Scott OKs tougher hit-and-run penalties

Tallahassee, Florida -- Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed into law legislation named after a triathlete killed in a traffic crash that increases the penalties for leaving the scene of a rash that results in serious injury.

This legislation creates the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act. Cohen was a popular Miami triathlete killed by an alleged drunken driver while riding his bicycle on a causeway in 2012. The driver left the scene and turned himself in the next day, avoiding a DUI charge and received a shorter jail sentence of one year.

The measure also imposes a mandatory minimum prison term of four years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in the death of a person, increases the mandatory prison term from two to four years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in the death of a person while driving under the influence, and imposes a minimum driver license revocation period of at least three years.

"The entire Cohen family and I are extremely thankful that Governor Scott will be signing the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act into law," said Patty Cohen, the wido of Aaron Cohen. "We are hopeful that out of our family's tragedy, we have made a big step towards safer roads and a safer community for our children."

Under previous Florida law, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in prison for killing someone while driving under the influence. However, if a driver leaves the scene of a fatal crash, they faces a much lighter sentence.

More information on the law and Cohen:

Read the Senate bill

Details on Cohen law

State targets hit-and-runs

Hit-and-run victims solves crime


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