What Is California’s Yellow Alert Law?

by Staff Blogger | May 20th, 2024

Hit-and-run accidents are an unfortunate reality on California roads. In 2021, there were 433 fatal and injury hit-and-runs in Sacramento County, with another 21 in Alameda County and 134 in Fresno County. In Los Angeles County, there were 3,097 hit-and-run accidents in 2021.

To help combat this issue, California passed the Yellow Alert law in 2022. The statute gives authorities the right to share information about a hit-and-run driver and their vehicle with the public to apprehend these dangerous individuals.

If you or your loved one was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident, a Yellow alert can help you hold the driver responsible, and in doing so, help you receive compensation. Learn more about this new law and how a California hit-and-run accident lawyer at Berg Injury Lawyers can help with your case.

What Is the Yellow Alert Law?

In 2022, California passed Assembly Bill 1732, adding Section 8594.15 to the California Government Code. Under this new law, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is authorized to issue Yellow Alerts to warn the public after a fatal hit-and-run accident.

CHP can activate a Yellow Alert under the following conditions:

  • A fatal hit-and-run has occurred.
  • The suspect may have fled on the state highway, visible to the public.
  • Police have details on the suspect or their vehicle, like the license plate number, the vehicle’s make, model, and color, or the suspect’s identity.
  • Public alerts can speed up the suspect’s arrest and prevent more harm.

The Yellow Alert process begins with a request from local law enforcement, prompting the CHP to activate the alert system. It is then displayed on highway message signs to quickly inform the public.

The alert can also extend its reach through radio, TV, and other media outlets. The intent is to help law enforcement capture hit-and-run suspects more quickly, improve road safety, and hold reckless drivers accountable.

Real-World Example of Yellow Alerts in California

Yellow Alerts are a collaborative effort between local law enforcement agencies, the CHP, news outlets, broadcasters, and the public. The following is a real-life example of how it works:

On May 11, 2023, the CHP was called to the intersection of 20th Street and West Avenue N in Palmdale. The scene of the accident was less than a mile away from California Highway 14 and resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

In response, the CHP activated a Yellow Alert on May 12, alerting drivers of all known details regarding the suspect. The alert described details regarding the suspect vehicle, including the car’s year, make, model, paint color, license plate state, and number.

It also provided a detailed description of the distinctive damage the vehicle received following the collision to help the public identify the vehicle more easily.

What to Do if You’re Injured in a Hit-and-Run

If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run in California, the steps you take can protect your well-being, the safety of others, and your rights to compensation. Do the following immediately after the accident:

  • Contact the Authorities: Call 911 to report the accident and receive help from emergency responders. EMS and police should be dispatched to the scene, where they can provide medical attention and initiate an investigation into the accident. Within 10 days, you’ll need to fill out an SR-1 Form and submit it to the DMV. You can use this document and police reports from the scene for your auto insurance claim.
  • Get Medical Attention: Always prioritize your health; even if you feel fine, get checked out by a medical provider to identify hidden injuries like internal bleeding or a traumatic brain injury. This connects any damage to the accident, which you can use for legal action or insurance claims.
  • Gather Evidence: Take pictures of the scene, damage to your vehicle, and injuries to yourself or passengers. If anyone witnessed the crash, request their contact information so you can contact them for a statement.
  • Describe the Fleeing Vehicle: Write down any details you remember about the vehicle that committed the hit-and-run. This can include the make, model, paint color, license plate state and number, and other distinctive details about the car that hit you.
  • Contact Your Insurer: Contact your insurer and report the hit-and-run crash. If the other driver is not located, you may be able to get a settlement from your uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage. This pays for medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering in hit-and-run situations.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult an experienced personal injury attorney for help with your case. Our team at Berg Injury Lawyers can investigate the crash to locate the driver responsible and seek compensation. We can help you get a fair settlement through your insurance policy if they cannot be found.   

Let Berg Injury Lawyers Bring You Justice

Berg Injury Lawyers has helped car accident victims in California for over 40 years. If you were injured in a hit-and-run incident in the state, a skilled and compassionate lawyer can help you investigate the accident. We can help you explore possible compensation options while you focus on recovery.

Contact us today for a free consultation.