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East County News Service

September 30, 2015 (Sacramento)—Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 8 into law. The measure will create “yellow alerts” to display descriptions of vehicles involved in hit-and-run collisions on digital freeway signs.  The alerts, set to start January 1st, will be similar to Amber Alerts used for kidnapped children.

The measure was authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto of Los Angeles. In a press conference, Gato stated, "This will make our streets much more safe, will help a lot of grieving families get justice.”

The alerts will be displayed only in accidents resulting in serious injury or death. They will be restricted to areas close to the incident.

Los Angeles, where nearly half of all accidents are hit and run, established an alert system earlier this year. Governor Brown vetoed a similar statewide measure in the past, but signed the current measure after the author tailored it more narrowly to avoid interfering with Amber Alerts.

Hit and run deaths nationwide rose 13.5% from 2000 to 2013.  It is a felony to flee the scene of an accident, so the alert system stands to potentially dissuade drivers from leaving after being involved in a serious crash—and make it easier to catch them if they flee.

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