Senate Toughens Punishment on Fleeing an Accident

The Texas Senate has toughened the punishment for leaving an accident that causes an injury.

The measure by Austin Democratic Sen. Kirk Watson passed unanimously on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 275 makes fleeing the scene of an accident a second degree felony. That's the same as intoxication manslaughter for hitting someone while driving under the influence.

Watson said that because leaving the scene of an accident was only a third degree felony, some drunk drivers were driving away to avoid tougher punishments. A recent accident involving a Capitol staff member killing an Austin nanny brought attention to the disparity.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration. If passed, fleeing an accident that causes an injury could result in up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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