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Scott Signs Hit-And-Run Driver Crackdown, Booster Seat Bill


Governor Rick Scott signed two bills into law Tuesday aimed at making Florida’s roadways safer.

Hit-And-Run Drivers Crackdown

One bill increases penalties for leaving the scene of a crash resulting in the death or injury of a person from a minimum of two to four years in prison. The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act is named after a cyclist killed in 2012 by a hit-and-run driver.

“And, many of us packed the courtroom and so, we left the courtroom disheartened and felt like ‘how could something like this happen?’ How could someone kill a 36-year-old father of two—who are one and three and never going to know their father ever—and walk away with less than two years in jail,” questioned Mickey Witte.

Witte, a triathlete and cyclist herself, is the founder of the grassroots effort, the Aaron Cohen Law Initiative. She’s been trying to get a law on the books since the driver’s sentence in January of last year.

“And, now that the Governor has a put his seal of approval on it, signing it into law, that both the House and Senate unanimously passed the bill its first go around, it’s relieving. It feels great,” added Witte.

That bill will take effect next Tuesday.

Booster Seat Bill

The other bill Scott signed takes effect in January. It raises the age requirement for kids to ride in car seats to at least five-years-old. Current law has that requirement at three years or younger.

Dr. Mobeen Rathore says it’s something his group has been working to get into law for several years. He’s the President of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP).

“I think this is very exciting news for me as a pediatrician, but more important for anyone who has children or grandchildren,” said Rathore. “I think the upgrading, if you will, of the booster seat bill is going to be a very important move forward for further protecting our children. Motor Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury and death in children.”

The new law allows parents to use booster seats to meet the requirements.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.