Hit and Run Drivers Better Off Running - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Hit and Run Drivers Better Off Running

It's not the right thing to do, but the law favors drunk drivers who flee.

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Hit and Run Drivers Better Off Running
    Getty Images
    Legal experts say Pennsylvania law encourages drivers who've been drinking to flee the scene if they hit someone.

    Run, driver, run! If it seems like we've had a rash of hit-and-run accidents lately, it could be that the "run" part is no accident.

    If you've been drinking at all, the law in Pennsylvania actually favors people who flee the scene.

    We're not advocating for this position, we're just pointing out the fact that there's a wicked little loophole in the law, according to the Metro.

    "The selfish and irresponsible man with potentially something to hide, is going to leave that scene and maybe report it the next day," attorney Jeffrey Reiff said. Most of these accidents go unreported. Reiff considers himself a legal crusader on the issue He has spent more than 30 years representing the victims of hit-and-run accidents in the city. "I can tell you that it's growing at an epidemic rate," Reiff said.

    Pennsylvania law says the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident that hurts or kills someone must stop immediately, or as close to the scene as possible, and then return to the scene. In every instance, you are legally bound to stay at the accident scene, render aid and provide any information that's required by law. But, the maximum punishment for ignoring all of that, even if you've killed a person, is one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

    If you hit and kill someone, stay at the scene like the law requires and investigators figure out you've been drinking and driving, you can spend up to five years in prison.

    In the past four weeks, there have been at least four hit-and-run accidents in the city, including the Mother's Day hit-and-run that left a little boy in critical condition. Three of the cases are unsolved. But this year alone in Pennsylvania, there've been nearly 5,000 accidents where drivers have fled the scene, according to Reiff. Last year, the number topped 14,000.

    "Think about it. There's never a good reason someone leaves the scene of an accident," Reiff says.

    Think about it.