New Justice for Hit & Run Victims: The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act
This week Florida Governor Rick Scott traveled to South Florida to ceremonially sign the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act which officially went into law on July 1st. This is a victory for the more than 70,000 cyclists, pedestrians and motorists struck annually by hit and run motorists.
Previously, the penalty for fleeing the scene of an accident involving death could be as little as just one year in jail. That's less than the time the motorist who struck and killed 36 year old married father of two, Aaron Cohen had to spend behind bars.
Cohen was killed by Michele Traverso who was headed home one morning in February 2012 after an evening of drinking when he struck the cyclist who was out for a morning ride with a friend. Traverso failed to surrender to police for 18 hours, preventing the timely blood alcohol test needed to prove he was driving under the influence.
According to Huffington Post Miami, Traverso served only two-thirds of his already very short sentence. He walked free 100 days short of his 364-day jail sentence. Traverso, 26, who had been reportedly partying at a Coconut Grove bar until 6am before killing Cohen and hiding his damaged car under a tarp, was sentenced to just two years house arrest even though he was driving illegally and on probation for cocaine charges.
Thanks to Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami) who filed the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act bill and its overwhelming popular and bipartisan support in Tallahassee, now motorists who flee the scene of any deadly accident will face a mandatory minimum four year sentence. We celebrate the victory of this law, yet we do so with sadness as we continue to remember and honor all those who have been lost to tragic hit and run accidents.
Read our May 2014 Healthy Living Florida Weekly article on the subject of motorist safety entitled "Sharing the Road." Please visit www.arroncohenlaw.org for more info and click HERE for a complete summary of the law.
Stay safe out there, friends!
Love, Peace and Bicycle Grease,
Matt & Julie