AUSTIN (April 2, 2013)--The Texas Senate voted Tuesday to toughen the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident that caused an injury.
The measure by State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, would make fleeing the scene of an accident a second-degree felony, the same as an intoxication manslaughter charge for hitting someone while driving under the influence.
Watson said that because leaving the scene of an accident was only a third-degree felony, some drunken drivers were driving away to avoid tougher punishments.
A recent accident involving a Capitol staff member that killed an Austin nanny brought attention to the disparity.
The bill now goes to the House for consideration.
If passed, a conviction for fleeing an accident that causes an injury could result in as much as 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.