Everything You Need to Know About California’s Yellow Alert Law

California’s Yellow Alert Law is an innovative approach to addressing hit-and-run accidents. This law is aimed at enhancing road safety and ensuring justice for victims. Enacted in 2022,  it empowers law enforcement agencies to swiftly broadcast crucial information about hit-and-run suspects and their vehicles across the state, leveraging public assistance to apprehend those responsible for these serious incidents.

Under the Yellow Alert Law, specific criteria must be met for an alert to be issued. These include a fatal hit-and-run occurrence, a likelihood that the suspect used the state highway system or could be noticed by the public, and the availability of identifiable information about the suspect or vehicle, such as a full or partial license plate number, vehicle make, model, and color, or the suspect’s identity. The law aims to mobilize community awareness, encouraging the public to report any sightings or information related to the suspect vehicle or individual involved in the hit-and-run.

What Is the Yellow Alert Law?

On July 19, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom enacted Assembly Bill 1732, leading to the implementation of the new Yellow Alert law. Authored by Assemblyman Jim Patterson, this legislation aims to aid law enforcement in quickly locating drivers involved in fatal hit-and-run incidents.

In 2019 alone, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported over 20,000 incidents involving fatalities or injuries. The Yellow Alert law empowers enforcement agencies to request the CHP to issue a public alert following a fatal hit-and-run. This alert system uses electronic freeway signs to broadcast essential information about the suspect’s vehicle, such as the license plate and other distinctive features, to engage the public’s help in tracking down the suspect.

For a Yellow Alert to be activated, certain criteria must be met, including the following:

  • A fatal hit-and-run incident must occur
  • Indications the suspect fled using state highways or might be seen by the public
  • The investigating agency must have specific information about the suspect or vehicle, such as a full or partial license plate number, vehicle make, model, color, or suspect identity

The law also encourages local media to broadcast alert details, improving law enforcement’s capacity to apprehend hit-and-run drivers with the public’s assistance. The Yellow Alert is particularly effective in urban areas where fleeing drivers may use local streets or freeways. This law is seen as a critical tool in holding offending motorists accountable for such incidents.

Overview of Yellow Alert Activation

Upon receiving a Yellow Alert request that meets the necessary criteria, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has the authority to initiate and manage alerts using changeable message signs in the specified area. These electronic signs will display critical information about the suspect or vehicle involved in a hit-and-run, aiming to engage the public’s help in spotting and providing details about the suspect or vehicle.

In situations where there are several requests for Yellow Alerts, the CHP determines which alert to activate first based on factors like the time elapsed since the accident or the potential effectiveness of the alert in leading to the suspect’s capture. Additionally, the CHP encourages the wider dissemination of the alert through local broadcast mediums like radio and TV, although this is not mandatory.

The public plays an essential role in this process. Anyone who recognizes the suspect’s vehicle or has any information about the hit-and-run incident is urged to contact law enforcement immediately. This cooperation is vital in ensuring that the responsible party is held accountable for the consequences of the accident, including injuries, medical expenses, and property damage. Furthermore, providing this information can lead to criminal charges against the suspect, as hit-and-run is a criminal offense in California.

Speak With the Hit-And-Run Accident Lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp.

If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you don’t have to face this challenge alone. The hit-and-run accident lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. can provide essential guidance and support. We will help you understand your rights, deal with insurance companies, and fight to recover the compensation you deserve for injuries and losses. Additionally, we will thoroughly investigate your case, leveraging resources like the Yellow Alert system to gather evidence and information to build a strong case on your behalf.

For a complimentary consultation, speak with us today at (916) 970-9100 or fill out a contact form.