Pa. bill uses auto repair shops to help identify drivers involved in hit-and-run crashes | News, Sports, Jobs


Auto repair shops could soon play a role in helping track down drivers of hit-and-run crashes that leave a victim seriously injured or dead.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, calls for the creation of an alert system to notify repair shops to be on the lookout for vehicles involved in a hit and run crash involving a serious injury or death within a certain time period after the incident occurred.

The Senate Law & Justice Committee on Tuesday approved the bill by an 11-0 vote. It now is in a position to be considered by the full Senate.

A hit and run crash that took the life of 8-year-old Jayanna Powell in 2016 when she was walking home from school in Philadelphia inspired her family to ask Williams to introduce this bill, the senator said.

“Jay alerts,” as Williams said they would be called to pay tribute to the girl, would contain a description of a vehicle that have fled the scene and be distributed to repair shops, which would be required to register with PennDOT.

“Repair shops will be put on notice that if someone comes within a certain period of time with damages to their car that were alerted by the state police, … that information would be advanced to the state police and then they would investigate those cars,” Williams said.

If a shop is discovered as failing to report a vehicle matching the description of a vehicle in the alert system, the owner or operator of the shop could be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor.

Many repair shops already work with local law enforcement through an informal arrangement, said Amanda Henry, executive director of the Perry

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