The Disturbing Truth Behind LA'S Hit And Run Crisis - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

The Disturbing Truth Behind LA'S Hit And Run Crisis

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Don Rosenberg knows the persistent pain of the hit and run epidemic firsthand. His 25 year old son, a second year law student in San Francisco, was run over and killed by a hit and run driver in November of 2010. I won't go into all the depressing details here except to say, the driver, an unlicensed immigrant from Honduras, ran over Drew several times in his attempt to flee the scene.  The crime provoked Rosenberg to get involved and look for answers behind the exploding hit and run crisis. What he found out is chilling.

The LAPD already acknowledges that there are an astounding 20,000 or so hit and runs in Los Angeles every year, many of them with deadly or serious injury consequences. Nearly half of all accidents in LA (48%) are hit and runs compared to the national average of just 11%. The question is why? While the answer may be quite complicated, Rosenberg, through a ton of research and sheer tenacity, came up with a few of the grim truths behind LA's mind-boggling hit and run stats.

According to Rosenberg's research, there are some 178,500 drivers with suspended or revoked licenses in LA. That represents 6.6% of all drivers in the city. Yet they apparently are responsible for 22.6% of all the hit and run crimes.

There are approximately 400,000 unlicensed drivers in LA who are responsible for a whopping 50.6% of all the hit and runs. If the numbers are on the mark, that means 21.4% of the drivers, none of whom should be behind the wheel, are responsible for 73.2% of all the hit and runs.

Rosenberg's research raises a number of questions, one of the most important of which is why the LAPD thinks its Special Order 7 is a good idea? State law requires that unlicensed drivers who are caught have their vehicles impounded for at least 30 days. But Special Order 7 allows those drivers to get their cars back much more quickly, as long as they aren't guilty of any misdemeanors and have proof of registration and insurance. Many minorities, undocumented immigrants and the poor claim the state's impound law unfairly affects them. Presumably, that's part of the rationale for Special Order 7.

But last month an LA Superior Court Judge basically ruled Special Order 7 wasn't so special after all and struck it down.The city is now considering whether to appeal the judge's decision. Meanwhile, last week, one LA city councilman proposed a "standing reward" of $50,000 for information on collisions that result in death, $25,000 for those that cause bodily injury and $1,000 for ones resulting in property damage. Rosenberg thinks the reward idea is a good one but it's only a start.  He wants more. A lot more. And he's dedicated much of his life seeing to it that more is done.

For more information, you can check out Rosenberg's website at www.unlicensedtokill.org.

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