Pa. bill would hold passengers accountable in crashes - abc27 WHTM

Pa. bill would hold passengers accountable in crashes

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A Pennsylvania lawmaker has reintroduced legislation that would hold passengers in hit-and-run vehicles as legally responsible as drivers for reporting crashes to police.

Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) said her measure, House Bill 401, would specifically deal with hit-and-run crashes involving serious injury or death.

Penalties for passengers who fail to report a hit-and-run would be the same as those imposed against a driver found guilty of the same offense.

"It is the intent of this legislation to hold equally accountable those passengers who, by their presence in the vehicle, are involved in and knowingly witness a hit-and-run accident involving serious injury or death, yet decline to report the accident to authorities," Pickett said in a statement.

If the victim is injured, the violation could result in a prison term of at least 90 days and a minimum fine of $1,000.

If the victim dies, the violation would be a third-degree felony with a minimum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of at least $2,500.

Pickett said her bill is modeled after similar legislation in New York known as "Steven's Law." The measure is named for a former Pennsylvania teenager who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2007, but not found until the next day because the driver and passengers in the striking vehicle did not report the incident to police.

The legislation has been referred to the House Transportation Committee for consideration.

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