Today the New York City Council passed the Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act, which imposes up to $10,000 in civil fines for fleeing the scene of an accident. The bill was sponsored by Councilmembers Jimmy Van Bramer and Ydanis Rodriguez—in the past 18 months, three drivers have fled the scene of fatal accidents in Van Bramer's Queens district, leading him to call the bill, "the most important that I've been a part of."

"We will not tolerate members of our community being left at the scene of a dangerous traffic collision," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Van Bramer added, "There are few things worse than leaving a human being who could be saved to die in the street." The new legislation will also fine any driver who injures another person $2,000, as well as a $500 fine for driver's who damage property.

The bill is another supplement to the de Blasio administration's Vision Zero program, which aims to reduce the number of traffic casualties in NYC. Based on monthly NYPD figures compiled by Streetsblog, 168 pedestrians and 10 cyclists were killed by city motorists in 2013, and 16,059 pedestrians and cyclists were injured.

September 28th will mark one-year anniversary of the death of Luis Bravo, who was struck and killed on Broadway in Woodside, Queens at the age of 19. An NYPD investigation has failed to track down the driver who killed him. Bravo's family, some of whom were present at the bill's unveiling today, were key figures in bringing the bill to City Hall, along with the Queen's community activist group Make Queens Safer.

Bravo's mother, Marta Puruncajas, says she is happy that there are new rules in place, adding, "I hope that drivers will realize they need to think twice before leaving the scene of the accident." She also hopes there will be more pressure to find the driver who killed her son, because "there is a silent space in my heart, and I mourn for myself and my community." At the time of his death, Bravo was a college student, and Puruncajas spoke of the dreams her son had that he would never be able to fulfill.

When asked if she thought the NYPD had done all they could in their search for her son's killer, she responded only, "I hope."

In another gut-wrenching tale, Councilmember Rodriguez recounted the story of Josbel Rivera, a family friend who was struck and killed on the Mosholu Parkway in 2012. The driver who hit Rivera was never found, and the perpetrator even went so far as to burn the 23-year-old's car to destroy the evidence.

Despite expressing satisfaction with the new fine, Rodriguez acknowledged the need for greater punishment at the state level, as well as extending capability and support for the NYPD to complete investigations.