Action Alert: Contact your State Rep to support HB 397
UPDATE: HB397 Passes the Ohio House.
UPDATE: HB397 info from Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio House plans vote on bill to increase jail time for hit-and-run drivers
Hit-and-run crashes are a problem in Ohio, especially for people on bikes and pedestrians, the two most vulnerable road user groups. The percentage of crashes involving a person on a bike resulting in injury or death which are hit-and-run is 23%, and the percentage of pedestrian involved crashes is 28% (according to ODPS crash reports from 2010-2012). One reason for the high percentage is that in Ohio the penalty for impaired driving and causing the injury or death of someone in a crash is greater than the penalty for hit-and-run crashes.
To address this last December HB 397 was introduced into the Ohio State House of Representatives. This bill would amend sections state law to increase the penalty for violations of failure to stop after an accident and failure to stop after a nonpublic road accident that result in the death of a person or serious physical harm to a person. In short the bill would elevate a hit-and-run crash to a felony of the second degree. The bill is called Brandon’s Law, named after Brandon Pethtel who was hit a killed by a hit-and-run driver in April of 2013.
We need you to contact your State House and Senate representatives and ask them to support HB 397 to increase penalties for hit-and-run crashes. You can find your house representatives contact info here.
Here are some speaking points you can use when contacting your state representative:
I am calling to urge you to support HB 397, Brandon’s Law:
1. To send a clear message that the State of Ohio is going to punish drivers severely if they fail to stop, notify police and remain at the scene of the crash they caused.
2. By increasing the penalty for hit-and-run crashes, drivers will be dissuaded from fleeing the scene of the crash, helping to ensure that the victim gets assistance more promptly.
You can read the full language of House Bill 397 here.