(WFLX) - Hit and runs are on the rise in South Florida, according to the latest statistics from Florida Highway Patrol. On Monday, state legislator is proposing stiffer penalties to help curb them.
State Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla of Miami wants to create a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for drivers found guilty in hit-and-runs. Right now, there isn't a mandatory minimum sentence.
Diaz de la Portilla says there's an incentive for drivers who are under the influence to flee the scene, giving them the chance to sober up, and then turn themselves in.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg says, right now, there's a "punishment gap" between DUI crashes and hit-and-runs that needs to be tightened. "At the very least, our laws can reflect our priorities. Our laws can reflect that if you go ahead and kill someone on the road, then you flee, you should be held accountable and the punishment should be serious," said Aronberg.
He says he doesn't think the proposed legislation will change the mind of someone who would commit a hit and run. But he does say it sends the right message and helps victim's families gain closure.