Los Angeles to automatically offer rewards for info on hit-and-runs

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday that will automatically offer an award for information leading to the arrest and conviction of hit-and-run drivers.

A $50,000 reward will be offered to hit-and-runs that end in a fatality; $25,000 for permanent-injury cases; $5,000 for minor, non-permanent injuries; and $1,000 for property damage.

Councilman Joe Buscaino, who pushed for the initiative, said he hoped the ordinance will lead to fewer hit-and-runs and more accountability for the drivers who flee the scene.

About half of all vehicle crashes in Los Angeles are hit-and-runs compared to 11 percent of crashes nationally, city officials said. Last year, 27 people died and 144 people were seriously injured as a result of hit-and-runs crashes in Los Angeles.

Social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, are expected to be used to launch an awareness campaign about the automatic rewards.

The city council will still have to approve the actual issuing of the reward money.

City News Service contributed to this report.