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Thursday, July 2, 2015


Hello ABATE member!
 As you may remember, ABATE supported the common sense bill AB 8 of Assemblyman Mike Gatto.  This bill would allow some police departments to use the emergency alert system aka Amber Alert signs to assist law enforcement find the perpetrators of certain hit and run accidents.  As a number of motorcyclists are hit by hit and run drivers each year, this bill is really something that we want.  However, the CHP has opposed the legislation even though there has been zero opposition to the bill!  Below is my correspondence with Nardos Girma of Mike Gatto’s office.  (Nardos Girma’s words are in black, mine are in blue)
We NEED to contact the Senate Transportation Committee member asap and make this common sense bill pass!
Please do NOT respond directly to this email, it is NOT monitored for incoming messages.  Please DO contact us or for questions or information.

Thank you for being an ABATE member!
Nick Benson Sr
Board Member & Secretary

ABATE of California, INC
10240 7th AVENUE
HESPERIA, CA  92345-2631
Phone: 760.956.1669 / Fax 760.956.6519

I’m reaching out to you because your organization sent us a support letter for AB 8, the Yellow Alert Bill. This bill passed out of both houses of the Legislature last year and has sailed out of every committee (and the Assembly Floor) this year.
Despite receiving overwhelming support and zero “no” votes this year, the bill has now hit a roadblock in Senate Transportation Committee. The Chair of the Committee (Jim Beall) has given the bill a “no” recommendation and the California Highway Patrol sent a formal opposition letter to the bill.
To make sure that the bill makes it out of Transportation Committee we need your help! Please spread the word about this bill to your members and supporters (via Facebook, Twitter, etc.). If the districts you are based in have a Senator on the committee, encourage your members to call that Senator’s office and voice their support for AB 8. Finally, please encourage your members to attend the committee hearing next Tuesday @ 1:30pm, if they are able to.
Attached is the Senate Transportation Committee Roster, the Bill Fact Sheet, and Bill language.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you.
Nardos Girma
Office of Assemblyman Mike Gatto | AD 43
Office: (916) 319-2043

Thank you for contacting me.  I will send this out to all my members for immediate action.  Can you tell me why the CHP would oppose this common sense bill?
Thank you,
Nick Benson Sr
ABATE of California
Board Member and Secretary

Hi Nick,
I’ve attached CHP’s opposition letter which outlines why they oppose the bill. We don’t think their arguments are valid here is our rebuttal to each of their points:
The CHP opposition letter raised three main concerns in its opposition letter. The first is that the Yellow Alert would significantly increase the number of alerts displayed on highway Changeable Message Signs, decreasing the effectiveness of the alert system by desensitizing the public and law enforcement officials. However, AB 8 has been narrowly tailored to ensure that the system is not overwhelmed. The alerts would only be issued for severe or fatal hit-and-runs when law enforcements have sufficient information identifying the driver or vehicle. According to an LADP analysis of five years of hit-and-run data in LA, less than 8% of reported hit-and-runs involved an injury and a mere .1% involved a severe or fatal injury (keep in mind that Los Angeles has a much higher frequency of hit-and-runs than most, if not all, cities in California). Additionally, to further prevent the system from being overwhelmed, the alerts would only be issued on a regional basis. When all these factors are combined, the Yellow Alert would be issued in far fewer than .1% of hit-and-runs and this should be enough to ease any concerns about an overwhelmed system.

While the implementation of AB 60 will hopefully decrease accidents by previously unlicensed drivers, there is no data to indicate that most hit-and-runs are committed by these drivers. Even if unlicensed drivers are more likely to flee the scene of an accident, for AB 60 to significantly decrease the incidence of hit-and-run accidents, these drivers would have to make up the overwhelming majority of hit-and-run drivers, something that is highly improbable.  
Finally, the CHP letter stated that there is no process for determining how alerts would be prioritized if multiple alerts are activated simultaneously, a problem that would supposedly be worsened by the addition of the Yellow Alert. The Emergency Alert System, however, has three existing alert systems already in place: the AMBER, Blue, and Silver Alerts. It is doubtful that adding one more alert would suddenly impair the entire system. This is not to say that a method for prioritizing alerts is unnecessary but rather, that that concern exists independent of the Yellow Alert.
The Yellow Alert would not be activated for all hit-and-runs. The alert wouldn’t be activated for all hit-and-runs that involve an injury or for hit-and-runs in which the injury is serious or fatal. The alert would only be activated for severe or fatal hit-and-runs for which local law enforcement has sufficient information to identify the driver or vehicle and chooses to use the CMS. Additionally, even then, the Alert would only be used on a regional basis.  AB 8 is a narrowly-tailored, carefully crafted bill that will bring justice to victims and their families without overwhelming the state’s Emergency Alert System.

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AB 8 California Highway Patrol.pdf
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AB 8 Yellow Alert Fact Sheet.pdf
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AB 8.pdf
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Senate Transportation Committee Roster.pdf
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