News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
March 26, 2014
Media Contact:
Olga Vega

Commissioner Diaz commends Senate for passing Aaron Cohen bill

(MIAMI-DADE COUNTY) – Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz’s campaign to make our streets safer scored a victory in the Florida Senate today with the unanimous passage of SB 102 to stiffen penalties on deadly hit-and-run drivers.

The “Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act” imposes a minimium mandatory sentence of four years for drivers who flee the scene of a fatal accident – the same as for DUI manslaughter. The bill was named in honor of cyclist Aaron Cohen, who was killed while riding on the Rickenbacker Causeway on February 16, 2012 at the hands of a hit-and-run driver who was sentenced to less than a year in jail because there was insufficient evidence to prove he was drunk. The bill is still awaiting approval in the Florida House.

“This bill will correct a serious flaw in the law that created an incentive for drunk drivers to flee the scene of an accident,” said Commissioner Diaz, who has been a strong advocate for road safety. “I applaud the Senate for its action.”

Commissioner Diaz last April sponsored a resolution urging the Florida Legislature to pass the current legislation. He also worked closely with several bicycling clubs and the Aaron Cohen Initiative, a grassroots group that has been pushing for passage of the bill. Commissioner Diaz continues to work on legislation to protect the safety of cyclists and pedestrians along the Rickenbacker Causeway and surrounding areas.

In 2012, Miami-Dade County reported 12,813 incidents of drivers leaving the scene of a crash, the highest in Florida.

For more information, please contact Commissioner Diaz’s office at 305-599-1200.