MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Governor Rick Scott made a stop in South Florida Wednesday for the ceremonial signing of the Aaron Cohen Protection Act.
Cohen, a husband and father of two, was killed in 2012 by a hit and run driver while he was cycling down the Rickenbacker causeway.
The driver, who left Cohen to die, was sentenced to less than a year in jail.
Ever since the tragic accident, the Cohen family has been fighting to make sure his death was not in vain.
The bill, signed Wednesday afternoon, increases penalties for drivers who leave the scene of an accident involving injuries or death.
The triathlete’s family, friends and the biking community came together to celebrate a change that’s been a long time coming.
“It’s something good out of a tragedy that happened,” said Patty Cohen, Aaron’s widow.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and named after 36-year-old Aaron Cohen.
The new law imposes a mandatory minimum term for imprisonment of four years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in the death of a person. It also increases the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment from two to four years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in the death of a person while driving under the influence and imposing a minimum driver license revocation period of at least three years.
“They’ve increased penalties hopefully this wont happen to someone again,” said Scott.
The signing ceremony was held at the Crandon Park Marina on Key Biscayne.
“Don’t hit somebody, and if you do, have the decency to stay on the scene,” said Patty Cohen.
Cohen’s wife said she hopes stricter sentences will deter drivers from leaving the scene.
“Nothing will bring him back but it is a comfort to know that hopefully less families have to suffer…and we’re very honored to have this law in his name,” Patty.
Click here to watch Gaby Fleischman’s report.
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