The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently reported that hit-and-run accidents and deaths have reached record highs. According to their study, there were 2,049 deaths in 2016, the highest number ever, representing a 60% increase since 2009.
In studying the characteristics of hit-and-run accidents, AAA identified the most common among them.
- An average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occurred each year since 2006.
- Nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.
- Hit-and-run deaths in the U.S. have increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.
- Per capita, New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida have the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run crashes while New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota have the lowest rates.
Dr. David Yang, Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said, “Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction. Our analysis shows that hit-and-run crashes are a growing traffic safety challenge and the AAA Foundation would like to work with [everyone] to help curtail this problem.”
If you are a pedestrian or bicyclist, you run the greatest risk of being involved in a hit-and-run crash. Over the past 10 years, nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and-run crashes; meanwhile just one percent of all driver fatalities occurred in that same time period. To decrease the chances of being involved in a crash with a pedestrian or bicyclist, AAA recommends that drivers should:
- Be aware: Pedestrians may act unpredictably and can walk into the path of travel at any point.
- Be cautious: Look out for small children and be alert to areas where there are likely to be more pedestrians. These include school zones, playgrounds, bus stops and intersections.
- Be patient: When trying to pass a pedestrian or cyclist, give plenty of space and keep them in your line of sight.
- Be vigilant: Drivers should always yield to pedestrians, even if they walk into the road from an area other than a crosswalk.
It is illegal in every state for a driver to leave the scene of an accident. Penalties depend upon the severity of the crash (property damage, serious injury, fatality). Those found guilty of a hit-and-run charge can face fines, lose their license, or be sentenced to jail.
AAA cites the following, if you a driver involved in a crash.
- Assist the injured– Check for injured people and call 911.
- Be visible– Make sure that the scene is visible to approaching drivers. If possible, move vehicles out of the path of traffic, and use hazard flashers, flares, and reflective triangles. Find a safe place to remain until emergency services arrive, if needed.
- Communicate– Call the police and file a report. If the police do not come to the scene, you can file a report by visiting a local police department or your automobile insurance agency.
Source: AAA Newsroom
Group Matrix Blog – June 5, 2018 – by Sharon Bowles