Gopal’s ‘Zachary’s Law’ to Establish a Statewide Hit and Run Advisory Program Advances

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TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal that would establish a Statewide Hit and Run Advisory Program with the purpose of facilitating the apprehension of individuals suspected of illegally leaving the scene of an accident that caused bodily harm or death passed the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee today.

The bill, S-3228, would establish a voluntary, cooperative effort between state and local law enforcement agencies and media outlets, such as television, radio, social media and print. If it were determined that there is sufficient information that a hit and run advisory would assist in the apprehension of the driver or the vehicle involved, the media would be encouraged to transmit emergency advisories to enable public assistance that would include a description of the suspect or the vehicle and any other information deemed appropriate.

“Zachary’s Law honors the life of Zachary Simmons by increasing the likelihood of apprehension of individuals that flee the scene of a hit-and-run throughout New Jersey,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Through the cooperation of law enforcement and the media, we can deliver vital information across multiple media platforms that would elicit the assistance of the public to ensure the victims and their families of hit-and-runs are provided with justice.”

The Attorney General would be required to notify the media of the establishment of the Statewide Hit and Run Program, invite their voluntary participation and assist in the development of a public education campaign to inform the public about the program.

The bill is designated “Zachary’s Law,” in honor of Zachary Simmons who was killed in Hoboken by a driver who fled the scene and was later arrested in New York.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 6-0, and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.