The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) has launched a new program this year that officials hope will allow the agency to solve more hit-and-run accident cases statewide.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV), there were more than 99,000 hit-and-run crashes in 2016, but only about 15,800 resulted in criminal charges. FHP officials say these numbers are alarming and that a new statewide database, now being developed, will go a long way toward solving more cases. The database will include key information from state, county and municipal law enforcement authorities, allowing for better collaboration amongst agencies.
The importance of remaining at the scene of a crash
In January, FHP also launched its Stay at the Scene campaign, which informs and encourages motorists to remain at the site of car accidents. Drivers who do so will likely face little or no penalties. Currently, state law considers leaving the scene of a crash a felony, with convictions resulting in large fines and up to 30 years in prison in the most serious cases.
Drivers who leave the scene can cause major headaches for injured parties, as they often have no way of knowing who caused the crash. In most situations, they must rely on their own auto insurance coverage to pay for medical bills and other damages. This can leave them in an unfair position, as their policies may not cover everything and they may see their own premiums increase after a claim.
For more information on what you should do after a Florida car accident, whether or not the at-fault driver remained at the scene, contact a skilled Bradenton personal injury attorney with Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh.