Bill to increase max punishment for hit-and-run drivers clears California Assembly

California

SACRAMENTO (KRON) — State lawmakers showed overwhelming support Monday for a law that will increase the punishment for deadly hit-and-run crashes.

“AB582 Will hopefully encourage drivers to stay at the scene of the crime,” said Assm. Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella).

Facing its final test in the assembly Monday, lawmakers approved “Gavin’s Law” with a 66-3 vote. 

The bill boosts the maximum prison sentence for hit-and-run drivers from four years to six. 

Lawmakers say it brings the penalty more in line with vehicular manslaughter and makes the punishment greater than that of a dui offense resulting in death.

“Hit leave run, avoid serious time. This bill closes that loophole. You will do serious time,” said Assm. Jim Patterson (R-Fresno).

The law is named after Gavin Gladding, a Clovis educator killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2018.

His wife, Susan Gladding, has been a part of each step of the proposal’s process in Sacramento.

“We felt pretty good about today, but now having finished this piece of it, it’s fantastic. It’s great,” she said. 

The bill now heads to the senate where it will have to clear two committees before it reaches its final floor vote.

“Although we may have some serious uphill climbs, I think there’s momentum here and an understanding from the leadership in both houses that the loophole can, should and ought to be closed,” Patterson said. 

Gavin’s Law is not yet scheduled for its next hearing. 

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