A proposed piece of state legislation that would allow the use of digital signs on freeways to broadcast information about vehicles involved in deadly hit-and-run accidents got a big boost recently when the Los Angeles City Council gave the bill its support.
Other entities that have also encouraged the passage of Assembly Bill 47 include the Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, California State Firefighters' Assn., the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and numerous organizations that advocate for bicyclists.
This common-sense proposal was first introduced in December 2012 by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake), who had taken note of the high numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians — regionally and statewide — who have either been killed or seriously injured by careless drivers who subsequently fled the scene after mowing down their victims.
His bill calls for a Yellow Alert that would allow law enforcement agencies with solid information about a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run, a description and license number, to have it posted on the electronic traffic readers by the California Highway Patrol. Much like the Amber Alerts that notify motorists when a child has been abducted, the Yellow Alert would engage the public's help in tracking down the traffic offender.
As we all know, pedestrian and bicycle deaths have been a serious problem in coastal Orange County, particularly in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach. Not every case is a hit-and-run, to be sure, but we've had our share of those around here. State legislation that could aid the enjoyment of our communities, which practically demand to be experienced on foot and bicycle, could make us all safer.
We're glad to see AB 47 gaining traction. The number of hit-and-run accidents has reached disturbingly high proportions in recent years. Anything that can be done to get such unconscionable drivers off the road should be given the green light.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this editorial was originally published by the Daily Pilot's sister publications in Los Angeles County.