A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that Florida is one of the top three states in the nation in terms of per-capita rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes.
The AAA study focused on data gathered from 2006 to 2016. The organization examined hit-and-run crashes across the United States, finding 2016 was the year that had the most total fatal crashes involving a hit-and-run: with 2,049 total. This represented a 60 percent increase since the low mark in 2009. The study found hit-and-run deaths increased an average of 7.2 percent every year since then.
Florida joined New Mexico and Louisiana as the states that had the most hit-and-runs in that time period. Maine, Minnesota and New Hampshire had the fewest.
In 2016, Florida had 206 fatal hit-and-run crashes, with 1,814 total fatal hit-and-run crashes since 2006. Researchers found an average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occurred every year since 2006 across the United States, and 65 percent of the fatalities in those incidents were either bicyclists or pedestrians.
Drivers must stay at the scene
By law, all drivers must stay behind at the scene of an accident, even if they were not responsible for causing it. Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a crime, and potentially a felony offense if the accident involved any injuries or deaths. This means the consequences a person who commits a hit-and-run faces are elevated from having to pay money to settle civil lawsuits to potentially spending time in jail in addition to paying out major fines in a criminal case.
Florida officials urge drivers to obey the rules of the road, and if they’re involved in an accident, to stay at the scene of the collision and exchange information with the other driver while waiting for police to arrive.
To learn more about what to do if you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident, consult an experienced Manatee County personal injury lawyer with Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.