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Gatto Tries Again For Hit-And-Run Alert System

Michael Patrick, flickr

Signs such as this would be used to alert drivers of hit-and-runs under Assm. Gatto's bill.

Michael Patrick, flickr

Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto says California should take advantage of its existing highway emergency alert system to spread the message about hit-and-runs.

"It’s that crucial moment where a damaged car is driving very fast and erratically down a freeway where we really can catch somebody much more quickly," he says.

Gatto authored identical legislation last year that was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. Brown was concerned the highway alert system would become overburdened with various messages, including missing elderly and kidnapped children. Gatto says the past year has shown that’s not a concern.

"We have spent the year working with the administration and providing them the facts of California’s hit-and-run problem," he says. "And we’ve also seen that the alert system has not been overburdened. In many cases when I’m driving down the freeway the signs just say something like buckle up."

Denver has a similar hit-and-run alert system and Gatto says arrest rates there are about 75 percent in cases where the alert was activated.

Los Angeles has about a 20 percent arrest rate.