Maryland Senator Wants Hit-and-Run Alert System

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland state senator wants an alert system to help catch hit-and-run drivers similar to alert systems for missing children and endangered adults.

Sen. Bryan Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, is proposing Yellow alerts to disseminate information on hit-and-run drivers, including vehicle and suspect descriptions. Like Amber and Silver alerts for children and seniors, Yellow alerts would pop up on residents’ cellphones, highway billboards and online.

Simonaire told The Capital that his idea is a direct result of five unsolved fatal hit-and-runs in Anne Arundel County since 2009, three of them in Simonaire’s district.

“I’ve seen the families and how it weighs on them month after month, not finding out what happened and who did it,” Simonaire said. “It’s a tragic situation.”

Simonaire plans to introduce legislation for the alerts in the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 14.

The senator said that while pertinent information on hit-and-runs would have to be available before an alert could be issued, he hopes the information would make it possible to catch offenders before they can hide their vehicles.

“People are gratified when a child is found through the Amber Alert system,” Simonaire said. “They would be thrilled to get a (hit-and-run) driver off the street.”

These criteria are used to determine if an Amber Alert should be issued in Maryland:
–Law enforcement confirms a child has been abducted.
–The child is under 18.
–Law enforcement believes the circumstances surrounding the abduction indicate the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death.
–There is enough descriptive information available about the child, the abductor or the suspect’s vehicle to indicate that an immediately broadcast alert would help.
–The child is believed to still be in the broadcast area.
–The child’s name and other critical elements have been entered into National Crime Information Center database by police.

Information from: The Capital of Annapolis, Md.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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