande, who hit and killed Austin nanny Courtney Griffin, brought attention to this disparity. If the bill moves through the House successfully, a person who flees the scene of an accident that causes injury could get up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. 

In Austin, 2012 was a record-setting year for traffic deaths. Police say there were 12 people hit and killed by cars in Austin where the person in the car did not stop. There are two hit-and-run deaths from the past few weeks that Austin police are still trying to solve. Additionally, Austin police say the number of people leaving the scene of minor crashes is increasing even more. There were 9,500 reports of people leaving the scene of a minor crash in 2012, which works out to about 800 cases every single month. The Austin police department created a special unit just to deal with these minor crash hit-and-run cases. 

We are glad to see that Texas is taking positive steps toward showing people that hit-and-run accidents will not be tolerated. 

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