The family of hit-and-run victim Skylar Marion urged lawmakers Wednesday to help police track down vehicles involved in such accidents and increase penalties for those who flee the scene.
"We can make a change here today. We can hold people accountable for their actions," Dawn Caley, Skylar's aunt, told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. "We may not be able to stop people from making bad decisions, but we can make it harder for them to get away with it."
Caley and the Marion family were testifying in support of two pieces of legislation by state Sen. Bryan Simonaire, R-Pasadena.
Senate Bill 84 would increase the penalty for leaving the scene of a fatal incident from 10 to 15 years imprisonment.
Senate Bill 86 would establish a Yellow Alert program allowing law enforcement to quickly release vehicle information after fatal hit-and-runs.
Police said Skylar, 15, was hit by a sport utility vehicle on April 12, 2013, while he was walking on Mountain Road in Pasadena, about a quarter-mile from his home. He died after three days in a coma.
Simonaire said the legislation was spurred by recent hit-and-runs in his district and across the state. Three of the seven unsolved fatal hit-and-runs in Anne Arundel County since 2009 were in his district.
Yellow Alerts are modeled after AMBER and Silver Alerts. Both types of programs allow rapid dissemination of vehicle information and license plate numbers. AMBER Alerts are for missing children that law enforcement agencies suspect may have been kidnapped; Silver Alerts are for missing, at-risk senior citizens.
Maryland had two AMBER Alerts and 55 Silver Alerts last year, according to the Maryland State Police. The state police send out the alerts at the request of local agencies.
There also is a Blue Alert for instances in which police officers have been killed, but that has not yet been used.